Top-Ranked Stanford Edges No. 5 California, 4-3
April 22, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - It came down to the last match, but the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal (20-1, 8-0, Pac-10) claimed the outright Pac-10 title this afternoon, April 22, with a 4-3 victory over California (19-5, 6-2, Pac-10) at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. The Bears finish the season ranked second in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 mark - its best conference finish since a second-place showing in 2000 (6-2).
With the match ultimately being decided by only one point between the two rivals, the doubles point became the decider. It was looking promising for the Bears early on, as Nicole Havlicek and Catherine Lynch, back together for the first time since April 12, rolled out to an 8-3 victory over Emilia Anderson and Story Tweedie-Yates on court No. 3. On the marquee court, the Bears' third-ranked tandem of Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones were busy with the nation's #1 pair of Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette. The Cal duo had lost two previous matches to the Stanford pair already this season and made it three in a row after letting an early 4-3 lead slip away. Barnikow and Burdette improved to 18-2 on the season with an 8-6 victory to tie the doubles match at 1-1.
Meanwhile on court No. 2, Jieun Jacobs and Jody Scheldt were immersed in a 7-4 lead over Alice Barnes and Amber Liu. The doubles point looked to be a sure lock for Cal, but the Stanford duo ran off five consecutive games to claim a 9-7 victory and seal the deal for the Cardinal.
The singles competition could not have been more evenly matched, as the two teams combined for nine players ranked in the nation's Top 120. With Havlicek sidelined due to a leg injury, Stanford's depth proved to be the difference. Borisoff and Tweedie-Yates were the first to walk off the courts, as the Stanford sophomore cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory to give the Cardinal a 2-0 advantage. But Scheldt returned to her winning ways to put Cal on the board with a tidy 6-1, 6-2 decision over #119 Anderson - handing the Stanford junior only her second dual match loss of the season. The Cardinal responded, though, with a 6-4, 6-2 win on court four as #9 Barnes defeated #53 Jacobs to put Stanford up 3-1 with the top three courts still in action.
Down 3-1, the Bears knew that they had to emerge victorious on the top three courts to complete the upset bid. Fittingly for this cross-bay rivalry, courts one through three were all in the thick of battle. #7 Kops-Jones was up 4-3 over #4 Liu after dropping the first set to the Stanford freshman, #31 Fusano was up a set and tied 6-6 in the second with #14 Barnikow and #97 Lynch was up a set but down 3-4 in the second.
The first to walk off the battlefield was Fusano, as she completed a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) victory in dramatic fashion, after being down 4-1 in the deciding tiebreaker. On court one, Kops-Jones got the better of Liu for the third time this year, coming back from a set down to complete a 4-6, 7-6(7-4), 6-0 victory in come-from-behind fashion. With the match deadlocked at 3-3, it was up to Lynch and Burdette on court three.
After completing a masterful performance to take the first set, 6-3, Lynch faltered in the second, 3-6, to force a deciding third set. Too many unforced errors from Lynch and a dominating net game from Burdette proved to be the difference as the Cardinal clinched the match with Burdette's three-set victory.
Cal returns to action Thursday through Sunday, April 24-27 at the Pac-10 Championships in Ojai. The event is comprised of individual matches between members of Pac-10 Conference schools, with a singles and doubles champion to be crowned.
FINAL RESULT#5 California 3, #1 Stanford 4
SINGLESNo. 1 - #7 Raquel Kops-Jones (Cal) d. #4 Amber Liu (Stan), 4-6, 7-6(7-4), 6-0No. 2 - #31 Christina Fusano (Cal) d. #14 Lauren Barnikow (Stan), 6-1, 7-6(7-5)No. 3 - #35 Erin Burdette (Stan) d. #97 Catherine Lynch (Cal), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2*No. 4 - #9 Alice Barnes (Stan) d. #53 Jieun Jacobs (Cal), 6-4, 6-2No. 5 - Jody Scheldt (Cal) d. #119 Emilia Anderson (Stan), 6-1, 6-2No. 6 - Story Tweedie-Yates (Stan) d. Brooke Borisoff (Cal), 6-0, 6-2ORDER OF FINISH: 6, 5, 4, 2, 1, 3**Clinched match
DOUBLES (Stanford wins point)No. 1 - #1 Barnikow/Burdette (Stan) d. #3 Fusano/Kops-Jones (Cal), 8-6No. 2 - Barnes/Liu (Stan) d. Jacobs/Scheldt (Cal), 9-7No. 3 - Havlicek/Lynch (Cal) d. Anderson/Tweedie-Yates (Stan), 8-3
Records - #5 California 19-5 (6-2, Pac-10), #1 Stanford 20-1 (8-0, Pac-10)