No. 6 Stanford women’s tennis (21-2, 10-0 Pac-12) took its 26th Pac-12 title in school history over the weekend in Ojai, California. The Cardinal swept Utah and Oregon before beating No. 16 Cal (17-5, 8-2) 4-1 to claim the title.
This year, the tournament was played in team duals, as opposed to the classic singles and doubles tournament of previous years. Stanford now holds the first ever title in the new tournament format.
This postseason success comes a week after Stanford clinched the regular season Pac-12 title at Berkeley, edging the Bears 4-3. This time around, the Cardinal were even more dominant, dropping only one point — their only match lost of the whole weekend.
As the top seed in the tournament, the Cardinal had a first-round bye and started their bid for a second-straight conference title by shutting out Utah on Thursday. The Cardinal started fast, picking up the doubles point after wins on the last two courts.
Freshman Emily Arbuthnott and sophomore Melissa Lord each came up with straight set wins in singles, defeating their opponents 6-1, 6-2 and 6-3, 6-1, respectively. Senior Taylor Davidson then provided her fourth clincher this year on court three to help the Cardinal move on.
The two bottom pairs — Lord/Caroline Doyle and Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl — again gave Stanford a 1-0 lead on Friday as it cruised to an easy doubles victory against its Oregon opponents.
After a pair of 6-3 sets, sophomore Caroline Lampl doubled the Cardinal lead at the No. 4 spot. Higuchi then put the Cardinal one point away from victory on court 6 after a 6-1, 6-2 victory. With the win, the freshman hit a team-best 30 victories this season.
Davidson then added another clincher to her resume with a 6-4, 6-2 win on court three to send Stanford to the championship dual.
Against Cal on Saturday, Davidson/Arbuthnott and Higuchi/Lampl booked respective 6-3 and 6-2 victories in order to give Stanford the doubles point. The Cardinal’s lead was short-lived, as the Bears tied thing up after Lord dropped her match 6-3, 6-3 on Court 2.
In her final tournament match, Davidson provided Stanford with a third win in three duals and put the Cardinal back ahead. Thanks to her 6-4, 6-3 win, Davidson became the only Stanford player to win in singles in all three dual games. On court five, a 6-1, 7-6 (1) victory by Arbuthnott increased the Cardinal lead to 3-1.
This time, the clincher came from another senior, Doyle, who edged Maegan Manasse in three sets for the second straight week, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
“I actually didn’t know I was the one who clinched until I came to my chair and some of my teammates tackled me,” said Doyle after the game. “I am really happy I was able to get it done today.”
The Cardinal now turn their attention to the NCAA tournament and will likely play their first two duals at home after earning an automatic bid with their Pac-12 title. Stanford will begin its 36th consecutive appearance in the tournament on May 12-14.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.