89 IN A ROW: A LOOK BACK
In the semifinals of the National Indoor Team Championships in Madison, Wis., No. 6 Georgia Tech edged No. 1 Stanford 4-3 to hand the Cardinal its first loss since a 4-3 defeat in the NCAA championship match against Florida on May 18, 2003.
Otherwise, the 89-match winning streak produced three NCAA titles, three Pac-10 Championships, seven All-Americans and tons of other memorable moments. Head coach Lele Forood upped her dual match record to 171-3, achieving conference and national accolades along the way.
Here are just a few astounding numbers from the streak:
Overall victories: 89
7-0 match victories: 27
6-1 match victories: 18
5-2 match victories: 9
4-3 match victories: 2
other match scores: 30
includes postseason matches, rain-shortened matches, etc.
Wins vs. top-25 teams: 47
Home wins: 44
One of the most impressive streaks in NCAA history, we take a closer look at some key matches (ITA rankings at time of match in parantheses):
The start of the streak. Having dropped a 4-3 decision to host Florida in the 2003 NCAA Championship match, Stanford was looking to capture the hardware once again. A 7-0 shutout of TCU in which the Cardinal swept every match served as a good starting point. The singles lineup from that day featured: No. 1 Alice Barnes, No. 2 Lauren Barnikow, No. 3 Theresa Logar, No. 4 Story Tweedie-Yates, No. 5 Emilia Anderson and No. 6 Anne Yelsey. The doubles teams were: No. 1 Barnikow/Burdette, No. 2 Barnes/Yelsey and No. 3 Anderson/Logar. Only Logar and Yelsey would eventually experience the next loss three years later.
Significant because this match represented the first make-up contest during the streak, with the original match on Feb. 17 postponed due to rain. This one was closer than the score indicated also, with a determined Fresno State squad pushing two singles matches to three sets and a then-unknown Jelena Pandzic shocking Amber Liu 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 singles spot. A doubles sweep and straight-set wins by Alice Barnes and Lauren Barnikow saved the day. Stanford notched a 3-0 record against Fresno State during the streak.
Stanford's first victory by a 5-2 margin during the streak came against a tough Washington squad on its home court. The Cardinal clinched the doubles point despite a loss at the No. 1 spot. Straight-set victories at the bottom three singles positions by Lauren Barnikow, Theresa Logar and Emilia Anderson helped ice the win.
Stanford's 18th win of the year also happened to be head coach Lele Forood's 100th victory at the helm of the Cardinal. One of the most successful coaches in NCAA history, Forood has guided Stanford to five NCAA titles and one runner-up finish. In this match, all three Stanford doubles teams registered wins and only Alice Barnes at No. 2 singles tasted defeat.
After a near two-hour rain delay, Stanford blanked USC to clinch its 17th straight Pac-10 title and first of three conference crowns during the 89-match streak. All six Cardinal players in the lineup backed up their respective national rankings by posting wins. The doubles team of Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette, ranked No. 1 in the country at the time, cruised to an 8-5 win.
Stanford capped a perfect 29-0 season with a 4-1 triumph over UCLA by tallying its 13th all-time NCAA title and first of three during the streak. The Cardinal captured the doubles point, with Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette clinching an 8-6 victory at the No. 1 spot. This was the fourth time in 2004 that Stanford beat UCLA, who would eventually lose four more matches to the Cardinal during the streak.
February 5 turned out to be a welcomed date for Stanford on the calendar, as the Cardinal won every match played on this same date in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In this particular contest, Stanford breezed past Georgia in the semifinals to reach the championship match of the tournament. This was the first meeting between two of the more storied women's tennis programs since 1990. It was the Cardinal's seventh consecutive win over the Bulldogs.
Finally, a challenger. Stanford's first 4-3 match win of the streak took place in Los Angeles against the Women of Troy. The Cardinal opened the contest by winning the doubles point with victories at Nos. 1 and 3. A 6-0, 6-1 win by Lejla Hodzic at No. 6 singles gave Stanford a 2-0 lead before USC's Lindsey Nelson shocked Alice Barnes 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2. In fact, Stanford lost singles battles at the top three spots of the lineup. However, clutch wins from Whitney Deason and Anne Yelsey at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, proved to be the key.
For the second year in a row, Stanford captured the NCAA championship at its "home away from home" during the streak: Athens, Ga. This time the hero was Erin Burdette, ending her brilliant career with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Georgia's Kendra Strohm at No. 3 singles while playing in front of family and friends just 85 miles away from her hometown. Stanford finished off Texas in just two hours and 20 minutes, the quickest match time of the NCAA Championship in Athens. Am 8-5 doubles win by Whitney Deason and Theresa Logar at the No. 3 spot clinched the doubles point.
A rematch of the previous year's NCAA Championship, Stanford again crushed Texas 4-0 en route to its record third consecutive National Team Indoor title. The victory was the Cardinal's 13th in a row at the event, which proved to be an early-season tune-up against some of the nation's best competition. Stanford outscored its four opponents 26-0 during the week to become the first team to the win the title without yielding a point in the events' 19-year history.
Stanford's 72nd straight dual match win was not easy, representing the only other 4-3 victory during the streak. The Cardinal raced out to a comfortable 3-0 match lead before the upstart Waves stormed back. Pepperdine notched singles upsets over Amber Liu and Alice Barnes at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions to tie the score at 3-3. On court four, Anne Yelsey dropped the first set 3-6 but rebounded to win the second 6-3. Tied at 4-4 in the third frame, Yelsey won the final two games for a 6-4 win to keep the streak in tact.
Stanford's home court winning streak reached 96, with a win over rival California. This one gave the Cardinal sole possession of the Pac-10 title. Prior to the match, Cardinal seniors Alice Barnes, Jessica Leck, Joanna Kao and Amber Liu were honored in a ceremony. This quartet suffered just two losses during their time on The Farm. Liu made the most of her Senior Day outing, upsetting No. 8 Zsuzsanna Fodor of California 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 1 singles spot. Alice Barnes was just as good at No. 2, taking down No. 26 Suzi Babos 6-2, 6-1. Not to mention this was one of seven times Stanford would defeat California during the streak.
Postseason play at Taube Family Tennis Stadium became a fixture during the winning streak, as Stanford racked up a 10-0 record in such matches. Including this one, a 4-1 win over Miami that occurred one day behind schedule in a tournament that was pushed back constantly by rainy weather. The Cardinal was appearing in the title match for the 20th time in the 25-year history of the championship. After winning the doubles point, Celia Durkin and Jessica Nguyen cruised to straight-set wins at the Nos. 5 and 6 positions of the singles lineup. Miami's Audra Cohen, ranked No. 2 in the nation, briefly delayed Stanford's celebration with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Amber Liu at No. 1 singles. Instead, Theresa Logar provided the clincher on court three, winning 6-0, 6-3.
The streak's final victory came on a Friday afternoon in Madison, Wis., at the National Team Indoor Championships. All six singles players in the California lineup were nationally-ranked but that did not prevent Stanford from winning five of those matches. That included Theresa Logar's 6-4, 6-2 upset of No. 3 Susie Babos at the No. 1 spot in the lineup. It was a typical formula employed during the previous 88 victories: win the doubles point and use superior depth to dominate singles.
24 hours later, No. 6 Georgia Tech shocked No. 1 Stanford 4-3 in the semifinals to snap the streak.