By Will Seaton
Taking advantage of the sun’s appearance, the Stanford women’s tennis team (2-0) hosted the University of San Francisco this past Friday, sweeping singles and doubles play 7-0 in the team’s home opener.
Practicing indoors because of the rain all week, the women’s team was not even sure they would be able to play on Friday. Luckily, the sun came out long enough for the team to finish most of its matches.
“It was just a very crazy morning,” said senior captain Lindsay Burdette. “The men’s matches were going on and the courts were a little wet across the street, so we decided to play on the back courts where we usually practice. Then we just ended up waiting until the men finished in the stadium. It was a hurry-up-and-wait kind of morning. For me, that made it even more positive that the girls went out there and took care of business.”
And take care of business they did. Highlighted by a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing by freshman Stacey Tan at the No. 3 spot, the Cardinal went on to win almost every one of its matches convincingly.
“I was really proud [of] the way the freshmen handled their first dual match,” Burdette said. “It’s pretty scary and really easy to succumb to nerves, but everybody was super positive and really supportive of each other. Everyone played really well, especially at the end of their matches.”
One match that provided a show happened at the No. 1 spot, between Stanford junior Hilary Barte and USF junior Jennifer-Lee Heinser. The match was a fight for both girls before eventually being rained out when Barte was two points away from serving it out.
“Jenny is a former top junior player,” said Stanford head coach Lele Forood. “She’s a really quality opponent. It’s unfortunate not being able to finish the match.”
San Francisco fit into Forood’s plan for a slow progression through the season. Each match will have a slightly higher level of competition in order to get a little better with each match. With UC-Davis coming up on Tuesday, the women should have enough experience to continue building momentum in the beginning portion of the season.
“Right now, we’re just getting used to dual match play,” Forood said. “That’s the biggest thing, especially with freshmen in the starting lineup. They’re just getting adjusted to what the matches are like, since they’re obviously very different from a tournament. That’s what these early season matches are about, getting everyone’s games in order.”
The Davis Aggies are coming off a two-loss weekend against the Arizona schools. With a 0-2 record coming into their match against Stanford, they could use a win to get their season back on the right track. As a team, the Aggies play tough. In their 7-0 loss to Arizona, three matches went the full length, including a fight at the No. 1 spot, as Davis’ Desiree Stone won the first set in a tiebreak before succumbing 6-7, 6-3, 6-1. Barte will need to be on her game in her matchup against Stone.
“Hilary handles pretty much everybody,” Forood said. “Right now, she wants to get good competition for every match. She knows that the number one position is the only position you can play on the team where you know you’re going to get a quality opponent every time out. She’s used to it. She just looks forward to going out and playing her game.”
Where Stanford really stands a chance of dominating will come in doubles. With the No. 4 team in the nation in Barte and Burdette, Stanford has done a fantastic job of winning the doubles point so far. In contrast, Davis has struggled in their recent doubles matches. Against Arizona State, the Aggies were only able to win three games total in three different doubles matches. A day later, they managed to win only eight doubles games in their match against Arizona, so they will need to focus on singles if they want to challenge Stanford.
“UC-Davis overall is definitely a better team [than USF,]” Burdette said. “Monday, we’re going over our doubles warm-up routine. We’re all eating together at Jimmy V’s beforehand. It’s going to be much more similar to our actual dual matches throughout the rest of the season.”
The women will be playing Davis Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. before leaving for a weekend in Texas.