Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 6, 2011

It'll be a home-court advantage

Stanford men, women will open NCAA Tournament at home before hosting collegiate tennis championships

by Keith Peters

The ball is in Stanford's court, both literally and physically, for the month of May as collegiate tennis focuses its attention on the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

The Stanford men's and women's teams will have the home court advantage throughout the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships as both will host first- and second-round matches from May 13-15 before hosting the final 16 men's and women's teams from May 19-30.

The top-ranked and No. 1-seeded Stanford women (23-0), with senior Hilary Barte leading the way, will open against Illinois-Chicago on May 14 at noon. Long Beach State and Pepperdine will meet at 9 a.m. The winners will square off on May 15 at noon.

Illinois-Chicago (18-4, 8-0 Horizon League) is making its 13th consecutive NCAA appearance. The Flames won their 15th straight Horizon League Championship two weeks ago, defeating Cleveland State 4-1.

The No. 8-seeded Stanford men (18-5), with junior Bradley Klahn leading the way, will open against Army on May 13 at 2 p.m. In an earlier match, Cal Poly will face Washington at 11 a.m. The winners will meet on May 14 at 3 p.m.

Army (13-11, 6-0 Patriot League) is making its fifth NCAA Championship appearance and first since 2006. The Black Knights are 0-4 all-time in postseason play.

All NCAA first- and second-round matches are played at campus sites. The final 16 teams square off on the Stanford campus beginning Thursday, May 19. The national championship matches are set for Tuesday, May 24, with the men's final at 12 p.m. and the women's title match at 4 p.m.

The Stanford women will be making their 30th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance when first-round competition gets underway at campus sites next weekend.

It's been another dominating season for Stanford, ranked No. 1 in the latest edition of the national ITA rankings and awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason draw. The Cardinal is the only unbeaten team in Division I and has won 42 consecutive contests overall dating to its last loss, a 6-1 setback at UCLA on Feb. 26, 2010.

Stanford has not played a dual match since defeating California 5-2 back on April 16 to capture the Pac-10 title. The Cardinal has won the Pac-10 title outright or claimed at least a share of the hardware in every season since 1987, with the exception of 2009.

Stanford owns a 115-14 record in the postseason since the NCAA Tournament went to its present format in 1982. During that time, Stanford has won 16 of 29 possible NCAA team titles, including last year's crown with a 4-3 victory over Florida in Athens, Ga.

Playing on its home court for potentially six matches should provide Stanford with a decisive advantage. Thanks to a 6-1 win over St. Mary's back on April 14, Stanford extended its eye-popping NCAA-record home winning streak to 179 matches (147 regular season, 32-0 NCAA Tournament). Stanford's last home loss occurred on Feb. 27, 1999, when No. 4 California pulled a 5-4 upset.

The 16 national seeds for the NCAA Championships on the women's side are as follows: No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Duke, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Miami, No. 8 Georgia, No. 9 California, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 Virginia, No. 12 Florida State, No. 13 Tennessee, No. 14 Georgia Tech, No. 15 Clemson and No. 16 Northwestern.

The Stanford men will be making its 33rd all-time NCAA Tournament appearance when first-round competition gets underway at campus sites.

Despite being ranked No. 7 in the latest edition of the national ITA rankings, the Cardinal has been tabbed as the No. 8 overall seed in the postseason draw.

Stanford is riding a 10-match winning streak, its longest stretch since a similar run in 2003. The Cardinal solidified its status as the Pac-10's second-place team behind defending national champion USC with a 4-3 victory over California back on April 23. Stanford's last loss was March 25 against USC.

Stanford owns a 97-16 record in the postseason since the NCAA Tournament went to its present format in 1977. During that time, Stanford has won 15 NCAA team titles, with the most recent crown coming back in 2000 after defeating VCU 4-0.

The 16 national seeds for the NCAA Championships on the men's side are as follows: No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 USC, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 11 Duke, No. 12 UCLA, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 California, No. 15 Georgia Tech and No. 16 North Carolina.

Ticket prices for three-day all-session tickets (May 13-15) are as follows: $20 (reserved), $15 (adult/general admission) and $10 (student/child/senior general admission). Single-day tickets are priced as follows: $8 (reserved), $6 (adult/general admission) and $4 (student/child/senior general admission). Students must show a valid school ID. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting www.gostanford.com.

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