Stanford Set To Begin First Round Of NCAAs Saturday Against UC-Santa Barbara

May 5, 2008

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STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 22 Stanford men's tennis team will start on the road to Tulsa this weekend as first-round NCAA tournament action begins on Saturday, May 10 for the Cardinal. Stanford will square off against No. 58 UC-Santa Barbara at 2 p.m. on the Pepperdine University campus. The winner of the match will move on to the second round to face the winner of Pepperdine-Hawai'i on Sunday at 1 p.m. Also. seventh-ranked freshman Alex Clayton is slated to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship, beginning on May 21, in Tulsa, as announced by the NCAA.

The Cardinal will be looking to win their 18th team championship. If the Cardinal win two matches this weekend, they will travel to the University of Tulsa, host of this year's finals, to begin round of 16 play.

'Last year we didn't make the cut, but it's good to be back in the tournament and to be able to play for the championship,' said Head Coach John Whitlinger. 'We're lucky. We get to stay on the West Coast and in the same time zone, and it's not a very long trip. They split Arizona State and us up and we figured one of us would be going to Pepperdine, and I think because we slipped in just a bit higher than ASU in the rankings, we got to stay around here and ASU has to head to North Carolina.'

Stanford, who is 12-8 on the season and finished third in the Pac-10 with a conference record of 5-2, have not played a match against UCSB since 1990, and have never faced the Gauchos in NCAA Tournament play. The Cardinal is currently on a four-match win streak and touts three nationally-ranked singles players including Clayton, No. 80 Matt Bruch, and No. 124 Richard Wire. The Gauchos went 15-9 this season and took the Big West Conference title with a 4-1 record. They currently have no ranked players in either singles or doubles. Stanford holds an 11-0 all-time record against UCSB, and a 92-13 record overall in the NCAA tournament.

'I know their head coach Marty [Davis] very well,' added Whitlinger. 'He's a good coach and although they've had a few down years they're getting better and they are a good team, we have a lot of respect for them, and we're going in expecting a tough match.'

Should the Cardinal defeat UCSB and advance to Sunday's match they will face two opponents they are very familiar with. Stanford last met No. 13 Pepperdine in April of 2007, when the Waves defeated the Cardinal, 4-3, in a hard-fought match that was decided in the last singles duel. In the current season, Stanford has faced Pepperdine opponents in two singles matches (2-0) and two doubles matches (1-1) in various tournaments. The Cardinal has previously matched-up with the Waves four times in the NCAA tournament and have thrice bested them, winning in '80 (6-3), '86 (5-2), and '01 (4-1) and falling in '05 (4-2). Stanford leads the all-time series 25-6.

Stanford has twice defeated No. 63 Hawai'i this year in dual matches by scores of 6-1 and 7-0. The Cardinal have never lost to the Warriors in program history, winning each of the 24 matches against them and has never faced them in the NCAA Tournament.

Clayton received an at-large bid to be one of the 64 men competing in the NCAA Singles Championship and is the only Stanford player to compete in the non-team championships. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 21-26 in Tulsa following the conclusion of the team championship. All matches shall be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and 12-point tiebreaker at six games will be used for all matches. Pairings are not yet set and will be announced at a later date.

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