By Evan Burke
This weekend, the No. 19 Stanford women’s tennis team (12-5, 7-1 Pac-12) traveled to the Pacific Northwest and took on No. 47 Washington (12-10, 3-6) and No. 57 Washington State (17-8, 2-7) in its last road matches of the regular season. Both matches ended in dominant wins for Stanford, as the Cardinal cruised 6-1 against Washington and 5-2 against Washington State.
On Friday against Washington, the Court 3 team of senior Krista Hardebeck and freshman Caroline Lampl clinched the doubles point for the Cardinal before Carol Zhao, Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle, Hardebeck and Lampl all notched straight-set victories on Courts 1-5 to bury the Huskies in short order, with Lampl giving the team the fourth clincher of her career. Hardebeck’s victory marked her 13th straight, the longest such streak of her career.
Against the Cougars, the Cardinal again jumped out to an early lead, this time with Davidson and Doyle, the No. 4 ranked doubles team in the country, clinching the doubles point. Stanford then cemented the win with three straight singles victories from Melissa Lord, Lampl and Hardebeck, who upped her unbeaten streak to 14 matches. Washington State was able to get back two points in the singles matches after the contest was already in hand for Stanford with wins over Doyle on Court 2 and freshman Kimberly Yee on Court 5.
The two dominant wins, coupled with the very close loss to No. 1 Cal the previous week, signaled that the Cardinal are still playing some of their best tennis of the year, especially in light of their three-match shutout streak against Colorado, Utah and Oregon in late March. Before the two road wins over the weekend, the Cardinal had struggled on the road all season, with their only win away from the Taube Tennis Center having come against Arizona back in early March.
The trip to Washington moved Stanford’s Pac-12 record to 7-1, allowing the Cardinal to enter their final match of the season, a rematch with unbeaten Cal, with the confidence that they have dominated their conference schedule and have a legitimate chance to knock off the nation’s No. 1 team as the singles lineup gets comfortable with Zhao back at No. 1.
Additionally, Stanford will be playing Cal at Taube, where they have been nearly unbeatable this season. With the postseason approaching, and the possibility of hosting two rounds of the NCAA tournament still in play, the Cardinal will still have a lot to play for when they look for revenge against the Bears on Sunday. Stanford can clinch the Pac-12 regular season title with a win over the Bears and a USC loss to UCLA.
Contact Evan Burke at eburke3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.