Stanford Returns Home For Three Matches This Week

April 7, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Coming off two tough losses this weekend against No. 5 USC and No. 4 UCLA, Stanford is returning to The Farm for three home matches this week. The Cardinal will face St. Mary's on Tuesday, April 8, in a non-conference match, then resume Pac-10 competition with contests against Washington on Friday, April 11, and Oregon on Saturday, April 12.

Tuesday's match is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start time. St. Mary's, the alma mater of volunteer assistant coach J.J. Whitlinger, has faired very well throughout the spring, going 12-4 overall. Their top singles player, Joel Kusnierz is 13-2 at the top spot and is on a nine-game winning streak. The Gaels have struggled in doubles play though, going 21-30 in dual meets. Stanford is St. Mary's last non-conference match-up.

On Friday at 1:30 pm. the Cardinal will meet Washington. The No. 23 Huskies are currently 1-3 in Pac-10 play, with their only win coming against Arizona. The Huskies are 13-7 overall and feature two ranked singles players. Patrik Fischer is currently ranked No. 82 in the nation and has been seeing most of his time in the top slot. No. 97 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, a freshman, has been splitting his time between the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 positions.

On Saturday, Stanford will honor its lone senior, Phil Kao, before taking on Oregon at 1 p.m. The Ducks are .500 on the season with 11 wins and 11 losses. They have struggled in Pac-10 play, going 0-4 losing to both Arizona schools and both southern California teams. Marcos Verdasco has been playing the majority of No. 1 singles matches, but is 7-14 in that position.

Although the Cardinal have not faced any of these teams in dual meets this year, some athletes have seen each other in tournaments this past fall.At the ITA Regional Championships in October, Blake Muller defeated Washington's Derek Drabble, who was forced to retire due to an injury, in the second round, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4. Richard Wire shutout Oregon's Ric Mortera in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, in the second round, but lost to the Huskies' Andy Kuharszky, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, in the finals, and Greg Hirshman beat the Ducks' Francisco Gallardo, 6-2, 6-4, in the consolation bracket. At that tournament, Wire and Hirshman also combined to beat St. Mary's Achim Christner and Marek Dvorak, 8-4 in the second round of doubles play. At the Chandler cup in the later part of October, Hirshman also defeated the Gaels' Kusnierz, 6-1, 6-2, in the first round.

Stanford will finish up the Pac-10 season next week with a lone match against Cal on Saturday, April 19.

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