Stanford Looks To Defend Title In Gainesville

May 13, 2003


NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championships Round of 16
**Thursday, May 15**
No. 17 Harvard (19-3) vs. No. 1 Stanford (22-1), 2 p.m.
**Friday, May 16**
Harvard/Stanford winner vs. Georgia/Kentucky winner, 2 p.m.
**Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18**
Tournament Play Continues

After notching back-to-back shutouts in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Stanford (22-1) finds itself among the final 16 schools contending for the 2003 Women's Tennis national championship. The Cardinal, ranked first in the nation and seed first in the 64-team tournament, continues its quest for the 13th national title in program history when they meet No. 17 Harvard (19-3) on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Florida. Should Stanford advance, it will face the winner of Thursday's Georgia/Kentucky match - slated for 2 p.m. at the Stadium Courts.

Harvard (19-3): The Crimson advanced with a 4-1 win over Oklahoma State and a 4-3 decision over #22 Arizona, extending their winning streak to 10 matches. Harvard is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament and has advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the NCAA tournament expanded the field from 16 to 64. The Crimson's starting lineup features four nationally-ranked players, including No. 46 Courtney Bergman, No. 78 Eva Wang, No. 97 Alexis Martire and No. 101 Susanna Lingman. Harvard's doubles team of Bergman and Lingman are also ranked No. 47.

The Cardinal will be in search of their third consecutive NCAA team title, fifth in the last seven years, when postseason play resumes on Thursday. 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 77-10 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.

Stanford opened defense of its title with a convincing 4-0 first round win over visiting Louisiana-Monroe. The Cardinal is now a perfect 22-0 in its opening round matches and has lost just nine points in those contests since 1982. Stanford then took on Michigan in the second round, defeating them 4-0 to advance to Gainesville. Freshman Amber Liu clinched both matches for the Cardinal, while Erin Burdette and Story Tweedie-Yates each picked up two singles victories over the weekend.

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 26-10 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 brings a 27-8 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 28-4 mark and 19-2 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 Round of 16 having won 20 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 26-10 overall mark (16-6 duals) as Stanford's No. 1 singles player. Liu has won 13 of her last 16 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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