No. 4 Stanford Earns Share Of Pac-10 Title In 5-2 Win Over No. 6 California

April 19, 2008

STANFORD, Calif.- No. 4 Stanford claimed a share of its 21st consecutive Pac-10 title on Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 6 California 5-2 in the regular season finale for both teams at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

The Cardinal (19-4, 7-1 Pac-10) will head into the postseason having won seven in row while the Golden Bears (16-5, 6-2 Pac-10) lost for just the second time in 12 matches.

Stanford entered today's match having won 20 straight conference titles, including the last 10 outright. This time around the Cardinal would have to settle for a co-championship with UCLA (18-5, 7-1 Pac-10), a 5-2 winner over USC yesterday. However, Stanford receives the Pac-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating UCLA 4-3 in a counting match on Apr. 5.

Today's victory also extended Stanford's regular season dual match home winning streak to 106. Throw in a 26-0 record in NCAA Tournament matches and the Cardinal has not been defeated in the last 132 contests played on its home court. Stanford's last home loss occurred on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset.

California had plenty of momentum coming into the contest, thanks primarily to a 6-1 upset victory in Berkeley back in February. That was one of three losses in the opening month for Stanford, a program that had not suffered three losses in a season since 1995.

But the Cardinal eventually bounced back, and has now won 13 of its last 14 matches en route to its 27th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Stanford took control of Saturday's match from the start. Unlike the first meeting in Berkeley, the Cardinal captured the doubles point for the 19th time this year to take a 1-0 lead. The No. 2 team of Whitney Deason and Jessica Nguyen cruised to a convincing 8-2 win before the No. 1 duo of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette stormed to an 8-3 victory.

With the doubles point already secured by Stanford and a 6-6 tie on court three, a tiebreaker was played with California prevailing 7-5.

Barte put the Cardinal up 2-0 when she dispatched of California's Marina Cossou 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 1 position in a battle of top-10 players. Barte, ranked No. 7 nationally, improved to 25-5 overall and 20-3 in dual match play with the victory over Cossou, ranked No. 6 in the country. Barte has not lost a match in two months, winning 17 in a row at the No. 1 spot while dropping only three games during that stretch.

Bojana Bobusic brought California within 2-1 after she netted a 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Deason on court five.

Meanwhile, Durkin had dropped the first set 6-3 to Cristina Visico at the No. 3 spot before battling back to take the next two sets. Durkin won the second set 6-3 and jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third frame before securing the match with another 6-3 win.

Durkin's 19th win of the year put Stanford in front 3-1 with three matches remaining. California had taken the first set in two of those contests, with the exception on court four.

That's where Burdette provided the clincher, outlasting Claire Ilcinkas 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to pick up her 50th career singles victory. Burdette dropped the first game of the third set before winning the next six to ice the match for Stanford, which improved to 11-0 at home this year.

Nguyen added a gutsy 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Susie Babos at the No. 2 spot to give Stanford a 5-1 cushion.

California's Stephanie Kusano rallied for a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over Carolyn McVeigh on court six.

Deason, Durkin and Lejla Hodzic were honored in a Senior Day ceremony prior to the start of doubles. During their time on The Farm, the trio has captured two NCAA team championships (2005, 2006) while posting a 99-6 overall record in dual match competition.

Stanford travels to Ojai, Calif., next weekend for the Pac-10 Championships. NCAA Tournament first and second round competition is scheduled for May 9-10 at select campus sites. The final 16 teams advance to Tulsa, Okla., the following week for the NCAA Championships.

No. 4 Stanford 5, No. 6 California 2

1) No. 12 Barte/Burdette (STAN) d. No. 18 Babos/Kusano (CAL) 8-3
2) No. 45 Deason/Nguyen (STAN) d. Ilcinkas/Cossou (CAL) 8-2
3) Bobusic/Visico (CAL) d. Durkin/McVeigh (STAN) 7-6 (7-5)
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

1) No. 7 Hilary Barte (STAN) d. No. 6 Marina Cossou (CAL) 6-1, 6-3
2) No. 14 Jessica Nguyen (STAN) d. No. 18 Susie Babos (CAL) 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4
3) No. 98 Celia Durkin (STAN) d. No. 38 Cristina Visico (CAL) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
4) No. 100 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) d. No. 70 Claire Ilcinkas (CAL) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
5) No. 104 Bojana Bobusic (CAL) d. No. 58 Whitney Deason (STAN) 6-3, 7-6 (7)
6) Stephanie Kusano (CAL) d. No. 78 Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 5, 3, 4, 2, 6

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