Stanford Begins Quest To Defend NCAA Title

May 6, 2003

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NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championships 1st and 2nd Rounds
**Friday, May 9**
No. 42 Michigan (13-9) vs. No. 37 Colorado (14-8), 10 a.m.
Louisiana-Monroe (20-3) at No. 1 Stanford (20-1), 2 p.m.
**Saturday, May 10**
Michigan/Colorado winner vs. UL-Monroe/Stanford winner, 2:30 p.m.

Stanford (20-1) begins defense of its back-to-back NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championship on Friday, May 9 against Louisiana-Monroe at the Taube Family Tennis Center. The Cardinal, ranked first in the nation and holds the top-seed in the 64-team tournament, will face the Lady Indians (20-3) on Friday at 2 p.m. The other first round match on The Farm features No. 37 Colorado (14-8) against No. 42 Michigan (13-9) at 10 a.m. The winners of Friday's matches square off at noon in second round action on Saturday. The winner of Saturday's second round match travels to Gainesville, Fla. for the final four rounds of the NCAA Team Championships from Thursday, May 15 - Sunday, May 18.

Louisiana-Monroe (20-3): The Indians will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history when they take on Stanford in the first round. Louisiana-Monroe, which earned an automatic bid by capturing the Southland Conference Tournament, upset top-seeded Texas-San Antonio. The Indians have won 19 of their last 21 matches, will be the region's No. 49-64 seed.
Colorado (14-8): The Buffaloes, tabbed as the No. 33-48 seed, earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after upsetting top-seed Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Colorado, ranked 37th by the ITA, have defeated eight nationally-ranked opponents this spring. The Buffaloes' 14 wins this season marks the most since 1999.
Michigan (13-9): The Wolverines are coming off a quarterfinal loss to eventual Big Ten champion Northwestern at the conference tournament. Michigan, ranked 42nd in the ITA Poll, is making its second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fifth overall. The Wolverines have compiled a 4-4 mark in the national tournament, including a 3-1 record in 1997.

The Cardinal will be in search of their third consecutive NCAA team title, fifth in the last seven years, when postseason play gets underway on Friday. The 2002 Stanford women's tennis team (27-1) captured its second straight national championship last May, notching a 4-1 victory over No. 1 Florida (24-2) at the Taube Family Tennis Center in the title match of the 2002 Women's Tennis Team Championships. The Cardinal finished 27-1 overall and won their 15th straight Pac-10 title. Stanford won its 12th NCAA Team Championship in the 21-year history of the event, surrendering only three points. In NCAA match history, the Cardinal are 75-10 since the tournament went to its present format in 1982. Stanford has won 12 of 21 possible NCAA team titles, capturing an unprecedented six consecutive titles from 1986-91.

Four athletes will represent Stanford in the 64-player NCAA singles tournament, which is scheduled for May 19-24. Junior Lauren Barnikow, sophomore Erin Burdette and freshmen Alice Barnes and Amber Liu. Liu, ranked No. 4 in the country, enters the weekend with a 24-10 overall record. No. 11 Barnes leads the team in victories, checking in with a 35-4 overall mark and a perfect 21-0 in dual match competition. No. 16 Barnikow stands at 26-11, while 27th-ranked Burdette will bring a 25-8 ledger into the postseason. The singles draw will be announced during the NCAA Championships.

In the 32-team NCAA doubles bracket, one Cardinal team were invited to participate. Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette are the top-ranked team in the nation and enter this weekend with a 27-4 mark and 18-2 in dual competition. The duo were also recently named the Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year, posting a 16-1 record against conference foes. The main doubles draw will also be announced during the NCAA Championships.

Stanford continued its dominance among conference opponents, clinching its 16th consecutive Pac-10 title with a 4-3 victory over fourth-ranked California on April 22 in Berkeley. 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 outscored the other eight programs by a combined 48-8 tally.

Following a 4-3 defeat to California at the National Team Indoor Championships - Stanford's first dual loss since last year's team indoors - the Cardinal have gotten back on track. Stanford will enter the NCAA Tournament having won 18 straight matches, seven of which have been of the 7-0 shutout variety. No. 4 California, No. 5 USC and No. 10 William & Mary were the only teams to score more than one point against the Cardinal this year.

Freshmen Alice Barnes and Amber Liu has put together two impressive rookie seasons for the Cardinal. In her initial campaign, Liu has recorded a 34-10 overall mark (14-6 duals) as Stanford's No. 1 singles player. Liu has won 11 of her last 14 matches entering this weekend and was named the Pac-10 Women's Freshman of the Year. Barnes leads the team in victories with 35, tallying a 35-4 overall mark. She also finished the regular dual season with a perfect 21-0 record at the fourth spot.

In addition to Amber Liu being named Freshman of the Year and Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette tabbed as the Doubles Team of the Year, Stanford also had four singles earn All-Pac-10 accolades. Liu was named to the First Team, while Alice Barnes and Barnikow earned Second Team honors. Burdette was also selected to the Honorable Mention team by the conference coaches.

After serving as an assistant and associate head coach at Stanford for 11 years, Lele Forood has made the most of her two full seasons as head coach of the Cardinal women's tennis team. She has guided them to back-to-back NCAA titles and holds a 57-1 overall mark in two years. Forood, who is in her third season at the helm, became the first female head coach to win the NCAA team title in 2001.

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