May 12, 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 visit with Stanford senior Hilary Barte and four-time All-American and 2010 graduate Lindsay Burdette, as both players reflect on their incredible run to claiming last year NCAA Doubles Championship.
| "My Stanford tennis experience is something that I am grateful for and will not soon forget! There is so much happiness and joy with winning an NCAA title, but when you do it at home and during your senior year, the excitement of the experience is really hard to describe in words. It was an exhausting 10 days, but probably one of the most exciting stretches of my career. Not only did I win a team title, but I was able to capture the doubles title and reach the singles semifinals, making the 2002 NCAA Tournament extra special. I could not have asked for a better, more satisfying end to my senior year and collegiate career at Stanford."
Two-time All-American Gabriela Lastra-Yetten, who closed out her Stanford career (1999-2002) by winning the NCAA team and doubles championships as a senior.
| Friday, May 13: The Stanford men open the postseason against Army in a first round match at 2 p.m. We'll get you a complete recap of the day's events.
Saturday, May 14: Three matches on the docket. Two women's matches are scheduled, including Stanford's tourney opener against Illinois-Chicago at 12 p.m.
Sunday, May 15: Saturday's winners from the women's first round will meet at 12 p.m. in the second round on Sunday. Will Stanford advance?
STANFORD, Calif.- Six days after playing key roles in Stanford's NCAA team championship win over Florida, Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette brought home Stanford's first NCAA Doubles championship since 2005.
Collecting the 13th collegiate doubles title in school history, Barte and Burdette outlasted Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota and Caitlin Whoriskey 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 to capture the hardware.
Barte and Burdette were appearing in the national doubles final for the second straight season, having earned a runner-up finish in 2009.
Ranked as the No. 2 team in the country at the time and the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA field, Barte and Burdette offered some match-by-match thoughts on last year's championship run in Athens, Ga.
FIRST ROUND (May 27): Barte/Burdette d. No. 23 Irina Falconi/Sasha Krupina (Georgia Tech) 6-4, 6-2
Barte: Starting the individual tourney was a little tougher. We had just finished the team portion and were on such a supreme high because of that. So now it was like, "oh, another mountain to climb" ... Once we got out there, we continued to gel ... In the first set, I think we were down 4-2 and not really playing that well. But all of a sudden, we just hit our stride, especially in the second set ... I do remember the first set being really close. That's a set we could have easily lost.
Burdette: I was fearful of the hangover effect. I was worried about being so emotionally spent at this point, wondering if it would be tough to get up for this individual doubles tournament? And it wasn't. I feel like when you've put in all the work, going out there and playing is the fun part ... There was this soccer mom who cheered for them after every single point. If we called a ball out that was like six inches from the line, she would have something to say about it ... They jumped out to an early lead and were intimidating at first. But coming back and winning that first set was big for us because it proved this was just like any other match. We settled into our game and started cruising.
ROUND OF 16 (May 28): Barte/Burdette d. No. 17 Alexa Guarachi/Courtney McLane (Alabama) 6-3, 6-2
Barte: I remember that being a pretty smooth match ... We were on court six for this match, which is the court closest to the building ... Playing on back-to-back days now was not an issue. I actually think by playing every day during the team portion, we were in a nice rhythm and it carried over to the individuals.
Burdette: Those guys were super crafty. They kept lobbing us and we were constantly having to adjust ... I had played with Alexa since I was 12 years old. Courtney is also from the South, so we were sort of playing a team from the South in their territory ... I honestly think that was one of our closest matches until the final. We probably had to play better in this match than any other, even though the score maybe did not indicate it.
QUARTERFINALS (May 29): Barte/Burdette d. No. 11 Csilla Borsanyi/Lenka Broosova (Baylor) 6-4, 6-4
Barte: Ok, that one was a rematch of the team quarterfinals (exactly one week earlier, Barte and Burdette defeated Borsanyi and Broosova 9-8 during Stanford's 4-2 upset of No. 1 Baylor). In that match, we won in a breaker to clinch the doubles point. So it came down to our doubles match, which was awesome ... After facing these guys in the team competition, I actually remember Lindsay saying to me: "Hilary, I really had a bad feeling today. I thought we were going to lose." And then I was like "what?!?!"
Burdette: They are a super intimidating doubles team, always poaching at the net. They cross all the time and have big, flat, deep groundstrokes. They are always mixing up their formations ... Beating them in the team match one week before was incredible. And it's tough to beat someone back-to-back in a short turnaround ... But the individual tournament is two out of three sets. So it was like, "if we play the right way, we'll get what we deserve and if they beat us, then they were better than us and must have played really well."
SEMIFINALS (May 30): Barte/Burdette d. No. 4 Andrea Remynse/Yasmin Schnack (UCLA) 6-0, 6-1
Barte: It's funny because we actually lost to them in the Pac-10 final basically one month before by almost the exact same score: 6-1, 6-0 ... Yasmin is really long, so when she's at the net, she's pretty dangerous and can get her racket on a lot of balls. Andrea hits a good backhand down the line and has a good serve. When Andrea is serving, its pretty hard to break them, because she's got a good serve and Yasmin is just cleaning up at the net ... Personally, I was really fired up for this match ... There was a lot of tension out there ... We literally took the wind out of their sails, going up 6-0 in that first set. It was like nothing could go wrong.
Burdette: I think when we played them at Pac-10 Championships, Hilary and I were both a little frazzled after our singles losses there and we were missing some routine shots ... But here at NCAA's, we were still gaining momentum together ... UCLA always has a very strong cheering crowd at NCAA's, because usually a bunch of their players end up competing in the individuals as well. So they have a good support group and this match was no different ... We just shut them down. They played all-out, but we were just playing our game and more importantly, just executing ... The points were short and we were really aggressive. They are a good team and to beat them like that, we really just played well.
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH (May 31): Barte/Burdette d. No. 1 Natalie Pluskota/Caitlin Whoriskey (Tennessee) 7-5, 4-6, 6-0
Barte: We had played them earlier in the year in the final of the National Indoor Championships (Barte and Burdette defeated Pluskota and Whoriskey in three sets back on Nov. 8). I think we saved a match point there and beat them in a breaker. Plus, the year before we beat them in a third-set breaker at NCAA's in College Station. So they're definitely one of our most challenging opponents ... I think Pluskota's boyfriend was out there and they had a good crew going, just heckling us the whole time ... They serve and volley, which is pretty rare in women's doubles. Both of them have good overheads. They match up well with us because we play similar game styles ... The first set was back and forth and both teams had their chances, but we pulled it out ... In the second set, I honestly thought they may just go away. But they came back even stronger. Whoriskey was playing real well. It was her senior year and she was playing like she had nothing to lose, really getting after it ... I remember in between the second and third sets, Lindsay and I had not been communicating much during the second set. We just looked at each other and started talking it out. We both took a deep breath, and I literally don't think I've ever played a better set of doubles than in that third set.
Burdette: Hilary and I were down 4-1 or 5-1 when we played them at Indoors and came back to win, but we also lost to them at All-Americans (Pluskota and Whoriskey defeated Barte and Burdette 8-4 in the second round of the ITA All-American Championships back on Oct. 9) ... They are an awesome team. They play doubles straight up. Very aggressive, just constantly ripping groundstrokes. And they play our style, which is tough because we usually don't play girls who are rushing the net, serving and volleying on every point ... I was physically exhausted at that point. I was completely soaked. My shoes were squishing sweat, I had gone through multiple sweatbands, changed shirts, changed hats and my grips were soaked ... Hilary and I really had to switch gears. I think one of the things we focused on before the match was this: if they were going to hit volley winners all over the place, then we want to make them do that for two out of three sets. But we were not going to give into the pressure of their positioning ... They come with a great cheering crowd. We had seen them all week in the matches leading up to the final. Pluskota's boyfriend would lead these cheers, and they were actually pretty funny and cute. They got under our skin in the second set but in the third set, we just communicated really well ... I think they are a team that plays better from behind, and now here we were in the third and final set ... I've never worked harder in a doubles set my entire life.
by Brian Risso, Athletics Communications/Media Relations.