Stanford Claims Outright Pac-10 Title After Doubles Point Sweep
April 21, 2010
OJAI, Calif.- Despite experiencing two days of inclement weather and a venue shift away from its own home court, Stanford managed to claim its first Pac-10 championship since a 21-year title run came to an end last year.
And this time, it's outright.
After waiting 17 days to complete a dual match, Stanford needed less than an hour while surrendering only seven games combined in the process to convincingly sweep a doubles point and post a long-awaited 4-3 victory over USC on an overcast Wednesday morning in Ojai, Calif.
Stanford (20-1, 8-0 Pac-10) completes an undefeated conference season and should receive a favorable seed in next month's NCAA Tournament, having won 13 straight matches since suffering its only loss of the year back on Feb. 26, a 6-1 defeat to then-No. 4 UCLA in Los Angeles.
After storming through the league as last year's Pac-10 champion, USC (13-9, 5-3 Pac-10) is a likely postseason candidate but wasn't even in the running for this year's conference title.
Wednesday's doubles point only needed to be played because Stanford's match against USC back on Apr. 4 was suspended by rain after each team had won three singles matches to force a 3-3 score. The match was originally scheduled for Apr. 2, but was postponed two days later because of rain.
So there was still an opportunity for UCLA (19-3, 6-1 Pac-10) to tie Stanford with a 7-1 conference record and snag a share of the Pac-10 title. Had Stanford lost the doubles point, UCLA and California would have squared off in a full dual match two hours later because their Apr. 2 match in Berkeley was also cancelled by stormy weather in the Bay Area. A win by the Bruins would then make them Pac-10 co-champions with the Cardinal, but Stanford would have received the Pac-10's automatic bid to the postseason thanks to its 5-2 victory over UCLA back on Apr. 3.
Conference officials decided the Stanford-USC doubles point would be played out this morning in Ojai, Calif., site of this weekend's Pac-10 Championships.
Playing one extra match but also receiving one less day of rest before the individual tournament kicked off didn't seem to affect Stanford. The No. 3 team of Veronica Li and Carolyn McVeigh won its 13th straight match, pounding USC's Sarah Fansler and Lyndsay Kinstler 8-2. Stanford's top team and nation's second-ranked duo of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette followed with an 8-2 victory. And the Cardinal's No. 2 team of Mallory Burdette and Stacey Tan coasted to an 8-3 triumph.
In addition to capturing the Pac-10 title, Stanford managed to keep its NCAA-record home winning streak in tact despite being placed in the unique position of having to do so at a neutral site ironically located closer to its opponent. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), along with the NCAA, ruled the Stanford-USC match would count as a home match for Stanford, since the original singles competition was played at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Apr. 4 with each team collecting three points apiece to force a 3-3 tie.
So after winning the doubles point on Wednesday, Stanford has now won 162 consecutive matches at home. The eye-popping streak spans 11 years since No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset back on Feb. 27, 1999.
The ITA also determined that team and individual rankings would be used from the Apr. 4 match, and not the latest edition of the national rankings.
As for the singles portion of the match that was played Apr. 4, USC claimed victories at the top three spots of the lineup while Stanford notched wins at the three back courts.
The Cardinal put two singles wins in the books early on, with Li and Mallory Burdette collecting wins at the Nos. 6 and 4 spots, respectively. But USC tied the match at 2-2, receiving wins from Alison Ramos on court two and Danielle Lao in a three-setter at the No. 3 position.
McVeigh's 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory at the No. 5 spot put Stanford back in control at 3-2, and the Cardinal needed just one more point to secure the match.
In a battle of two of the country's top-four players, Barte and USC's Maria Sanchez had split sets at the No. 1 spot before rain began to fall again during their third set. The contest was moved indoors, with Sanchez prevailing in a tiebreaker 8-6 to claim the win and even the overall match score at 3-3.
Stanford and USC were also scheduled to play in Los Angeles back on Feb. 27. However, that match was cancelled due to (of course) rain.
No. 12 Stanford 4, No. 18 USC 3
1) No. 2 Maria Sanchez (USC) d. No. 8 Hilary Barte (STAN) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6)
2) No. 26 Alison Ramos (USC) d. No. 61 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) 6-3, 6-3
3) No. 30 Danielle Lao (USC) d. No. 69 Stacey Tan (STAN) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
4) No. 36 Mallory Burdette (STAN) d. No. 103 Valeria Pulido (USC) 6-1, 6-3
5) No. 109 Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) d. Sarah Fansler (USC) 2-6, 6-1, 7-5
6) Veronica Li (STAN) vs. Lyndsay Kinstler (USC) 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2, 3, 5, 1
1) No. 2 Barte/L. Burdette (STAN) d. No. 46 Lao/Sanchez (USC) 8-2
2) No. 26 M. Burdette/Tan (STAN) d. Pulido/Ramos (USC) 8-3
3) McVeigh/Li (STAN) d. Fansler/Kinstler (USC) 8-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2