STANFORD, Calif.- After surviving a scare in nearly two hours of doubles competition, No. 4 Stanford stormed back in singles play to defeat No. 31 Texas A&M 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinal (21-4, 7-1 Pac-10) punched its ticket to Tulsa, Okla.- the site of next weekend's NCAA Championships round of 16. Stanford will square off against No. 13 Clemson on Thursday, May 15.
Playing in its 27th consecutive NCAA Tournament, Stanford has now won 24 of its last 25 NCAA Tournament matches and is currently riding a season-best nine-match win streak.
Not to mention the success on its home court. Stanford extended its home winning streak to 134 matches overall and 28-0 in the postseason, with the last home defeat of any kind coming back on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset.
One day after blanking unranked Boston University 4-0 in the first round, Stanford was immediately tested by Texas A&M (17-9, 9-2 Big 12) in doubles action. The Cardinal captured the doubles point for the 20th time in 25 matches this year, but it certainly wasn't easy. Doubles play officially began at 12:13 p.m., and concluded at 1:55 p.m. when Stanford picked up a 9-8 (2) victory on court three.
Stanford's top team of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette cruised to an 8-1 win in a contest that took only 40 minutes to complete, giving the Cardinal an early edge with two matches remaining.
Trailing 3-0, Stanford's No. 2 team of Whitney Deason and Jessica Nguyen bounced back to take a 6-5 lead before falling 8-6 to Texas A&M's Christi Liles and Elze Potgieter.
That left the doubles point up to court three, where Stanford's Celia Durkin and Carolyn McVeigh battled Texas A&M's Stephanie Davidson and Morgan Frank.
Stanford held leads of 5-3, 6-5 and 7-6 before Texas A&M knotted the match at 7-7. Durkin and McVeigh then survived six deuces to take an 8-7 edge on the seventh ad point. However, the Aggies responded and tied the match at 8-8 to force a tiebreaker.
The Cardinal went up 3-0 quickly in the tiebreaker and led 4-2 at the changeover. The next three points were won by Stanford, which captured the tiebreaker 7-2 in a match that lasted 1:40.
The sun-drenched fans at Taube Family Tennis Stadium wouldn't have to wait nearly as long for Stanford's second point of the match, as Barte wrapped up a spotless 6-0, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles for a 2-0 lead.
Making her first dual match appearance in three weeks after nursing an injury, Barte backed up her No. 3 national ranking and looked every bit as dominating as she has all season long. In fact, Barte was on the court for a total of 1:42 on Saturday afternoon- the same length of time it took the duo of Durkin and McVeigh to clinch the doubles point. Barte is now 28-6 on the year and 21-3 in dual match play.
Texas A&M crept within 2-1 when Anna Blagodarova defeated Durkin 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 3 position.
But the Cardinal appeared to be firmly in control, having taken the first set of all four remaining singles matches.
Despite entering the postseason with just three wins in her last seven matches, McVeigh came up big again in singles. McVeigh, who provided the clincher in Stanford's win on Friday against Boston University, rolled to a 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Stephanie Davidson at the No. 6 spot to put Stanford up 3-1.
Deason eventually iced the match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory on court five, as she improved to 16-13 on the year.
Stanford now owns a 106-12 record in the postseason since the NCAA Tournament went to its present format in 1982. During that time, Stanford has won 15 of the 26 possible NCAA team titles, including five of the last seven seasons.
No. 4 Stanford 4, No. 31 Texas A&M 1
(1) No. 9 Barte/Burdette (STAN) d. No. 51 Blagodarova/Clifford (A&M) 8-1
(2) Liles/Potgieter (A&M) d. No. 49 Deason/Nguyen (STAN) 8-6
* (3) Durkin/McVeigh (STAN) d. Davidson/Frank (A&M) 9-8 (2)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
* denotes clinched match
(1) No. 3 Hilary Barte (STAN) d. No. 104 Elze Potgieter (A&M) 6-0, 6-2
(2) No. 13 Jessica Nguyen (STAN) led Christi Liles (A&M) 7-5, 5-0, susp.
(3) Anna Blagodarova (A&M) d. No. 65 Celia Durkin (STAN) 6-2, 6-1
(4) No. 66 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) led Morgan Frank (A&M) 6-4, 5-2, susp.
* (5) No. 68 Whitney Deason (STAN) d. Tiffany Clifford (A&M) 6-3, 6-3
(6) No. 95 Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) d. Stephanie Davidson (A&M) 6-3, 6-0
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 6, 5
* denotes clinched match