Calling it a home-court advantage would be a complete understatement. What the Stanford women's tennis program accomplished at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium from 1999-2011 was simply astonishing.
Recognized as the longest active home winning streak of any intercollegiate sport in NCAA Division I athletics, Stanford produced an eye-popping 184-match winning streak overall in contests played at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. That's 147 victories in a row during regular-season play, combined with a 37-0 record in NCAA Tournament matches played at home.
Prior to suffering a 4-3 defeat to Florida in the 2011 national championship contest, it had been 12 years since Stanford suffered a loss on its home court. That's right, 12 years. The Cardinal's previous loss at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium was back on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset.
JUST HOW LONG IS 12 YEARS?
Consider the following when you flash back to 1999:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, The Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2, The Matrix, American Beauty
"Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears, "Millennium" by Backstreet Boys, "Come On Over" by Shania Twain, "NSYNC" by `N Sync, "Ricky Martin" by Ricky Martin
Pro Sports Champs
Denver Broncos (NFL), New York Yankees (MLB), San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Dallas Stars (NHL)
At The Time
Bill Clinton is 42nd President of the United States
The Euro is established
Apple Computer releases the first iBook
Napster makes its official debut
Mandalay Bay hotel and casino opens in Las Vegas
USA wins Women's World Cup
QUIZ TIME: BET YOUR BUDDIES DON'T KNOW THIS...
Marissa Irvin played No. 1 singles for Stanford at the start of its home winning streak. As a freshman in 1999, she was named Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Even the scoring system for a college tennis dual match experienced a change during the decade-plus home winning streak. The 2000 campaign represented the last year of the nine-point scoring system, as one point was available for all six singles matches and all three doubles contests. The first team to five points secured the match. Since 2001, regular-season dual matches have been played with a seven-point scoring system. The team winning two of the three doubles matches takes a 1-0 lead, and one point each is awarded for the remaining six singles contests. Under this system, the first team to claim four points clinches the match. In postseason play or circumstances related to weather, matches may be abandoned if the outcome has already been decided.
The Stanford women's tennis program also experienced a coaching change during the home winning streak, as Frank Brennan and Lele Forood were able to pad their records. Of the 184 consecutive victories during the streak, 21 were achieved under Brennan, who announced his retirement following the 2000 campaign. Brennan, now roaming the courts as a volunteer assistant coach, is Stanford's all-time winningest coach on the women's side with a 510-50 overall record. The remaining 163 victories during the streak came under Forood's watch.
During her freshman season, Amber Liu actually lost her dual match debut at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Playing at the No. 1 spot in the season opener against Fresno State on Feb. 1, 2003, Liu was outlasted by Chloe Carlotti 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. It was the Bulldogs' only point in a 6-1 Stanford victory. And Liu would eventually rebound herself, winning two NCAA singles titles (2003, 2004) while earning All-America honors every year of her career.
Frank Brennan, the all-time winningest coach in program history, was at the helm during the start of Stanford's home winning streak in 1999.
During the streak, Stanford routinely piled up victories over its conference rivals. Those schools have no choice- they must visit the Taube Family Tennis Stadium at some point thanks to a scheduling pattern that alternates playing sites every year. So which non-conference foe suffered the most during the streak? That would be Fresno State, winless in nine attempts since the 1999 season. Other frequent non-league victims during the streak included the following: Sacramento State (0-7), Cal Poly (0-7), UC Davis (0-6), Pacific (0-5), UNLV (0-5) and Hawai'i (0-5).
If you're Stanford and draw Quinnipiac in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, you have to like your chances about winning the whole thing. In the two seasons (2004 and 2006) that Stanford matched up with the school from Hamden, Conn., in an opening round match at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, the Cardinal went on to win it all.
Now in her fifth season at the helm, California head coach Amanda Augustus was the Golden Bears' skipper during a close call at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium following a 4-3 loss on Mar. 7, 2009. But the former Golden Bear All-American can claim a small measure of success against the Cardinal in her career. During her senior season, Augustus was a member of the 1999 California squad that handed Stanford its most recent home defeat 12 years ago. Augustus lost to Marissa Irvin 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-3 at the No. 1 spot that afternoon but teamed with Amy Jensen for an 8-2 victory at No. 1 doubles in Cal's 5-4 win back on Feb. 27, 1999.
This isn't the first time Stanford has strung together a lengthy streak on its home court. Prior to suffering its most recent home loss against California back on Feb. 27, 1999, the Cardinal had won 52 in a row at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium dating back to a 6-3 defeat to Texas on Mar. 5, 1995. Simply put, losses on The Farm have just been RARE.
LOOKING BACK AT THE MILESTONES...
Win No. 1: Mar. 5, 1999...Stanford 7, Arizona 2
Seemed like just another victory at the time, not the start of an incredible streak that would span a decade. Here's the starting lineup that Stanford head coach Frank Brennan penciled into his scorebook that afternoon: Singles
1) Teryn Ashley (STAN) d. Lindsay Blau (ARIZ) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
2) Monique Allegre (ARIZ) d. Gabriela Lastra (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
3) Lauren Kalvaria (STAN) d. Joanna Buczkowska (ARIZ) 6-2, 7-5
4) Jennifer Heiser (STAN) d. Michelle Gough (ARIZ) 6-4, 6-0
5) Keiko Tokuda (STAN) d. Vanessa Ablel (ARIZ) 6-3, 6-2
6) Sarah Pestieau (STAN) d. Carly Stringer (ARIZ) 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 Doubles
1) Blau/Allegre (ARIZ) d. Lastra/Kalvaria (STAN) 9-7
2) Ashley/Pestieau (STAN) d. Gough/Abel (ARIZ) 9-8
3) Tokuda/Heiser (STAN) d. Stringer/Marino (ARIZ) 8-5
Win No. 7: May 15, 1999...Stanford 4, Pacific 0
Regarded as the premier tennis facility in the country, the Taube Family Tennis Stadium has served as a host site to several NCAA Tournament matches during the streak. Fast forward 12 years and nothing changed. During the winning stretch, the facility played host to the 2002, 2006 and 2011 NCAA Championships. On this particular date, Stanford blanked Pacific in the first of 38 NCAA Tournament matches played on its home court during the streak.
Head coach Lele Forood is greeted with a victory bath following Stanford's 2004 NCAA championship win over UCLA.
Win No. 21: May 13, 2000...Stanford 5, Fresno State 1
Despite the nation's No. 1 player, Marissa Irvin, suffering a loss at the No. 1 spot, Stanford cruised to five singles victories and the doubles matches were cancelled because the outcome had already been decided. This would be the final home match played under legendary coach Frank Brennan, who compiled a 510-50 overall record during his time on The Farm and owns the distinction as the program's all-time winningest coach.
Win No. 22: Jan. 26, 2001...Stanford 7, Washington State 0
Stanford blanked Washington State 7-0 in the first home match played under new head coach Lele Forood, who succeeded Brennan. Under Forood, Stanford has claimed six NCAA championships and 10 Pac-10 titles. She was named the 2003 Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year and is a five-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year recipient.
Win No. 51: May 19, 2002...Stanford 4, Florida 1
Hosting the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1997, Stanford notched a 4-1 victory over Florida to claim the national championship on its home court. The victory was well earned for the third-seeded Cardinal, which had to sit through a rain delay of three hours and 10 minutes before competition started shortly after 4 p.m. Erin Burdette's 7-6, 6-2 victory at the No. 4 position sealed the match, as Stanford's senior class of Lauren Kalvaria, Gabriela Lastra and Keiko Tokuda wrapped up their collegiate careers with a 116-4 record and three NCAA championships.
Win No. 65: Jan. 26, 2004...Stanford 7, TCU 0
Stanford's 7-0 rout of TCU turned out to be win No. 65 during the home winning streak but it also represented the first victory of another improbable stretch. After falling to host Florida 4-3 in the 2003 NCAA Championship, Stanford opened its 2004 campaign with a ho-hum shutout victory over the Horned Frogs. And 88 consecutive wins would follow, giving the Cardinal an 89-match winning streak that spanned three seasons and produced three more NCAA championships.
Win No. 107: May 23, 2006...Stanford 4, Miami 1
For the second time during the home winning streak, Stanford won the NCAA championship on its home court. Appearing in the national championship match for the 20th time in the 27-year history of the event, Stanford captured its 15th team title in a tournament that was pushed back constantly by rainy weather. 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. Theresa Logar provided the clincher on court three, winning easily 6-0, 6-3.
Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey conduct a postgame interview following Stanford's 2006 NCAA Championship at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Win No. 110: Feb. 17, 2007...Stanford 4, UCLA 3
Someone in the stands on this Saturday afternoon had to be asking themselves the following question: "is the scoreboard malfunctioning?" That's because for the first time in seven years the number "3" was appearing in the opponent's score column. Stanford had not surrendered three points to an opponent in a home match since Apr. 21, 2000, when the Cardinal downed USC 6-3. Fast forward to this date against UCLA, and Stanford was actually trailing 3-2 while the match was in the hands of Anne Yelsey and Lindsay Burdette. Both rallied to victories, with Yelsey beating Tracy Lin 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 at the No. 2 spot while Burdette rallied past Elizabeth Lumpkin 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 on court six.
Win No. 142: Mar. 7, 2009...Stanford 4, California 3
A thriller in every sense of the word. California entered this match ranked No. 7, six spots ahead of No. 13 Stanford. The Golden Bears were a team on the rise, and this one had all the makings of a classic and potential upset. Sure enough, California captured the doubles point and two of the next three singles matches to take a 3-1 lead and silence the Stanford fans. Three matches remained and the situation was the same in all three: a Stanford win in the first set before California bounced back in the second. That's when the comeback started. Freshman Veronica Li picked up her biggest win of the year on court five, sophomore Hilary Barte evened the match at 3-3 with a win at the No. 1 spot and senior Jessica Nguyen turned a 5-3 deficit in the third set into a 7-5 victory to secure the 4-3 Stanford win and keep the streak alive.
Win No. 149: Apr. 11, 2009...Stanford 7, Pepperdine 0
This Senior Day shutout of Pepperdine resulted in win No. 800 for the Stanford women's tennis program. Heading into the 2009 postseason, Stanford women's tennis has posted an overall record of 800-74. That's good for a .915 winning percentage. Head coach Curly Neal got the program off on the right foot, leading Stanford to an 11-0 mark during the inaugural season back in 1975. There has never been a losing season in the history of the program.
Win No. 160: Apr. 4, 2010 (match completed Apr. 21)...Stanford 4, USC 3
In perhaps the most unique of endings during the streak, Stanford's 4-3 victory over USC was actually completed in Ojai, Calif., after two postponements. Because UCLA could still claim a share of the Pac-10 title, Stanford was forced to resume its Apr. 4 match against USC that had been tied at 3-3 after singles, suspended twice and moved to a completely different city. Stanford swept the doubles point, earning the 4-3 win and claiming the outright Pac-10 title in the process. The ITA, along with the NCAA, ruled the contest would count as a home match for Stanford, since the original singles competition was played at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium with each team collecting three points. Additionally, it was determined that team and individual rankings would be used from the Apr. 4 match. So home sweet home. In Ojai.
Win No. 175: Apr. 1, 2011...Stanford 6, Arizona State 1
Not an April Fool's joke. Surprisingly, for only the third time during the home winning streak, Stanford won a home match played on Apr. 1. This time around the victory came against an up-and-coming Arizona State bunch. The Cardinal actually dropped the doubles point in this match before storming back to win all six singles contests.
Win No. 182: May 20, 2011...Stanford 4, Northwestern 2 Carolyn McVeigh outlasted Stacey Lee 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 at No. 6 singles, powering No. 1 Stanford past No. 16 Northwestern 4-2 in an NCAA Championships round of 16 match that took almost five hours to complete. Despite dropping the doubles point for the fourth time this year, Stanford (26-0) rebounded with superior singles play at the top of the lineup and a gutty effort from McVeigh, who shook off a second-set loss with a decisive 6-1 third-set victory, providing the clincher after fending off Lee in a match that lasted two hours and 49 minutes. Approximately 250 dedicated fans braved the chilly late-night weather at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium as the contest was winding down, celebrating wildly when McVeigh finally secured the match at 1:34 a.m. PT. Originally scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Friday, the contest was pushed back almost three hours due to an already backed-up tournament schedule from the afternoon.
Win No. 184: May 23, 2011...Stanford 4, Baylor 1
As it would turn out, the final "W" in the home winning streak as Stanford cruised past Baylor in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Stanford's run would come to an end the following night, with Florida prevailing 4-3 in the national championship. Win No. 184 was special, as Stanford had now eliminated the Lady Bears in back-to-back seasons, returning the favor after Baylor accomplished the same feat during the two previous seasons. After locking up the doubles point, Stacey Tan and Veronica Li put Stanford in front 3-1 before Mallory Burdette clinched the match at the No. 2 position.
Compiled by Brian Risso.
Additional editorial assistance provided by Elizabeth Clair.