No. 10 Stanford Tops No. 12 Cal 4-3 To Nab Pac-10 Title Share, Extend Home Streak To 161
April 17, 2010
STANFORD, Calif.- Back in early March, Veronica Li clinched a 5-2 Stanford victory over California in Berkeley when she pulled out a tough three-setter at the No. 6 spot. With the Golden Bears ranked No. 5 in the country at the time, it stood as Stanford's biggest win of the year.
Li provided the clincher against the Golden Bears once again on Saturday afternoon at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, defeating Tayler Davis 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 6 position to propel No. 10 Stanford past No. 12 California 4-3.
And this time around, the stakes were considerably higher.
With the win, Stanford (19-1, 7-0 Pac-10) clinched a share of the Pac-10 championship, collecting the league hardware for the first time since being crowned co-champions with UCLA back in 2008.
'This was just a tremendous effort by our entire team,' said head coach Lele Forood, who in her 10th season at the helm has compiled an eye-popping 252-16 overall record. 'Veronica had been in a position to clinch before and that experience served her well today. This is a group that never gets down on themselves and continues to push one another. That was a key for us today, and we can expect the same match intensity in the postseason.'
And the Cardinal's NCAA-record home winning streak also remained in tact. Stanford has now won 161 matches in a row (131 in the regular season, 30 NCAA Tournament) at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, a streak that spans 11 years since No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset back on Feb. 27, 1999.
Along with UCLA and USC, Saturday's Senior Day contest against California (18-5, 5-2 Pac-10) was circled on the calendar as a serious threat to the home wining streak. After all, the Golden Bears have advanced to the national championship match two consecutive seasons and nearly ended Stanford's home winning streak last year before Jessica Nguyen's three-setter rallied the Cardinal to a dramatic victory.
Saturday's match had a definite postseason feel, with the largest crowd of the year cheering every point and nervously shifting around from court to court depending on the game score.
Now Stanford has put itself in position for a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament, having won 12 straight matches since suffering its only loss of the year back on Feb. 26, a 6-1 defeat to then-No. 4 UCLA in Los Angeles.
There is still an opportunity for UCLA (6-1 Pac-10) to technically claim a share of the conference title. Stanford's match against USC was suspended by rain at 3-3 two weeks ago, with the doubles point still yet to be played. That will now happen at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 21, at the Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. If Stanford wins the doubles point, the Cardinal will improve to 8-0 and capture the crown outright. Should USC win the doubles point, UCLA must face California as their Apr. 2 match was also cancelled by rain and the Bruins could then tie the Cardinal for a share of the league title with a victory. Stanford would receive the Pac-10's automatic bid to the postseason by virtue of its 5-2 victory over UCLA back on Apr. 3.
Stanford's superior depth once again proved to be the key on Saturday, as the Cardinal won the match despite singles losses from its top two players.
California went in front 2-1 following victories from its top two players. In a battle of two of the nation's top-five players at the top of the lineup, second-ranked Jana Juricova pulled away from fourth-ranked Hilary Barte 6-3, 6-3. It was the first loss for Barte in a home dual match since Feb. 28, 2009, when the two-time All-American was beaten by Washington's Venise Chan.
Meanwhile, lone senior Lindsay Burdette was unable to shake off her recent struggles when she was bested 6-4, 6-2 by Marina Cossou at the No. 2 position.
Stacey Tan won a 7-6 (2) first-set tiebreaker and breezed to a 6-0 victory in the second set, knotting the match at 2-2.
Carolyn McVeigh then downed Annie Goransson 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 5 spot, extending Stanford's lead to 3-2.
But at this point, Cal was in control on court three and in prime position to force a 3-3 tie. Mari Andersson had already taken the first set 6-4 from Mallory Burdette and held a 3-2 lead in the second. Over on court six, Li had won the first set 6-4 but was tied at 4-4 in the second and laboring against a hard-charging effort from Davis.
With Mallory Burdette slowly making a comeback over in the stadium, Li then moved ahead 5-4 and was on serve. Davis had already survived one match point, but after a brief rally minutes later, the Cal freshman hit a forehand that sailed long and Li emerged victorious as she was mobbed by teammates and coaches.
Mallory Burdette eventually closed out her match by winning the third set, 6-3.
No. 10 Stanford 5, No. 12 California 2
1) No. 7 Andersson/Juricova (CAL) d. No. 2 Barte/L. Burdette (STAN) 8-6
2) No. 46 M. Burdette/Tan (STAN) d. No. 83 Cossou/Siwosz (CAL) 8-4
3) McVeigh/Li (STAN) d. Goransson/Davis (CAL) 8-2
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1) No. 2 Jana Juricova (CAL) d. No. 4 Hilary Barte (STAN) 6-3, 6-3
2) No. 17 Marina Cossou (CAL) d. No. 68 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) 6-4, 6-2
3) No. 39 Mallory Burdette (STAN) d. No. 31 Mari Andersson (CAL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
4) No. 73 Stacey Tan (STAN) d. Kasia Siwosz (CAL) 7-6 (2), 6-0
5) No. 120 Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) d. Annie Goransson (CAL) 6-2, 6-3
6) Veronica Li (STAN) d. Tayler Davis (CAL) 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3
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