No. 2 Women's Tennis Focuses On NCAA Championships
May 6, 2002
THIS WEEK'S ACTION
NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championships First and Second Round
***Friday, May 10***
No. 36 Pepperdine (12-13) vs. No. 64 Long Beach State (21-2)- 10 a.m.
Sacramento State (20-3) vs. No. 2 Stanford (21-1)- 2 p.m.
***Saturday, May 11***
Long Beach State/Pepperdine winner vs. Sacramento State/Stanford winner- 2:30 p.m.
Stanford (21-1) begins defense of its NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championship on Friday, May 10 against Sacramento State at the Taube Tennis Center. The Cardinal, ranked second in the nation and seeded third in the 64-team tournament, will face the Hornets (20-3) on Friday at 2 p.m. The other first round match on The Farm features No. 36 Pepperdine (12-13) against No. 64 Long Beach State (21-2) at 10 a.m. The winners of Friday's matches square off at noon in second round action on Saturday. The winner of Saturday's second round match returns to the Taube Tennis Center for the final four rounds of the NCAA Team Championships from Thursday, May 16- Sunday, May 19.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Sacramento State (20-3):The Hornets will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history when they take on Stanford in the first round. Sacramento State, which captured the program's first Big Sky title with a 4-3 win over Northern Arizona on Apr. 28, will be the region's No. 49-64 seed. Stanford and Sacramento State did not match up this season.
Pepperdine (12-13): The Waves, tabbed as the No. 33-48 seed, earned an at-large entry into the NCAA Tournament after falling to Loyola Marymount in the title match of the WCC Tournament. Pepperdine recorded victories against Northwestern, Wisconsin and San Diego State en route to a 12-13 mark. The Cardinal notched a 5-2 defeat against the Waves in Malibu back on Feb. 2.
Long Beach State (21-2): The 49ers claimed their first-ever Big West Championship on Apr. 28 after defeating UC Irvine 4-2 to advance to the postseason. Awarded the No. 29-32 seed in the region, Long Beach State will be looking to eclipse the school-record of 22 victories that was achieved last season. The Cardinal and 49ers have not met since the 1985 season.
DEFENDING THEIR CROWN
The Cardinal will be in search of its third NCAA team title in the last four years when postseason play gets underway Friday. Stanford cruised to its first undefeated season since 1990 last year, finishing with a 30-0 overall mark and a final No. 1 national ranking. The squad dropped only one point in its six NCAA Tournament matches in 2001, which ended with a 4-0 triumph over Vanderbilt to claim the title. The Cardinal, which also picked up its 14th straight Pac-10 championship last year, will be bidding for back-to-back national crowns for the first time since 1990-1991.
Four athletes will represent Stanford in the 64-player NCAA singles tournament, which is scheduled for May 20-25. Seniors Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra, along with sophomore Lauren Barnikow and freshman Erin Burdette. Kalvaria, ranked No. 4 in the country, enters the weekend with a 20-6 overall record. No. 13 Burdette leads the team in victories, checking in with a 35-6 overall mark in her first year with the team. No. 6 Lastra has won 14 consecutive matches and sits at 32-7, while No. 16 Barnikow will bring a 30-8 ledger into the postseason. The singles draw will be announced during the NCAA Championships.
In the 32-team NCAA doubles bracket, two Cardinal teams were invited to participate. Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra are the top-ranked team in the nation and enter this weekend with a 24-2 overall record. Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette are currently ranked No. 14, and have been equally impressive this season with a 27-9 mark. The main doubles draw will be announced during the NCAA Championships.
THE HARDWARE STAYS HERE
Stanford continued its dominance among conference opponents, clinching its 15th consecutive Pac-10 title with a 5-2 victory over No. 10 USC on Apr. 20 in Los Angeles. The Cardinal, which has not dropped a conference match since a 5-4 loss to California at home back on Feb. 27, 1999, improved to 8-0 in Pac-10 action on the year. Stanford has had little trouble against conference opponents this season, outscoring the other eight programs by a combined 53-3 tally. Individually, Gabriela Lastra captured the singles crown with a 6-3, 6-3 win over USC's Jewel Peterson, and the team of Emilia Anderson-Story Tweedie-Yates won the invitational doubles championship.
STREAKING INTO THE POSTSEASON
Following a 4-3 defeat to Georgia at the National Team Indoor Championships- Stanford's first dual match loss since the 2000 National Championship contest- the Cardinal have gotten back on track. Stanford will enter the NCAA Tournament having won 17 straight matches, nine of which have been of the 7-0 shutout variety. No. 5 UCLA and No. 10 USC were the only conference opponents who were able to earn points against the Cardinal.
THEY'VE BEEN AUTOMATIC
Stanford has received tremendous singles and doubles play this year, and it has translated into yet another impressive season. Several athletes have notable winning streaks in singles competition, led by senior Keiko Tokuda, who has won 17 in a row. In addition, senior Gabriela Lastra has won her last 14 matches. The nation's top tandem of Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra has an 11-game winning streak.
Freshman Erin Burdette has put together one of the most impressive rookie seasons in recent memory. In her initial campaign, she has recorded a 35-6 overall mark (21-1 duals) to lead the Cardinal in singles victories. Burdette, who reached the singles semifinals at Pac-10 Championships, has posted a 15-0 record at the No. 4 singles position, giving Stanford another solid weapon at the bottom of the lineup. Burdette got off to a blistering start by winning 14 of her first 15 matches and captured the Omni Hotels Northwest Regionals singles title earlier in the year. She has teamed with Lauren Barnikow in doubles, and the duo is ranked No. 14 with a 27-9 overall ledger.
THE FOROOD FILE
After serving as an assistant and associate head coach at Stanford for 11 years, Lele Forood made the most of her first chance as head coach of the Cardinal women's tennis team, guiding last year's squad to the NCAA team title. Forood, who is her second season at the helm, became the first female head coach to win the NCAA team title in 2001. She guided the Cardinal to a stellar 30-0 mark in her first complete season at the helm, as well as the 2001 Pac-10 Championship and a No. 1 final national ranking. Last year marked the ninth perfect season in school history and first in over ten years, as the Cardinal has won 94 of its last 96 matches spanning the last three seasons.