STANFORD, Calif.- Don’t look now, but No. 52 Stanford is riding a wave of momentum heading into its most challenging road trip of the season.
Stanford (9-2, 2-0 Pac-12) has won six in a row, its longest winning streak since a 13-match stretch that spanned from March-May back in 2011. The Cardinal’s most recent victory, yesterday’s rain-shortened 4-0 shutout of No. 22 Boise State, is the type of signature win that, along with a 4-2 win over No. 36 Washington in late January, will greatly enhance a postseason resume.
Stanford has chalked up a 4-1 record in matches played away from home, boosted mainly by last week’s trio of clutch 4-3 road wins at UNLV, Utah and Arizona over a five-day stretch. Perhaps an even more encouraging sign was how the Cardinal grinded out those victories: rallying after losing the doubles point (UNLV), battling windy conditions (UNLV), overcoming a 3-1 deficit (Arizona) and holding off a ranked team (Utah). Additionally, Stanford received contributions from its entire lineup.
For a young squad whose singles lineup currently includes three sophomores, head coach John Whitlinger has to be pleased the recent progress. Not to mention, the Cardinal has battled injuries to key players throughout the season. Much like last year, Stanford will have to fight and claw its way to victories while holding serve when possible at home.
So far, so good.
But the road gets a little tougher this weekend, with Stanford traveling to Southern California for matchups against No. 2 USC (Friday, April 4 at 1:30 p.m.) and No. 3 UCLA (Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m.). Both squads are 2-0 in conference play while the Trojans are 20-2 overall and Bruins 15-2.
Stanford was scheduled to host both SoCal schools back in early February, only to have those matches cancelled due to rain. But the Cardinal might be able to gain some positive vibes from its abbreviated match against the Bruins, claiming the doubles point and winning first sets on four of six courts before the sides could not agree to shift the match indoors.
After this weekend, Stanford will have five regular-season dual matches left on its schedule, with the first four to be played at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Maciek Romanowicz (13-3 overall, 8-1 duals) enters the week as Stanford’s only nationally-ranked player, checking in at No. 55. Anthony Tsodikov (16-8 overall, 8-3 duals) leads the Cardinal in victories and has anchored the back courts, seeing time mainly at the No. 5 spot. Meanwhile, John Morrissey (11-7, 7-2 duals) has been the club’s hottest player as of late, carrying a six-match winning streak.