What You Need To Know:<BR>NCAA Quarterfinals- No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 5 Baylor

May 16, 2008

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NCAA Championships Tournament Central

No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (22-4, 7-1 Pac-10)
- vs. -
No. 5 Baylor Lady Bears (31-2, 11-0 Big 12)

  • NCAA Women's Tennis Championships - Quarterfinals
  • Saturday, May 17, 2008 - 9 a.m. PT
  • Michael D. Case Tennis Center - Tulsa, OK

    Eight teams are remaining on the women's side, with quarterfinal round action scheduled for Saturday. The seeds have held so far, with only No. 2 Georgia being upset 4-2 in the opening round by a pesky Arkansas club. Once again, Stanford gets the early match on Saturday morning and will oppose Baylor. It's a rematch, as the Cardinal took down the Lady Bears 4-2 back on Feb. 7 in the opening round of the ITA National Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis. Saturday's forecast calls for sunshine a temperature of 86 degrees as the weather begins to heat up in Tulsa.

    So far, with minimal effort. With Thursday's 4-0 shutout victory over No. 13 Clemson in the round of 16, Stanford has now reached the quarterfinal round for the 10th straight season. The Cardinal blanked unranked Boston University 4-0 in the opening round before defeating No. 31 Texas A&M 4-1 in the second round. Stanford, which has won 25 of its last 26 postseason matches, is playing its best tennis of the season having won 10 in a row and 16 of its last 17 contests since the calendar flipped to March. Stanford reached the postseason by the same method it has over the last 21 seasons- claiming the Pac-10's automatic bid after winning the regular season title. This year, however, the Cardinal had to share the hardware with UCLA.

    No. 5 Baylor (31-2, 11-0 Big 12) is enjoying its winningest season in school history. In addition to the 4-2 loss against Stanford back in February, the Lady Bears have dropped just one other match this year (a 5-2 loss to No. 1 Northwestern at home on Mar. 26). Baylor enters Saturday's match riding a 14-match winning streak and has not allowed an opponent to tally more than two points in any of those contests. After winning its third straight Big 12 Tournament title, Baylor blanked Oral Roberts 5-0 in the NCAA first round, topped Tulsa 4-1 in the second round and defeated No. 12 Miami 4-1 in Thursday's round of 16. Head coach Joey Scrivano is in his sixth year.

    The ability to pick up wins at the bottom of the lineup often separates the good teams from the great teams. Stanford has traditionally succeeded in this area and that's been the story lately as well. Consider freshman Carolyn McVeigh (28-10 overall, 19-6 duals) at the No. 6 position, who is the only Cardinal player to finish and win all three NCAA Tournament matches so far. Not bad, considering McVeigh entered the postseason having dropped four of her previous seven matches entering the NCAA Tournament. On Saturday, she'll battle Baylor's Karolina Filipiak in the No. 6 spot and the two can finish what they started back in February when their match was suspended at 6-3, 3-6 as the Cardinal clinched the match at No. 2.

    Should be a good contest right at the top when Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette (ranked No. 9 nationally) battle Baylor's duo of Lenka Broosova and Zuzana Zemenova (ranked No. 6 nationally) at the No. 1 spot. Barte and Burdette are 17-10 overall this year while Broosova and Zemenova sport a 35-8 overall mark. Back in February, it was Broosova/Zemenova topping Barte/Burdette in a 9-8 (5) heartbreaker. Barte/Burdette got off to a slow start in Thursday's match against Clemson, something they won't have the luxury of doing against a Lady Bear doubles team that has won nine in a row.

    When Stanford faced Baylor back in February, it was only the Cardinal's second match of the year. Stanford's singles lineup on that day could best be described as 'experimental', with several key players plugged into different positions. Most notably, Lindsay Burdette was playing No. 1 against Baylor's Zuzana Zemenova and she should be in much better shape at the No. 4 spot tomorrow against Jana Bielikova. Shuffled lineup and all, Stanford still managed to come away with a 4-2 victory. Celia Durkin and Whitney Deason will be big factors this time around as well. The only seniors in Stanford's lineup, Durkin and Deason posted convincing 6-4, 6-2 and 6-2, 6-3 victories, respectively, against Baylor the first time around at the Nos. 4 and 5 spots. Durkin and Deason know their stellar careers are winding down, and they could boost the Cardinal's chances tremendously if they are focused on Saturday.

    Only the spell checker has routinely been able to stop Zuzana Zemenova, the only senior on a talented but very inexperienced Baylor squad (everyone else is either a sophomore or freshman). So the experience edge will be decidedly in Stanford's favor. That being said, Zemenova is a terrific player and her resume speaks for itself: 2005 NCAA singles champion, three-time All-American and four-time Big 12 Player of the Year (the first athlete in Big 12 history to win Player of the Year four times in any sport). However, Zemenova might not even be the Lady Bears' best player this year. Lenka Broosova, the club's No. 3 player, owns a gaudy 47-4 overall record, has lost just one dual match and has won 17 in a row overall. Two busses transporting a large contingent of Baylor fans made the drive up from Waco on Thursday, and the same should be expected on Saturday.

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