April 18, 1998
STANFORD, Calif. - The top-ranked Stanford women's tennis team closed out the 1997-98 regular season with a narrow 5-4 win over No. 16 UCLA, avenging the squad's lone loss of the season and sending off seniors Julie Scott and Ania Bleszynski with a win in their final appearance in a Cardinal uniform at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. With the victory, Stanford improved to 24-1 overall and completed its Pac-10 championship season with a 12-1 mark. The Cardinal captured the Pac-10 title - the first unified Pac-10 title - with its 8-1 win over USC yesterday. Previously split into Northern and Southern Divisions, the Pac-10 combined the two into one body this season. Stanford had won 10 consecutive Southern Division titles in the previous format. With the loss, the Bruins fell to 14-10 overall and 8-5 in conference play.
The match began much like the earlier meeting between the two teams - won by UCLA 5-4 in Los Angeles at the beginning of the month. As was the case in the first meeting between the two, the squads split the singles ladder, with Stanford claiming the even numbered positions while UCLA took the odd. In a showdown of Top 20 players at the No. 1 slot, UCLA's Annica Cooper, currently ranked 14th in the nation, halted Anne Kremer's winning streak at five matches with a 6-4, 7-5 win. Kremer, currently the 16th-ranked singles player in the country, had entered the match with five straight victories over ranked opponents. Stanford freshman Jennifer Heiser would have little trouble extending her win streak however, taking the Bruin's Brandi Freudenberg in straight sets (6-3, 6-0) at the No. 6 position for her team-best ninth straight victory.
Fittingly, the day belonged to Stanford seniors Julie Scott (Austin, TX/Stephen F. Austin HS) and Ania Bleszynski (Thousand Oaks, CA/Harvard-Westlake HS), who were honored, along with class members Sophy Woodhouse and Heidi Stalla, prior to taking the home court for the final time in their esteemed collegiate careers. The two combined for three of Stanford's five points. Scott improved to 34-6 on the season with a 6-4, 7-6 win over Cristina Popescu at the No. 2 slot while Bleszynski rebounded from a 4-6 loss in the first set to defeated Kelly Rudolph 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 4. With the win, Bleszynski finished 13-0 in the Pac-10 - the only Cardinal to accomplish the feat this season. Scott and Bleszynski then combined for another Cardinal point, defeating Elizabeth Schmidt and Popescu at No. 2 doubles 8-3.
The match came down to No. 3 doubles, pitting Stanford's Heiser and Sarah Pestieau against UCLA's Kati Kocsis and Freudenberg. With the overall match tied 4-4, the two tandems added to the suspense by playing to a 6-6 tie through 12 games. Hesier and Pestieau ended the match with two unanswered points for the 8-6 victory, thus extending Stanford's home court winning streak to 45 matches.
1. Annica Cooper (UCLA) d. Anne Kremer (Stanford) 6-4, 7-5
2. Julie Scott (Stanford) d. Cristina Popescu (UCLA) 6-4, 7-6
3. Elizabeth Schmidt (UCLA) d. Teryn Ashley (Stanford) 6-3, 6-3
4. Ania Bleszynski (Stanford) d. Kelly Rudolph (UCLA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
5. Kati Kocsis (UCLA) d. Sarah Pestieau (Stanford) 6-3, 6-2
6. Jennifer Heiser (Stanford) d. Brandi Freudenberg (UCLA) 6-3, 6-0
1. Katia Roubanova/Cooper (UCLA) d. Kremer/Ashley (Stanford) 8-6
2. Scott/Bleszynski (Stanford) d. Schmidt/Popescu (UCLA) 8-3
3. Heiser/Pestieau (Stanford) d. Kocsis/Freudenberg (UCLA) 8-6