Women's Tennis Set For NCAA Championships To Begin Thursday

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May 14, 2002

***NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championships Round of 16***
***Thursday, May 16***
No. 17 Kentucky (18-8) vs. No. 2 Stanford (23-1)- 8 a.m.
***Friday, May 17***
Kentucky/Stanford winner vs. Arizona State/North Carolina winner- 11 a.m.
***Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19***
Tournament Play Continues

After notching back-to-back 4-0 shutouts in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Stanford (23-1) finds itself among the final 16 schools contending for the 2002 Women's Tennis national championship. The Cardinal will already have an advantage over the other 15 squads before play begins Thursday, with the remainder of the postseason will taking place at the Taube Tennis Center. Stanford, ranked second in the nation and seeded third in the 64-team tournament, continues its quest for the 13th national title in school history when its meets No. 17 Kentucky (18-8) on Thursday at 8 a.m. Should the Cardinal advance, it will face the winner of Thursday's Arizona State/North Carolina match- slated for 8 a.m. at the West Tennis Courts.

Kentucky (18-8): The Wildcats will making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Round of 16 since the inception of the women's tennis program in 1974. Kentucky, ranked No. 17 in the nation and tabbed as the No. 14 seed overall in the tournament, blanked Boston University 4-0 in the opening round and downed Georgia Tech 4-1 in the second round of play. Kentucky has won three of its last four matches entering Thursday's match against the Cardinal. The 'Cats starting lineup features several nationally-ranked players, including No. 44 Carolina Mayorga, No. 60 Sarah Witten and No. 84 Lauren Rookledge in singles. Two doubles teams are ranked: No. 8 Mayorga and Witten and No. 60 Jill Buckley and Amy Trefethen.

The Cardinal will be in search of its third NCAA team title in the last four years when postseason play resumes Thursday. Stanford cruised to its first undefeated season since 1990 last year, finishing with a 30-0 overall mark and a final No. 1 national ranking. The squad dropped only one point in its six NCAA Tournament matches in 2001, which ended with a 4-0 triumph over Vanderbilt to claim the title. The Cardinal, which also picked up its 14th straight Pac-10 championship last year, will be bidding for back-to-back national crowns for the first time since 1990-1991.

Stanford posted a 4-0 shutout of Sacramento State in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament last Friday. The Cardinal, 22-0 all-time in opening round matches, won the doubles point with wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions. Stanford continued by winning two singles matches at the bottom half of the lineup, as No. 5 Keiko Tokuda tallied a 6-0, 6-0 win for her 18th consecutive victory and Emilia Anderson breezed to a 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 6 spot. No. 2 Gabriela Lastra clinched the 4-0 shutout with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph, her 15th win in a row.

The Cardinal recorded its second 4-0 shutout in as many days, blanking No. 36 Pepperdine in the NCAA second round to earn a berth in the round of 16. Stanford used 8-4 doubles victories at Nos. 1 and 2 to claim a 1-0 lead in the match. The Cardinal has now won the doubles point in its last six contests. Gabriela Lastra started things off in singles with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2 and Keiko Tokuda came through with a 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 5. Erin Burdette secured the 4-0 shutout with a 6-1, 6-1 win at the No. 4 spot.

Four athletes will represent Stanford in the 64-player NCAA singles tournament, slated for May 20-25. Seniors Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra, along with sophomore Lauren Barnikow and freshman Erin Burdette. Kalvaria, ranked No. 4 in the country, enters Thursday's tilt with a 20-6 record. No. 13 Burdette leads the team in victories, checking in with a 36-6 overall mark in her first year on The Farm. No. 6 Lastra has won 16 consecutive matches and sits at 34-7, while No. 16 Barnikow brings a 30-8 ledger into the postseason. The singles draw will be announced during the NCAA Championships. In the 32-team NCAA doubles bracket, two Cardinal teams were invited to participate. Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra are the top-ranked team in the nation and enter this weekend with a 26-2 overall record. Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette are currently ranked No. 14, and have been equally impressive this season with a 29-9 mark.

Stanford continued its dominance among conference opponents, clinching its 15th consecutive Pac-10 title with a 5-2 victory over No. 10 USC on Apr. 20 in Los Angeles. The Cardinal, which has not dropped a conference match since a 5-4 loss to California at home back on Feb. 27, 1999, improved to 8-0 in Pac-10 action on the year. Stanford has had little trouble against conference opponents this season, outscoring the other eight programs by a combined 53-3 tally. Individually, Gabriela Lastra captured the singles crown with a 6-3, 6-3 win over USC's Jewel Peterson, and the team of Emilia Anderson-Story Tweedie-Yates won the invitational doubles championship.

Following a 4-3 defeat to Georgia at the National Team Indoor Championships- Stanford's first dual match loss since the 2000 National Championship contest- the Cardinal have gotten back on track. Stanford enters this weekend having won 19 straight matches, eleven of which have been of the shutout variety. No. 5 UCLA and No. 10 USC were the only conference opponents who were able to earn points against the Cardinal.

Stanford has received tremendous singles and doubles play this year, and it has translated into yet another impressive season. Several athletes have notable winning streaks in singles competition, led by senior Keiko Tokuda, who has won 19 in a row. In addition, senior Gabriela Lastra has won her last 16 matches. The nation's top tandem of Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra has an 13-game winning streak.

After serving as an assistant and associate head coach at Stanford for 11 years, Lele Forood made the most of her first chance as head coach of the Cardinal women's tennis team, guiding last year's squad to the NCAA team title. Forood, who is her second season at the helm, became the first female head coach to win the NCAA team title in 2001. She guided the Cardinal to a stellar 30-0 mark in her first complete season at the helm, as well as the 2001 Pac-10 Championship and a No. 1 final national ranking. Last year marked the ninth perfect season in school history and first in over ten years, as the Cardinal has won 96 of its last 98 matches spanning the last three seasons.

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