May 9, 2011
| Stay tuned to www.gostanford.com's Countdown To The Championships for daily coverage of the 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships in the form of feature stories, historical profiles, match previews, recaps and other tournament news. One of the nation's finest tennis venues, the Taube Family Tennis Center is playing host to its second combined men's and women's NCAA Tennis Championships, as the tournament's current format was introduced at Stanford in 2006.
In today's edition of Countdown To The Championships, we preview Stanford's first and second round matchups on both the men's and women's side as the postseason get underway this weekend.
| "Watching Lindsay and Mallory rise to the challenge in the 2010 NCAA final and help bring Stanford home a title was more exhilarating and gut-wrenching than my own experiences on the same courts."
Four-time All-American Erin Burdette and older sister of Lindsay and Mallory. Erin won three national championships during her career (2002-05) on The Farm.
| Tuesday, May 10: You can put two points on the board every time freshmen Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs take the court. The rookie duo has been automatic.
Wednesday, May 11: One year after capturing the NCAA Doubles championship, Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette break down their title run, match-by-match.
Thursday, May 12: The most successful program in the history of men's college tennis, Stanford has captured 18 team championships (15 NCAA, 3 AIAW). Time for a closer look.
STANFORD, Calif.- Both Stanford tennis teams have the luxury of home court advantage as long as they remain alive in the postseason, beginning this weekend with NCAA Championships first and second action.
Already scheduled to host the final 16 men's and women's teams during the NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships, Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium will also play host to the first and second rounds for both Cardinal squads from May 13-15. All first and second round matches are played at campus sites.
Ticket prices for three-day all-session tickets (May 13-15) are as follows: $20 (reserved), $15 (adult/general admission) and $10 (student/child/senior general admission). Single-day tickets are priced as follows: $8 (reserved), $6 (adult/general admission) and $4 (student/child/senior general admission). Students must show a valid school ID. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting www.gostanford.com.
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Friday, May 13 (First Round): Cal Poly vs. Washington - 11 a.m.
Friday, May 13 (First Round): Army vs. Stanford - 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 14 (Second Round): Cal Poly/Washington vs. Army/Stanford - 3 p.m.
Making its 33rd all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, Stanford (18-5, 5-1 Pac-10) enters the postseason playing its best tennis of the year.
Stanford is riding a 10-match winning streak, its longest since compiling a similar stretch back in 2003. Then again, the Cardinal has made a habit in recent seasons of peaking at the right time. Stanford entered NCAA Tournament play on a seven-match winning streak last year and won five consecutive contests before the start of postseason play in 2009.
Despite being ranked No. 7 in the latest edition of the national ITA rankings, the Cardinal has been tabbed as the No. 8 overall seed in the postseason draw. It's familiar territory for Stanford, which has been seeded either eighth or ninth in each of the last two seasons.
Stanford's tourney opener is set for 2 p.m. on Friday against Army (13-11, 6-0 Patriot League). The Black Knights, which earned the Patriot League's automatic berth after winning the conference tournament, are making their fifth trip to NCAA Tournament and first since 2006. Army is winless in four postseason matches.
The winner of Stanford/Army faces whoever emerges from the other first round battle between No. 45 Cal Poly and No. 25 Washington, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday. Washington (17-8, 3-3 Pac-10) figures to have the early edge, having already pocketed a 6-1 win over Cal Poly (14-6, 4-1 Big West) back on Jan. 29 in Seattle. However, that match was held indoors and the Mustangs actually claimed the doubles point. Cal Poly, with a rich history at the Division II level, is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
A potential conference showdown looms in the second round, where Stanford and Washington would be meeting for the second time this year with a berth in the round of 16 on the line. The Cardinal won 4-3 in Seattle back on Apr. 8.
THE VERDICT: Following a five-year absence from the postseason, all 13 players on the Army roster will be making their NCAA Tournament debut. That doesn't bode well against a Stanford club that is simply far more experienced and has tested itself against some of the best teams in the country this year. After missing the postseason completely in 2007, Stanford is aiming to continue its winning progression over the last three seasons (return to NCAA Tournament in 2008, round of 16 showings in 2009 and 2010, etc.). The first step in this year's journey should be a quick and painless one.
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Saturday, May 14 (First Round): Long Beach State vs. Pepperdine - 9 a.m.
Saturday, May 14 (First Round): Illinois-Chicago vs. Stanford - 12 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 (Second Round): Long Beach State/Pepperdine vs. Illinois-Chicago/Stanford - 12 p.m.
Making its 30th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Stanford (23-0, 8-0 Pac-10) begins defense of its NCAA title when first round play begins on Saturday.
It's been another dominating season for Stanford. The Cardinal is the only unbeaten team in Division I and has won 42 consecutive contests overall dating back to its last loss, a 6-1 setback at UCLA on Feb. 26, 2010.
Of course, that's not the only lengthy streak Stanford has active at the moment. Playing on its home court for potentially six postseason matches should provide a decisive advantage. After defeating Saint Mary's 6-1 on Apr. 14, Stanford extended its NCAA-record home winning streak to 179 matches (147 regular season, 32-0 NCAA Tournament). Stanford's last home loss occurred on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset.
Stanford has been awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason despite being ranked No. 2 in the latest edition of the national ITA rankings behind Florida. A curious spot considering the Cardinal defeated the Gators 4-2 to claim the National Team Indoor Championships crown back on Feb. 21.
Stanford's tourney lid-lifter is slated for 12 p.m. on Saturday against Illinois-Chicago (18-4, 8-0 Horizon League). The Flames are making their 13th consecutive NCAA appearance and won their 15th straight Horizon League Championship two weeks ago, defeating Cleveland State 4-1.
Saturday's other first round matchup pits No. 36 Long Beach State (20-5, 10-1 Big West) and No. 27 Pepperdine (14-7, 6-0 WCC). This one has all the makings of a grueling, hard-fought battle. Both clubs won their conference tournaments and know each other well. Pepperdine claimed a 4-3 victory back on Mar. 18 in the regular season meeting despite Long Beach State taking the doubles point.
Stanford has not faced Long Beach State this year but blanked Pepperdine 7-0 in Malibu on Mar. 23.
THE VERDICT: Just like Stanford carries two impressive streaks into the postseason, so does Illinois-Chicago. The Flames have won 133 consecutive matches in a row versus conference foes, and head coach Shannon Tully is 100-0 against Horizon League opponents since taking over the program. Otherwise, the similarities stop there. Playing on the road against the greatest program in NCAA women's tennis history, Tully must somehow convince her troops there is more to this trip than sunny weather and Bay Area sightseeing.
by Brian Risso, Athletics Communications/Media Relations. Special thanks to Zach Sanderson.