Stanford Up To No. 2, Barte Climbs To No. 3, Pac-10 Championships Next
April 22, 2008
STANFORD, Calif.- The postseason is right around the corner and that can only mean one thing: Stanford is once again in the picture as a national title contender.
Stanford's dominating three-year NCAA championship run and historic 89-match winning streak that spanned three seasons both came to an end last year. This year's squad experienced an uncharacteristic slow start and has already dropped four matches, the most since a 22-4 finish back in 1987.
But the Cardinal has also caught fire at the right time, winning 13 of its last 14 matches. Stanford's most recent decision, a 5-2 victory over California last weekend, resulted in a share of its 21st consecutive Pac-10 title and was the eighth win over a top-20 opponent this year.
Stanford's current seven-match winning streak has also translated into a No. 2 national ranking, the Cardinal's highest poll position since holding down the top spot during the first week of February. Northwestern, slated to compete this weekend in the Big 10 Championship, continues to hold down the No. 1 spot while No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Georgia and No.5 UCLA round out the top five.
The regular season is complete and before NCAA Tournament first and second round competition gets underway in two weeks, the focus shifts to Ojai, Calif., for the Pac-10 Championships. Singles action begins Thursday and doubles play follows Friday, leading into Sunday's championship matches.
Leading the Cardinal will be freshman Hilary Barte, perhaps the hottest player in the country at the moment. Barte continues to climb in the latest edition of the national rankings, checking in at No. 3 after a week that saw her pick up two more wins and earn Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades for the second time in a month.
Barte is 25-5 overall and sports a team-best 20-3 record in dual match play. The Chatsworth, Calif., native has not lost a match in two months (Feb. 20 at California), winning 17 in a row at the No. 1 spot while dropping only three sets during that stretch. She is 14-1 against Pac-10 opponents, 17-3 against nationally-ranked foes and 17-1 in home matches.
In fact, Stanford's entire singles lineup is ranked nationally. Junior Jessica Nguyen (27-9, 16-5 duals) moved up to No. 12, senior Whitney Deason (15-13, 7-8 duals) sits at No. 63, senior Celia Durkin (19-7, 15-3 duals) is No. 70, sophomore Lindsay Burdette (19-13, 14-8) comes in at No. 92 and freshman Carolyn McVeigh (25-9, 16-6 duals) holds down the No. 98 spot.
Barte and Burdette climbed to No. 9 in the doubles rankings after having won four straight and posting a 15-9 overall mark.
This weekend's opening round schedule for the Pac-10 Championships is as follows: