Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 11, 2010

All-American honors cap top-notch tennis year

Diekroeger named to All-America baseball team; crew coach earns national honors after NCAA title

by Rick Eymer

In a season that saw an NCAA team championship plus two individual national titles captured, the Stanford men's and women's tennis programs were rewarded for their achievement with All-American honors.

On the men's side, sophomores Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher earned All-American honors in doubles. The duo dropped a hard-fought 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (9-7) decision to Virginia's Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz in the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship.

Klahn also earned All-America accolades in singles, becoming Stanford's first NCAA singles champion since 2000 when he defeated Louisville's Austen Childs, 6-1, 6-2, in the title match.

Klahn and Thacher are both first-time All-Americans.

Stanford has now produced 14 collegiate men's singles champions in school history overall and nine since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1977.

Stanford was also honored with two regional award winners. Assistant coach Brandon Coupe was recognized as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year while junior Alex Clayton picked up the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship in addition to garnering the ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award.

Over on the women's side, Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette earned All-America recognition. The Cardinal's top duo captured the NCAA Doubles championship by outlasting Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota and Caitlin Whoriskey, 7-5, 4-6, 6-0.

Barte and Burdette brought home Stanford's 13th overall collegiate doubles title in school history, and sixth since the since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1982.

Barte also did enough to gain All-America accolades in singles, reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship after being seeded No. 4 in the draw.

Burdette has received All-America accolades in doubles all four years in addition to earning singles recognition as a freshman. Barte is a three-time All-American in both singles and doubles.

Barte was also named the ITA National Player to Watch, advancing from the regional ballot.

Also honored as regional award winners were head coach Lele Forood and freshman Mallory Burdette. In her 10th season, Forood garnered Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year honors while Burdette was named the ITA Rookie Player of the Year for the Northwest Region.

The ITA Northwest Region includes California, Cal Poly, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Nevada, Oregon, Pacific, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC Davis, Washington and Washington State.

Baseball

Stanford third baseman Kenny Diekroeger from Menlo School is one of 11 third basemen selected to Collegiate Baseball's Freshman All-America team, completing a solid first-year campaign for the Cardinal infielder.

Diekroeger, the Pac-10's Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, became the first Cardinal freshman since Edmund Muth in 1997 to lead Stanford in hitting (.356). He was the team's co-leader in RBI (41) with second baseman Colin Walsh, and also scored 42 runs. He was second on the team with five home runs. Diekroeger's 23-game hit streak this season was the team's fourth-longest since 1988.

Kenny's younger brother, Danny, who hit .462 in 31 games for Menlo School, is slated to join his brother as an infielder in 2011.

Crew

Lightweight rowing head coach Al Acosta was recognized Thursday by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches' Association (CRCA) as its National Lightweight Coach of the Year. In 2009-10, Acosta led the Stanford lightweight eight to a national championship victory at the IRA Regatta, the first in Stanford history.

The announcement marks Acosta's second national coach of the year award, as he was selected for the same honor after leading the lightweight eight to a third-place national finish, its best-ever at the time, in 2008.

Field hockey

Lesley Irvine, who helped the Stanford field hockey team establish a higher standard of excellence during her seven-year tenure, has accepted a position as Associate Athletics Director-Senior Woman Administrator at Bowling Green State University it was learned Thursday.

Stanford announced that a national search for her replacement will begin immediately.

Irvine guided Stanford to three straight NorPac Tournament championships and a pair of NCAA Tournament berths while her efforts on the recruiting trail paid dividends in the form of All-America talent.

Irvine, who will start at Bowling Green State next month, officially took over the reins of the Cardinal in December 2002 after serving the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

"I would like to thank the university and athletic department for all their support during the nine years I have spent at Stanford," Irvine said. "It has been my privilege to work with so many outstanding student-athletes, coaches, alumni, administrators and university personnel. Stanford is a wonderful institution that places emphasis on academic and athletic excellence. I have learned so much here and am excited to take my experiences into this next chapter of my professional career. I am very proud of the achievements of the field hockey program and will cherish all the moments I enjoyed during my time on campus."

Irvine (69-73 career coaching record with the Cardinal) directed to Stanford to its best season in program history in 2009, establishing a school record with 17 victories. In addition to capturing the NorPac's regular season and tournament titles, Stanford remained a fixture in the national poll for more than two months and climbed to a program best No. 12 in the national ranking.

Irvine earned her second NorPac Coach of the Year honor in three seasons, Xanthe Travlos was tabbed as the program's first All-American since 1998 and Stanford was represented with a league-best nine all-conference selections. Becky Dru became the seventh consecutive Stanford player named NorPac Rookie of the Year last fall.

Pac-10 Conference

The Pacific-10 Conference announced Thursday that the University of Colorado at Boulder has accepted an invitation to join the Conference as its 11th member, the first new member since July 1, 1978.

"This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth. The University of Colorado is a great fit for the conference, both academically and athletically, and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10," said Commissioner Larry Scott.

"On behalf of The University of Colorado students, faculty, alumni and fans, we are proud to accept this invitation from the Pac-10 and join the most prestigious academic and athletic conference in the nation," said Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of CU-Boulder.

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