No. 16 Stanford women’s tennis (18-3, 9-0 Pac-12) swept the quarter and semifinals to triumph 4-2 over No. 13 UCLA (20-5, 9-1) in the nail-biting finals of the Pac-12 championships on Saturday in Ojai, California, seizing the crown for the third consecutive year and securing the conference bid to the upcoming NCAA championships.
After winning the regular season conference title and heading into the postseason with two nationally ranked doubles pairs and an entire lineup of ranked singles players, the Cardinal raised their winning streak to 14 consecutive matches. Currently holding 18 NCAA titles, the most of any collegiate program, Stanford women’s tennis hopes to make a national impression in the coming weeks.
Stanford’s 4-0 sweep of No. 43 Washington (16-11, 5-5) in the Thursday quarterfinals set the tone for the rest of the tournament. The semifinals followed suit on Friday, as the women swept No. 48 Washington State (21-7, 5-5) and earned their 1000th win in program history.
On Saturday, the Cardinal was tested by UCLA in the doubles category when the No. 2 ranked pairing of sophomore Emily Arbuthnott and freshman Michaela Gordon were unable to match UCLA’s No. 6 team by a narrow margin, losing 7-6 in the first spot. Reliable star and No. 16 ranked Gordon also failed to secure a point in the first singles position, losing the first and third sets of a tense and challenging match against high performing No. 14 Erin Shibahara.
No. 68 ranked junior Melissa Lord’s impressive 6-1, 7-5 defeat of her No. 30-ranked opponent in the second position restored the team’s confidence. No. 94 junior Caroline Lampl (3-6, 6-1, 7-6) and No. 51 Arbuthnott (4-6, 6-1, 6-1) lost their first sets, but came back with epic resolve to win their second two.
The No. 95 ranked freshman Janice Shin led an unfinished match, but it was No. 109 sophomore stand out Emma Higuchi who nailed a powerful two setter (6-4, 7-6) to finish off the victory against UCLA and deliver the tournament crown. Stanford will discover their NCAA opponents and bracket position in the NCAA Tournament selection show on Tuesday. The championships will run May 11th through 13th, with the final 16 facing off on the 17th in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The location and schedule is set to be released next week, though Stanford looks to be a strong candidate to host a few rounds.
Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash ‘at’ stanford.edu