March 7, 2009
STANFORD, Calif.- Over the last 10 years, close matches have been a rarity at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Instead, Stanford victories have been automatic.
One of two seniors on the roster, Jessica Nguyen has been around long enough to experience Stanford's home court dominance. So it was fitting she would be the Cardinal player to extend what is recognized as the longest home winning streak of any intercollegiate sport in NCAA history.
Capping a heart-pounding thriller that lasted just over five hours, Nguyen outlasted Claire Ilcinkas 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 at the No. 3 spot and turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory for No. 13 Stanford over No. 7 California on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Stanford extended its winning streak at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium to an unthinkable 142 in a row (114 in the regular season). The Cardinal's last loss in a home dual match occurred more than 10 years ago, in the form of a 5-4 setback to No. 4 California on Feb. 27, 1999.
Not only did Stanford trail 3-1 in the match, but Nguyen was down 5-3 in the third set before storming back to win four games in a row and trigger a Stanford celebration on court three.
Stanford improves to 9-2 while California falls to 8-2. Both teams entered the contest with a 2-0 record in Pac-10 play, although Saturday's match does not count toward the Pac-10 standings. Only the second matchup between the two programs (in this case, Apr. 18 at Berkeley) is factored into the conference race.
But Saturday's outcome was crucial for Stanford, looking to continue its momentum after having already dropped two matches this year against top-15 opponents while entering today's match with its lowest national ranking in years.
In a doubles competition that lasted nearly two hours, it was California rallying back to win the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead. Today marked the first time Stanford failed to win the doubles point in a home match since Apr. 5, 2008, when UCLA claimed the doubles point before Stanford rallied for a 4-3 win.
Stanford's No. 3 pairing of Logan Hansen and Veronica Li, playing together for the first time this year, stormed to an 8-4 win. However, California broke even with an 8-5 win at No. 2 and the point would be decided on court one in a battle of top-25 doubles teams.
California's duo of Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova ultimately prevailed in a 9-8 (2) victory over Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette, giving the Golden Bears a crucial 1-0 lead.
The Golden Bears went ahead 2-0 following a 6-2, 6-2 victory from Bojana Bobusic at the No. 4 spot, but Stanford countered when Courtney Clayton posted a 6-4, 6-1 triumph at the No. 6 position to cut the lead to 2-1.
Mari Andersson then earned California's third point when she defeated Lindsay Burdette 6-4, 7-5 on court two.
That's when Stanford's comeback began, as Veronica Li edged Marion Ravelojaona 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on court five to bring Stanford within 3-2.
Only two matches remained: Barte facing Juricova on court one in a battle of two top-30 players and Nguyen battling Ilcinkas on court three. In both matches, Stanford players had won the first set before California fought back with victories in the second.
Barte surged past Juricova 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, knotting the match at 3-3 and sending both teams and spectators over to court three.
After winning the second set, Ilcinkas built a 5-3 lead on Nguyen to put California temporarily in the driver's seat.
But Nguyen won the next four games to take the third set 7-5 and seal the impressive win.
Stanford is back in action at home on Saturday, Mar. 21, against San Francisco.
No. 13 Stanford 4, No. 7 California 3
1) No. 13 Andersson/Juricova (CAL) d. No. 23 Barte/Burdette (STAN) 9-8 (2)
2) Bobusic/Ilcinkas (CAL) d. McVeigh/Nguyen (STAN) 8-5
3) Logan Hansen/Li (STAN) d. Chang/Ravelojaona (CAL) 8-4
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1) No. 16 Hilary Barte (STAN) d. No. 26 Jana Juricova (CAL) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
2) No. 74 Mari Andersson (CAL) d. No. 121 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) 6-4, 7-5
3) Jessica Nguyen (STAN) d. No. 42 Claire Ilcinkas (CAL) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
4) No. 23 Bojana Bobusic (CAL) d. Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) 6-2, 6-2
5) Veronica Li (STAN) d. Marion Ravelojaona (CAL) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
6) Courtney Clayton (STAN) d. Stephany Chang (CAL) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 2, 5, 1, 3