Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 1, 2011

Stanford women's gymnastics will compete for NCAA berth

Cardinal baseball team opens Pac-10 season at WSU; No. 12 softball improves to 24-4

by Rick Eymer

The fourth-ranked Stanford women's gymnastics team received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Ann Arbor regional and will compete at Michigan on Saturday with a bid into the NCAA championships at stake.

Stanford and Michigan are the top two seeds and are joined by Ohio State, Iowa State, Minnesota, and Kent State. The top two advance to the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, April 15-17.

There's a lot going on for the Cardinal this weekend. Stanford will be competing for its fifth consecutive trip to the national championships after qualifying for the postseason for the 28th straight time.

Stanford, 13-4 against the top 25, seeks its sixth regional title, all since 1999, and will be attempting to win consecutive regional titles for the first time.

The Cardinal has accomplished much already this season, tying the school mark for regular-season victories, with 20, and scoring its best team average (196.450) since 2004.

Ashley Morgan leads the nation, by scoring average, on the floor exercise. She's at 9.915. Shelley Alexander and Allyse Ishino have combined for three individual regional titles.

Alexander, Ishino, Morgan, Alissa Brown, Danielle Ikoma and Nicole Pechanec were named to the all-Pac-10 teams.

Morgan is on a nine-meet winning streak on the floor, having failed to capture first only once, at the season-opening Pac-10 Showcase when she was second with a 9.925. Morgan has scored 9.900 or higher in nine of 10 meets and her lowest score of 9.875 still was good enough to win.

Stanford ranks in the national top 10 in every event, based on the regional qualifying scores. The team is fourth overall with a 196.715. Individual team events include vault, 7th, 49.220; bars, 9th, 49.210; beam, 5th, 49.140; and floor, 6th, 49.230.

The Stanford men's gymnastics team, meanwhile, also will be busy this weekend.

Stanford senior Alex Buscaglia, the reigning National Gymnast of the Week for his efforts in last week's victory over California, leads the second-ranked Cardinal into the Mountain Pacific Sports federation Championships in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

Buscaglia entered the meet as the top-ranked athlete on high bar, but further backed that up by scoring a national-leading 16.300, which is almost a full point higher than any other collegiate this season.

He will enter the championship season as the top-ranked athlete on high bar, but is also fourth on vault. His four-meet average on high bar is 15.313, which is a sizeable lead. His average on vault is 15.987 and trails national leader Steven Legendre of top-ranked Oklahoma, who averages 16.200.

Stanford took team titles on vault, rings, and high bar against the Bears. Josh

Dixon on floor (15.700), Tim Gentry on rings (15.700), and Chris Turner on horse (15.000) all won or shared individual titles.

The conference championships lead to the NCAA championships, which will be held beginning April 15 at Ohio State.

Baseball

Stanford has won five of its past six games as it prepares to open Pac-10 play at Washington State this weekend, beginning with Friday's 5:30 p.m. start.

Jake Stewart went 3-for-4 with four RBI and Stephen Piscotty was 2-for-4 with three RBI as No. 11-ranked Stanford (11-6) survived a wild seventh and ninth inning, to defeat visiting Saint Mary's (9-12), 16-14 on Tuesday evening.

Seven runs by the Gaels were countered by six by Stanford in the seventh. When the dust settled, the Cardinal's once seven-run lead, was erased to one, and then built back to 16-9.

Four errors in the ninth gave SMC five more runs, as the Gaels batted around and sent the go-ahead run to the plate against Scott Snodgress. Snodgress got a strikeout of Tim David to secure his second save.

The leading Stanford rally was keyed by a Stewart three-run double, followed by a two-run home run by Ben Clowe. Lonnie Kauppila's fourth hit started the rally.

Softball

Ashley Chinn and Teagan Gerhart combined on a four-hitter and the 12th-ranked Stanford softball team beat visiting St. Mary's, 2-0, Wednesday, in a nonconference game.

Stanford (24-4) opens Pac-10 play this weekend with a three-game series against visiting Arizona (29-6). Friday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Hansen leads the Pac-10 with a .548 average (51-for-93) while Arizona's Brittany Lastrapea is second at .500. Wildcats' Stacie Chambers leads the conference with 45 RBI while Hansen leads with 17 doubles.

Arizona claims three of the top four power hitters in the Pac-10, with Lini Koria and Chambers leading the way, each with 12. Bridgette Del Ponte has 11.

Stanford's Sarah Hassman leads the conference with 19 stolen bases (in 21 attempts) while Gerhart is tied for second with 16 (of 16).

Stanford was picked to finish sixth by the conference coaches. Arizona and UCLA are considered the co-favorites.

As usual, all eight teams in the conference enter play this weekend with a winning record. Arizona State stands at 33-2, followed by Washington (25-2), Oregon (28-4), Stanford, California (21-4), Arizona, UCLA (21-5) and Oregon State (16-6).

Men's volleyball

Charley Henrikson led a balanced attack with eight kills to lead No. 3 Stanford to a 25-15, 25-18, 25-22 victory over UC Santa Cruz in nonconference action from Maples Pavilion on Wednesday.

Henrikson, a junior middle blocker, tied his career-high in kills as Stanford (16-6) prepared for its biggest match of the season, on Friday against No. 1 USC (16-1) at Maples in a matchup of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's first- and second-place teams.

The Trojans are four games ahead of the Cardinal in the conference standings and have already clinched a spot in the MPSF tournament quarterfinals.

Women's water polo

Top-ranked Stanford extended its win streak to 18 with weekend wins over UCLA, 5-2, at home and UC Davis, 12-6, on the road.

Annika Dries, named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week, scored twice against the Bruins and four times against the Aggies.

Amber Oland collected five saves against the Bruins, holding them scoreless in the first half.

The Cardinal (3-0, 18-0) heads to third-ranked USC (3-1, 14-3) for an important match Saturday.

Tennis

Both Stanford tennis teams will be in action this weekend, highlighted by a rare doubleheader on Friday at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. The women face Arizona State at 1:30 p.m. in a Pac-10 contest while the men battle Tulsa at 5 p.m. in a nonconference match.

Wins over four nationally ranked opponents over a five-day stretch last week, including convincing 6-1 road victories over No. 8 UCLA and No. 13 USC, were enough to vault the Stanford women into the ITA's No. 1 spot.

Among the contributors was Mallory Burdette, named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after winning all four of her matches at the No. 2 spot, including three against nationally ranked opponents.

The Sun Devils (13-3, 3-0 Pac-10) are also undefeated in league play and boast two top-20 singles players and four ranked in the top 120.

Stanford also will be looking to extend its NCAA-record home winning streak, which currently stands at 174 consecutive matches, which includes 32 NCAA tournament wins.

Five Stanford players appear in the latest national singles rankings: Hilary Barte (4), Nicole Gibbs (12), Kristie Ahn (17), Mallory Burdette (22) and Stacey Tan (55). In doubles, the Cardinal has two teams ranked: Barte-Burdette (2) and Ahn-Gibbs (30).

After facing three top-20 opponents over a five-day stretch last week, the Stanford men (9-5, 1-1 Pac-10) are preparing for a 10-day stretch that features five more nationally-ranked squads.

Stanford dropped four spots in the latest edition of the ITA national rankings and now checks in at No. 12. It's the lowest the Cardinal has been ranked all year, having alternated between No. 7 and No. 8 ever since the dual match campaign kicked off in January.

Stanford travels to Arizona on Sunday.

Greg Hirshman leads Stanford in dual match victories (12) and is 8-2 over his last 10 matches overall.

On the doubles side, Stanford's top pairing of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher continues to cruise. In addition to having not lost a match since Feb. 20, Klahn and Thacher are 27-4 overall and riding an eight-match winning streak. The duo is 7-4 against nationally-ranked opponents.

Three Stanford players are ranked in singles this week: Klahn (11), Thacher (32) and Alex Clayton (60). Two doubles teams are ranked: Klahn-Thacher (6) and Clayton-Ted Kelly (67).

Women's lacrosse

Stanford won two of three on the road last week, knocking off Cincinnati (20-8) and Louisville (16-12), before dropping its first game of the year to No. 15 Vanderbilt (15-10).

Emilie and Anna Boeri each tallied five points and Annie Read collected 16 saves against the Cardinals.

Lauren Schmidt had a game-high six points at Cincy on four goals and two assists, while Sarah Flynn recorded five goals.

The Cardinal has two MPSF games this week, hosting California Friday and visiting St. Mary's Sunday.

Fencing

Francesca Bassa earned All-American honors and Stanford finished 10th at the NCAA championships at Ohio State on Sunday.

Bassa earned the honors by finishing fifth in epee.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields