Sports

Cardinal gymnasts took the floor in key Pac-12 victory

Stanford grads Sherman, Baldwin head to Super Bowl with Seahawks

Nationally No. 12 Stanford delivered a clutch performance on floor in the final rotation to earn a come-from-behind victory Sunday in Burnham Pavilion.

The Cardinal (7-0, 2-0 Pac-12) scored a meet-best 49.375 on floor to finish with a team total of 195.925, ahead of No. 19 Arizona (195.850) and Sacramento State (192.450).

Stanford outscored opponents in two of four events and had four gymnasts claim six individual wins.

Kristina Vaculik had a big day, earning three individual victories and either tying or setting three collegiate bests.

Vaculik posted victories on bars and floor, scoring 9.925 on both events, and earned her first collegiate all-around win with a personal-best 39.425.

Vaculik has scored 9.800 or higher in nine of 10 events this season.

"She's been amazing and it was exciting to see her put four events together," Stanford coach Kristen Smyth said. "She's been showing great leadership. We've talked a lot about competitiveness, consistency and confidence and she's exuding all three."

After counting a fall on both bars and beam, Stanford entered the final rotation trailing Arizona, 147.175-146.550. The Cardinal knew it would need a big score on floor to pull out the victory.

Stanford delivered.

Four gymnasts scored 9.850 or higher in the final event, punctuated by back-to-back 9.925 collegiate bests from Pauline Hanset and Vaculik to close out the meet.

Shona Morgan opened the event with a 9.850 and was followed by Jenna Frowein with a 9.775. Rachel Daum delivered a terrific routine and was rewarded with a 9.900.

"We talk a lot about being a team that's competitive and that when our backs are up against a wall we respond," Smyth said. "We want to be a team with grit that fights for what it wants and I saw that on the last event."

Stanford got off to a quick start on vault with five gymnasts scoring 9.825 or higher. Freshman Nicolette McNair led the way with a meet-best 9.900, followed by classmate Daum with a 9.875. Melissa Chuang also had a good day in the event, tying her collegiate best with a 9.850.

The Cardinal nearly had a huge day on bars with four gymnasts scoring 9.875 or higher, including three in the 9.900 range.

Vaculik paced Stanford with a 9.925, followed by Shona Morgan and Samantha Shapiro who both scored 9.900. Nicole McNair turned in a strong performance to earn a 9.875. However, two Cardinal gymnasts missed routines and Stanford was forced to count a fall.

Stanford faced even more adversity on beam, again having to weather two missed routines. Amanda Spinner continued to lead the Cardinal on the event and earned her third consecutive individual victory with a 9.850.

Despite the tough day on bars and beam, Stanford regrouped and delivered the performances needed on floor to earn the victory.

Stanford will look to continue its undefeated season when it travels to UC Davis next Sunday for a dual meet against the Aggies at 1 p.m.

Football

Super Bowl XLVIII will have a distinct Stanford feel after Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin led the Seattle Seahawks to the NFC Championship on Sunday.

The Stanford grads, both of whom played under current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, will be joined in the big game by John Elway, a fellow ex-Cardinal who now leads the Denver Broncos as the executive vice president of football operations.

Baldwin provided a consistent spark for Seattle's offense and special teams throughout the game, amassing 209 yards (109 kickoff return, 106 receiving). He also turned in two big plays, a 51-yard catch down the middle of the field in the second quarter and a 69-yard kickoff return in the third, both of which set up field goals for the Seahawks.

Sherman put an exclamation point on Baldwin's efforts with a tipped pass that resulted in an interception on San Francisco's final play to seal the 23-17 victory for Seattle. Holding a six-point lead in the final minute, Sherman spun to knock away a deep pass that would have hit 49ers' receiver Michael Crabtree in end zone.

Elway's Denver team beat the New England Patriots 26-16 behind 400 passing yards from Peyton Manning. Cardinal grad Sione Fua is on Denver's roster, but was inactive for the AFC Championship.

Women's tennis

Ellen Tsay claimed the Freeman Memorial Invitational singles crown on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nev.

Tsay, whose only other career singles tourney win was the 2012 Riviera-ITA All-American Championship consolation title, was awarded the trophy by default as top-ranked Robin Anderson of UCLA was ill and unable to play the match.

Tsay was impressive in reaching the final, booking wins over three other nationally-ranked opponents and surrendering less than four games in each set she played.

In doubles, Tsay and Taylor Davidson advanced to the championship against Duke's tandem of Marianne Jodoin and Rachel Kahan but the match was not played.

Stanford opens its dual match season on Friday, with a home match against UC Davis at 3 p.m.

Men's tennis

Stanford's John Morrissey and Maciek Romanowicz, playing their first tournament together, captured the Sherwood Cup doubles title on Sunday afternoon in Thousand Oaks.

Morrissey and Romanowicz defeated San Diego's team of Clarke Spinosa and Filip Vittek, 8-4, in the title match.

Morrissey and Romanowicz reached the champiosnhip by downing Cardinal teammates Jamin Ball and Trey Strobel, 8-6, in a semifinal match.

— Stanford Athletics

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