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Queens of the Court

Apr 23, 2022

OJAI, Calif. - For the fourth time in five opportunities, Stanford claimed the Pac-12 Tournament title, as the No. 3 seed Cardinal defeated the No. 5 seed Arizona State 4-2 on Saturday afternoon. The win pushes Stanford to 17-5 overall on the year and punches an automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Avenging a 4-2 loss to the Sun Devils just three weeks ago in Tempe, the Cardinal was able to flip the script in Ojai, starting with the doubles point. Stanford had to fight back from the brink of defeat, losing the third court and down 5-1 on court two. Angelica Blake and Connie Ma held steady at the top line, surging ahead early and holding off ASU late for a 6-4 win, the duo's fourth ranked victory of the season. 

Sara Choy and Alexandra Yepifanova fought off four match points on their court, one at 5-2 and three more at 5-3, continuing to apply pressure to the Sun Devils to claw back into the match. Eventually tying the match 5-5, the pair had to rally again, forcing a tiebreak after being down 6-5. There, Choy and Yepifanova wouldn't fall behind, holding off ASU for a 7-4 win and giving the Cardinal an improbable first point.

Heading into singles, Yepifanova and Angelica Blake set the early tone for the Cardinal, each jumping out to big leads in the first set. For Blake, it didn't take long to avenge an earlier loss to Sedona Gallagher, as the junior cruised to a double bagle victory on court three for a 2-0 Stanford lead. Yepifanova saw herself ahead 5-1 on court two, but ASU rallied, eventually forcing a tiebreak that Stanford would lose, 8-6.

The Sun Devils seemed primed to make a run, also winning first sets on courts four, five and six, with freshman Connie Ma giving the Cardinal a first set victory on court one. Court four was the next to finish, as India Houghton dropped a tough match, cutting Stanford's lead to 2-1. At the same time Ma was rallying from an early break in the second set, Valencia Xu and Yepifanova were rallying to force third sets on their respective courts, and Choy was battling on court six.

Ma won the final three games of her match, earning revenge of an earlier loss to Giulia Morlet, 6-3, 6-4, meaning the Cardinal was one win away. ASU would not go quietly however, as Choy eventually fell on court six. Xu and Yepifanova were both in good spots in their third sets, but Yepifanova found the finish line first, posting scores of 6-2 and 6-2 to clinch the match for the Cardinal.

Stanford is now 13-1 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament since the conference began a team tournament in 2017. Yepifanova has now won nine matches in a row for Stanford and leads the way with 32 victories overall this season. Blake and Ma aren't far behind, each boasting 26 total victories since the fall, as Blake will enter the NCAA Tournament on a six match win streak and Ma put an end to a four-match losing streak, earning her ninth ranked victory this season.

The Cardinal will learn its postseason draw at the NCAA Selection Show on May 2 at 3:30 p.m.
No. 18 Stanford 4, No. 20 Arizona State 2

1. #13 Angelica Blake/Connie Ma (STAN) d. #21 Patricija Spaka/Domenika Turkovic (ASU) 6-4
2. Sara Choy/Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) d. Sedona Gallagher/Giulia Morlet (ASU) 7-6(4)
3. Marianna Argyrokastriti/Cali Jankowski (ASU) d. India Houghton/Valencia Xu (STAN) 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #23 Connie Ma (STAN) d. #110 Giulia Morlet (ASU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #21 Alexandra Yepifanova (STAN) d. Domenika Turkovic (ASU) 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2
3. Angelica Blake (STAN) d. Sedona Gallagher (ASU) 6-0, 6-0
4. Cali Jankowski (ASU) d. India Houghton (STAN) 6-3, 6-2
5. #109 Valencia Xu (STAN) led Patricija Spaka (ASU) 4-6, 6-0, 3-1 DNF
6. Marianna Argyrokastriti (ASU) d. Sara Choy (STAN) 6-4, 7-5
Order of Finish: 3, 4, 1, 6, 2