The top-ranked Stanford women's tennis team continues to cruise along, coming off a sweep in its first road trip of the year. After defeating No. 17 Texas, 6-1, the Cardinal followed up with a 5-2 victory at No. 22 Rice.
Since Stanford does not participate in the National Team Indoor Championships, the matches against Texas and Rice served as quality nonconference tuneups before the start of Pac-12 play.
Stanford (4-0), which has also registered shutouts over UC Davis and No. 69 Princeton, next will host No. 37 St. Mary's on Saturday at noon.
Last February, the Cardinal suffered a rare 4-3 loss to the Gaels, representing only the third time Stanford had been beaten on its home court since 1999. Stanford was also competing without the services of Nicole Gibbs in that match, but St. Mary's has greatly improved in recent years and enters this week's contest at 2-1.
Kristie Ahn has paced the Cardinal, compiling a 16-1 overall record and holding down the No. 1 spot in both singles and doubles. Ahn has also been named Pac-12 Player of the Week for her performance against Texas and Rice, earning the honor for the second time in three weeks.
The No. 38-ranked Stanford men, meanwhile, are 3-1 and in the middle of a stretch that features six consecutive home matches. The Cardinal will need every advantage possible when No. 3 USC (Friday, 1:30 p.m.) and No. 2 UCLA (Sunday, 12 p.m.) visit The Farm this weekend.
That being said, the Cardinal already has passed its first test against quality competition, coming away with a split two weeks ago in Athens, Ga., during ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Stanford defeated No. 36 Washington 4-2 for its ninth straight win in the series before hanging tough in a 4-1 loss to No. 3 Georgia on its home court.
Stanford has played its last two matches without John Morrissey at the No. 1 spot, resulting in shuffled lineups against Georgia and Hawai'i. That's because Morrissey was busy gaining valuable experience, representing Ireland in Davis Cup competition.
A few Stanford players have stepped up their game in Morrissey's absence. Anthony Tsodikov won a three-setter to provide the clinching point against Washington while Maciek Romanowicz upset No. 12 Austin Smith at the No. 2 position to account for Stanford's only scoring in the loss to Georgia.