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2021-22 Season in Review

Jun 24, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. - Able to train and compete for the full academic calendar for the first time since prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Stanford women's tennis team produced a solid 2021-22 season, with several notable accomplishments picked up along the way.

The Cardinal finished the year 19-6, going 7-2 in Pac-12 play. Stanford was the No. 3 seed at the Pac-12 Tournament in Ojai, Calif. and won three matches in three days to claim the tournament title. Earning the No. 15 seed nationally for the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal swept through the first two rounds at home before falling in the Super Regionals at No. 2 Oklahoma. Freshman Connie Ma was a highlight throughout the year, ending her rookie campaign with a run to the championship match of the NCAA Singles Tournament in May.

THE NATION'S BEST FRESHMAN
Connie Ma certainly lived up to the hype, having spent time as the nation's No. 1 recruit in high school by TennisRecruiting.com. The rookie spent the entire season playing No. 1 in both singles and doubles for the Cardinal and made an early splash, winning the ITA Northwest Regionals in both singles and doubles in the fall. At the ITA National Fall Championships she advanced to the quarterfinals in singles play.

In dual matches, Ma finished the season 15-5 overall in singles, the most wins at the top spot since Carol Zhao in 2015 and most by a freshman at No. 1 since Hilary Barte in 2008. She owned a team-high 15 victories against ranked opponents and was 10-4 against Pac-12 opponents. Overall, she was 32-9 on the year in singles.

Ma solidified her spot as not only an All-American in singles but the ITA National Rookie of the Year following a magical run to the championship match of the NCAA Singles Tournament. She became just the 14th unseeded player since event started in 1982 to advance to the championship match and was the fifth freshman in Stanford history to advance to the championship match and first since Amber Liu in 2003. She finished the year ranked No. 12 nationally.

OWNED OJAI (AGAIN)
Stanford won its fourth Pac-12 Tournament title out of five years of the event, posting wins over No. 37 Oregon, No. 16 UCLA and No. 20 Arizona State to claim the title. Freshman Alexandra Yepifanova clinched the championship at the No. 2 spot in singles.

Stanford is now 13-1 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament since the conference began a team tournament in 2017.

The victory for the Cardinal solidified its spot as a national seed and host in the NCAA Tournament.

500 FOR FOROOD
The Peter and Helen Bing Director of Women's Tennis Lele Forood picked up her 500th career victory as head coach of the Cardinal after a 7-0 win over Utah in March. 

Forood is now 510-57 in 22 seasons (2001-present), having led the Cardinal to 10 NCAA titles and a three-year undefeated stretch from 2004-06. In addition to directing Stanford to 15 conference titles and four conference tournament titles, Forood has coached 26 All-Americans, five NCAA singles champions and five NCAA doubles champions.
 

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PAC-12 HONORS
The Cardinal was well represented in postseason honors from the Pac-12, featuring Rookie of the Year for Connie Ma, Doubles Team of the Year for Ma and Angelica Blake, first-team honors for Ma, second-team honors for Alexandra Yepifanova and honorable mention status for Blake.

Ma is Stanford's sixth Pac-12 Freshman of the Year all-time and first since Michaela Gordon in 2018. The duo of Blake and Ma is Stanford's eighth Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year all-time and first since Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon in 2018.

SARA'S STELLAR SENIOR YEAR
Holding it down at the No. 6 spot in singles all season long, Sara Choy boasted her best season with the Cardinal as a senior, finishing the year 23-7 overall in singles and 12-8 in doubles. Her 21-4 mark in dual matches was the best record on the team, and she also won all three of her NCAA Tournament singles matches in straight sets, the only player to do so for Stanford.

Choy was named the ITA Northwest Region winner for the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award, as Forood labled Choy as the best team leader she's had in at least the last 10 years.

TOUGH AT TAUBE
Once again, Stanford was tough to beat at home, going 12-1 inside the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, avenging its only loss on The Farm to UC Santa Barbara in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford has won 90 of its last 96 matches at home.

PREMIER VICTORY
Stanford's best win of the year undoubtedly came at home in late February, upending No. 5 Texas (while the Cardinal was shockingly ranked No. 64 nationally), the defending national champion. The Longhorns would go on to win the 2022 national championship, but Stanford claimed a 5-2 victory at Taube earlier in the year.

The Cardinal dropped the doubles point but claimed five of the six singles courts, including a victory at No. 1 from Connie Ma over eventual NCAA Singles champion Peyton Stearns, one of only two people to defeat Stearns all season long.

THIS AND THAT

  • Alexandra Yepifanova's overall record of 34-8 in singles are the most wins by a Stanford rookie since Krista Hardebeck in 2013.
  • The Cardinal featured three players with at least 20 dual match victories (Choy, Blake, Yepifanova) for the first time since 2019 (Emily Arbuthnott, Caroline Lampl, Melissa Lord).
  • Yepifanova is the first Stanford freshman with at least 20 dual match victories (20-4) since Emma Higuchi and Emily Arbuthnott both had 22 in 2017.
  • Yepifanova's 20 victories at the No. 2 spot in singles are the most by a Stanford player in either of the top-two seed lines since Carol Zhao in 2015.
    • They are the most for a freshman at either of the top-two seed lines since Laura Granville in 2000.
  • The Cardinal featured two freshmen with over 30 wins in singles on the season for the first time since Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn in 2011.
  • Valencia Xu was a stalwart for Stanford at No. 5, going 15-2 at the position and finishing the year 26-3 overall in singles play.
  • Ma's run in the NCAA Singles Tournament was the deepest for a Stanford player since Carol Zhao in 2015, who also finished as runner-up.
  • Yepifanova was also selected to the NCAA Singles championship, along with Ma, advancing to the second round. She finished the season ranked 22nd nationally, just shy of All-America status.
  • Ma and Blake teamed up in the NCAA Doubles Tournament, falling in the first round. They finished the season ranked No. 27.

HONOR ROLL

  • Connie Ma »
    • ITA National Rookie of the Year
    • ITA All-American - Singles
    • ITA Northwest Region Rookie of the Year
    • Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
    • Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, pairing with Angelica Blake
    • All-Pac-12 First Team
    • Two-time Pac-12 Player of the Week (Feb. 2; March 24)
  • Angelica Blake »
    • Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, pairing with Connie Ma
    • All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention
    • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • Sara Choy »
    • ITA Northwest Region Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete
    • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • Alexandra Yepifanova »
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete
    • All-Pac-12 Second Team
  • Ana Geller »
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete
    • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • India Houghton »
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete
    • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • Nicole Mossmer »
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete
    • Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll
  • Valencia Xu »
    • ITA Scholar-Athlete