The No. 41 Stanford men’s tennis team made it to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships last week, picking up a 4-2 victory over No. 33 Washington on Thursday before falling 4-0 to No. 1 UCLA the next day.
The Cardinal was the fourth seed in the championships, and had a bye in the first round. Stanford’s win against Washington marked their second victory over the Huskies this season, having defeated Washington 4-3 in Seattle on April 5.
“We were obviously really looking forward to playing [Washington], we had a good win up there on the road a couple of weeks ago,” said sophomore Robert Stineman. “We were very happy with how the results ended because it was a match we needed to win.”
Washington took the first doubles match, with the Huskies’ Marton Bots and Kyle McMorrow defeating Stanford’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Denis Lin and sophomore John Morrissey 8-5.
The Cardinal rallied to win the doubles point, with an 8-3 victory from the No. 2 doubles team of freshman Maciek Romanowicz and Stineman over Jeff Hawke and Max Manthou. Stanford’s No. 3 doubles team, juniors Jamin Ball and Daniel Ho, also defeated Hudson Barnhart and Emmett Egger 8-6.
The first singles match to finish was No. 5, where Ho pulled out a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Washington’s Viktor Farkas.
The Huskies took the next two singles matches to even out the score. Freshman Nolan Paige, Stanford’s No. 2 singles player, lost 6-3, 1-6, 2-6 to Washington’s Bots. Stineman, who played No. 4 singles, was also defeated in a close match, dropping a 7-5, 6-4 decision to Egger.
“Unfortunately it didn’t go my way this time. [Egger] is a tough player and it was really close, but ultimately I just didn’t get the job done,” Stineman said. “I was happy with how I competed, but not as happy with the way I played.”
The Cardinal started to regain the lead with a victory at No. 6 singles from freshman Trey Strobel, who defeated the Huskies’ Nicholas Kamisar 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. A 7-5, 7-5 win at No. 3 singles from Romanowicz clinched the match for Stanford.
On Friday afternoon, the Cardinal faced off against No. 1 UCLA for the third time this year, losing 4-0. Stanford had previously been defeated by the Bruins in Los Angeles and at home, with final scores of 7-0 and 5-2, respectively.
However, Stineman said that the team was hopeful they could pick up an upset against the Bruins.
“We actually were really excited, because we played them really tough when they came up to Stanford to play, and we felt like we had a really good shot,” Stineman said. “Unfortunately they just played really well and they beat us up pretty good.”
Stineman described the match as less competitive than the team’s previous matches against the Bruins this season, as UCLA picked up momentum early on and never gave the Cardinal a chance to recover.
“They came out with some fire and really got up on us early and it was tough to come back from that, whereas the first couple of times we got off to pretty decent starts,” Stineman said. “We won the doubles point against them the last time. If you have a bad start and they get up with you, they will continue well and ultimately finish off the match.”
The first match to finish was No. 3 doubles, where Ball and Ho lost 8-1 to UCLA’s Dennis Mkrtchian and Clay Thompson. The Bruins’ Alex Brigham and Karue Sell beat Romanowicz and Stineman 8-3 at No. 2 doubles, taking the doubles point.
Ho lost 6-1, 6-0 to Sell at No. 5 singles, which was followed by a 6-2, 6-4 loss from Paige to the Bruins’ Marcos Giron at No. 2 singles. Thompson sealed the match for UCLA with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Stineman at No. 4 singles.
UCLA went on to win the tournament, defeating No. 5 USC 4-2 on Sunday. The Bruins now have a 24-1 season record.
Both UCLA and USC automatically qualified for the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships, which will be held in Urbana, Ill. in mid to late May. The Cardinal may still have a chance to qualify for the tournament based on postseason selections that will be announced on Tuesday.
Stineman said that while the team is still “patiently waiting” to hear whether or not they were selected for the NCAAs, they are optimistic about their chances of playing in the tournament.
“I think we’re pretty confident that we are going to make the tournament,” Stineman said. “We are excited to see the draw and what lies ahead for us.”
Contact Justine Moore at jmoore94 “at” stanford.edu.