By Shan Reddy
After a clutch 4-3 win by No. 3 Stanford women’s tennis (25-1, 10-0 Pac-12) in their final home match of the season against No. 14 Kansas (21-5, 7-2 Big 12), the team heads to the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida for the quarterfinals NCAA Division 1 Women’s Tennis Championship.
Sophomore Janice Shin provided the clincher to put the Cardinal through, surging back from behind to take down the Jayhawks’ Nina Khmelnitckaia after dropping the first set (3-6, 6-4, 6-2).
The Cardinal is riding an impressive 20-game win streak heading into the match against No. 6 Pepperdine (24-3, 9-0 WAC); the Waves, meanwhile, have won each of their last 21 consecutive matches stretching back to a February match against No. 16 Michigan (20-6, 11-0 Big 10). Both Stanford and Pepperdine ended their regular seasons undefeated in conference play.
In singles, the Waves’ headliners are No. 16 Evgeniya Levashova, No. 37 Ashley Lahey and No. 53 Jessica Failla, who has won each of her eight consecutive matches in singles. The Cardinal, meanwhile, have four players in the top 70 of national women’s singles rankings: sophomore No. 24 Michaela Gordon, senior No. 29 Melissa Lord, junior No. 44 Emily Arbuthnott and senior No. 66 Caroline Lampl.
Historically, Stanford has dominated Pepperdine, winning 14 of their last 16 matches against the Waves. All time, the Cardinal stands 32-2 against Pepperdine in a series dating back to 1978; those two wins by the team from Malibu both came in the teams’ most recent two meetings (2016, 2017).
The Cardinal is looking to reestablish its dominance over a team in Pepperdine that has reigned over the West Coast Conference over the past few years, boasting a 28-3 record in conference play along with seven straight conference championships. But while Pepperdine may be the winningest program in WAC tennis history, Stanford is the most decorated program in collegiate tennis history, winning 19 of the past 36 NCAA titles, including two of the past three (2016, 2018).
The match will kick off at 11:00 a.m. P.T. on Friday at the NCAA National Campus in Orlando, Florida.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu.