No. 6 Stanford Prepares For Key Southern California Road Trip

Feb. 26, 2008

STANFORD, Calif.- Despite two uncharacteristic early losses to begin the year, No. 6 Stanford appears to be back on track after posting convincing back-to-back road wins last weekend.

The Cardinal (6-2) will be tested once again later this week, traveling to Los Angeles for key matches against UCLA (Friday, Feb. 29 at 1:30 p.m.) and USC (Saturday, Mar. 1 at 12 p.m.). Both teams are tied at No. 11 in the most recent national rankings.

Stanford's current five-match road stretch began last weekend with a surprising 6-1 setback at then-No. 11 California. But the Cardinal bounced back the following day with a 7-0 shutout of Washington and ended the week with a 5-1 rout of Washington State.

Now it's off to Southern California, where Stanford will battle conference rivals UCLA and USC. While the Cardinal has held a decided advantage over both programs for some time, the gap has closed slightly. Stanford swept the regular season series against both schools last year, including a pair of hard-fought 4-3 victories on the road. Only UCLA was able to get revenge- the Bruins upset the Cardinal 4-2 in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament to end Stanford's three-year championship run.

UCLA (8-3) enters Friday's contest having lost back-to-back matches, including a 5-2 loss to Baylor on Feb. 26. Stanford faced Baylor at the ITA National Indoor Team Championships earlier this month and came away with a 4-2 win.

Since an early exit at the ITA National Indoor Team Championships, USC (8-2) has won three in a row. The Women of Troy, who have not defeated the Cardinal since April 4, 1986, are led by three-time All-American and 2007 Pac-10 singles champion Lindsey Nelson.

The Southern California road trip also serves as a homecoming for freshman Hilary Barte (Chatsworth, Calif.), junior Megan Doheny (Los Angeles, Calif.), senior Celia Durkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) and junior Jessica Nguyen (Chatsworth, Calif.).

Because of health issues, Stanford has played with a shuffled lineup essentially all season long. Not to say that has translated into a lack of contributions. Nguyen leads the team with a 16-6 overall mark after going 3-0 last week, freshman Carolyn McVeigh has chalked up an impressive 14-5 record and senior Whitney Deason is two wins shy of 100 for her career.

The most consistent doubles team continues to be the No. 2 squad of Deason and Nguyen. The tandem has compiled an 11-1 record overall and 7-1 in dual match play.

Also, a sweep of this weekend's road trip would give head coach Lele Forood 200 career victories. In her eighth year at the helm, Forood has guided Stanford to an incredible 198-7 overall record.

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