What You Need To Know:<BR>NCAA First Round- No. 13 Stanford vs. Wichita State
May 5, 2009
WHAT'S UP NEXT...
No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (17-4, 6-2 Pac-10)
- vs. -
Wichita State Shockers (21-5, 8-0 Missouri Valley)
WHERE WE STAND...
No. 13 Stanford (17-4, 6-2 Pac-10) will be making its 28th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance when first round competition gets underway at campus sites this weekend. The Cardinal has been tabbed the No. 13 overall seed in this year's draw, so that means Taube Family Tennis Stadium will serve as one of 16 host sites for first and second round action. The final 16 teams square off at the NCAA Championships, hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, beginning Friday, May 15.
HOW STANFORD GOT HERE...
For the first time since 1987, the Pac-10 championship trophy does not include the word 'Stanford'. That's because the Cardinal finished 2009 third in league play with a 6-2 mark, snapping an incredible streak of 21 consecutive conference titles. Instead, Stanford enters the postseason as an at-large entrant out of perhaps the most competitive conference in the nation. Despite taking a different path to the postseason, it would be foolish to overlook Stanford. The Cardinal has won 12 of its last 14 matches, been ranked among the nation's top-15 the entire year and not lost a home match in 10 years (149 in a row)- the longest such winning streak of any sport in Division I athletics.
HOW WICHITA STATE GOT HERE...
Wichita State (21-5, 8-0 Missouri Valley) qualified for the field of 64 after securing its 10th Missouri Valley Conference title and third championship in the last four years. The Shockers enter the postseason having won 10 of their last 12 matches. Despite their gaudy record, the Shockers are unranked and have faced only six nationally-ranked opponents this year. Wichita State's best victory of the year was a 4-0 shutout of No. 66 Oklahoma State back on Feb. 28 in a match that was shortened to due to time constraints. Wichita State is 1-2 all-time at the NCAA Championships, with its only win coming against South Carolina in 2007.
IN SINGLES, YOU'LL NEED TO FOLLOW...
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 this year as well. A perfect example comes in the form of sophomore Carolyn McVeigh, who has shuffled between the Nos. 4 and 5 positions this year. Capable of playing anywhere in the lineup from 3-6, McVeigh (25-9 overall, 18-4 duals) has been a constant contributor on the back courts playing mainly at the No. 4 spot. In fact, only Hilary Barte (31-5 overall, 20-1 duals) has been better statistically for the Card. McVeigh's recent hot stretch has been noticed, entering this week with a No. 104 national ranking.
DOUBLES FAN? HERE'S YOUR MATCHUP...
Well-aware she would be stacked at the top two doubles spots, head coach Lele Forood also knew she would have to push the right buttons at the No. 3 position. Mission accomplished. The all-freshman team of Logan Hansen and Veronica Li emerged with an 8-4 victory in their match against California back on Mar. 7, and the duo has held down the No. 3 spot ever since. Hansen and Li have crafted a 9-2 mark at the No. 3 spot of the lineup, winning six in a row. Undefeated at home this year (8-0), Hansen and Li have also displayed the ability to pull out tight matches. The No. 3 spot for Wichita State has been a revolving door, with four different combinations in the last five matches.
WHY THE CARDINAL SHOULD ADVANCE...
Stanford has faced a much tougher level of competition, battling through the rugged Pac-10 while navigating through a regular season schedule that featured only two unranked teams. Wichita State has played only six nationally-ranked teams, going 1-5. Having won five of the last eight national championships, Stanford might even feel like it has something to prove after being ranked outside of the top-10 for 11 straight weeks. That would make the Cardinal a dangerous threat. Did we mention Stanford has not lost a match on its home court since Bill Clinton was President? The Cardinal has won 149 contests in a row at home (121 regular season + 28 NCAA Tournament), with the last loss coming back on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset. You can put a Stanford women's tennis home victory right there with death and taxes.
WHY THIS ONE WILL BE TOUGH...
For the Shockers to pull a shocker, the doubles point would be a good start: Wichita State is 21-0 when taking a 1-0 lead. Because of Stanford's uncharacteristically low ranking and the NCAA Championship 'drought', teams are starting to believe if they catch a few breaks, they can hang in a match with the Cardinal. Whether that's true or not, Shocker coach Chris Young will be reminding his squad there is more to this trip than sunny weather and Bay Area sightseeing. Wichita State's recent wins have been decisive- the Shockers have not allowed more than one point to an opponent in a victory since topping New Mexico 5-2 on Mar. 14.
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