Test Time: No. 1 Women's Tennis Visits No. 13 UCLA, No. 7 USC
April 10, 2007
STANFORD, Calif.- Only three matches remain in the regular season for No. 1 Stanford. However, those three contests also represent the toughest stretch of this year's schedule.
The Cardinal travels to No. 13 UCLA (Friday, Apr. 13 at 1:30 p.m.) and No. 7 USC (Saturday, Apr. 14 at noon) this weekend before closing out the campaign next week at California, currently ranked No. 8.
Battling top-25 competition is nothing new- Stanford has passed that test with an 8-1 record against such opponents. Not to mention, Stanford is 4-0 combined against UCLA, USC and California already this year.
But these matches are on the road, and all three will count in the Pac-10 standings. Entering the week, Stanford sits in a three-way tie for first place in league play at 5-0 with USC and California. UCLA is close behind at 4-1.
Stanford begins the week at 17-1 overall and 5-0 in conference action. The Cardinal improved its winning streak to 14 with victories over No. 41 Washington State and Washington last week to finish undefeated at home (12-0) for the eighth straight season.
UCLA (13-6, 4-1 Pac-10) split a road trip to the desert last weekend, falling to Arizona State before defeating Arizona. USC (16-2, 5-0 Pac-10) swept both Arizona schools last week and has won 11 in a row.
The Cardinal received some good news last week when Jessica Nguyen returned to the lineup after a foot injury sidelined her for just over a month. One of Stanford's top singles players when healthy, Nguyen teamed with Celia Durkin to sweep a pair of doubles matches at the No. 2 position. The coaching staff continues to monitor her progress and a return to singles play appears likely- possibly this week.
Nguyen's absence has done nothing to derail Stanford, as head coach Lele Forood has successfully filled out the middle and lower portion of the singles lineup with her deep and talented roster.
Celia Durkin and Lindsay Burdette, playing mainly at the Nos. 3 and 5 spots, share the team lead with 22 victories. Whitney Deason, 15-3 in duals, has held down the No. 4 spot and had won 11 in a row before a rare hiccup against Washington's Tara Simpson last week.
The No. 6 spot in the lineup has been filled by Lejla Hodzic, who entered the year with limited experience but has registered a career-high 11 dual match wins. Megan Doheny had never appeared in dual match during her career before stepping in at No. 6 and going 1-1 in a tough weekend against Oregon and Texas.
The top of the lineup has remained in tact throughout the year, anchored by seniors Theresa Logar and Anne Yelsey. At No. 1, Logar is 21-7 overall and 15-3 at the top spot of the lineup in duals. Yelsey has won nine in a row at No. 2, improving her dual match record to 12-4.
Stanford will need contributions from everyone during the final three matches of the season.