Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 6, 2012

Burdette top nation in tennis rankings

Cardinal women host Oregon State in basketball; Schavone nominated to coach U.S. World Cup diving

by Rick Eymer

Stanford junior Mallory Burdette finds herself in an unusual position, but one coveted by any college tennis player in the nation. Burdette is the No. 1 singles player and part of the No. 1 doubles team following the first Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings of 2012.

After capturing the USTA/ITA National Summer Championships title, Burdette broke out this fall with a series of strong singles victories. The right-hander from Jackson, Ga., earned five fall wins over Top 15 players, defeating No. 4 Joanna Mather of Florida, No. 10 Denise Dy of Washington (twice), No. 12 Kristi Boxx of Ole Miss and No. 14 Diana Nakic of Baylor.

Burdette and sophomore teammate Nicole Gibbs, meanwhile, were ranked as the No. 1 doubles tandem.

Two weeks before they faced off in the Regional final, Gibbs and Burdette teamed to capture the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships doubles title. Along the way, they defeated the second-ranked team of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist (Georgia), the eighth-ranked team of Keri Wong and Josipa Bek (Clemson) and the 10th-ranked team of Allie Will and Sofie Oyen (Florida). Those victories, combined with a semifinal appearance at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, helped Gibbs and Burdette earn the No. 1 Campbell/ITA women's doubles ranking.

Not far behind Burdette in the singles rankings is Gullickson, a former NCAA singles champion who defeated three Florida Gators — Mather, Oyen and Lauren Embree — back-to-back-to-back to win the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championships.

One Gator Gullickson did not defeat this fall was Will, who won the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships in her lone appearance of the season to earn the No. 3 spot. Will's teammate Mather is No. 4 following her dramatic run to the final of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, during which she avenged her Regional loss to Gullickson.

Two players from the Northwest Region are tied at No. 5 in the Campbell/ITA women's singles rankings: reigning NCAA singles champion Jana Juricova of California and Stanford's Gibbs. In their only meeting of the fall, Gibbs edged Juricova in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships. She went on to beat her fellow Cardinal Burdette to win the title.

As in singles, Gullickson comes in at No. 2 in doubles, playing alongside Gilchrist. The Bulldogs finished the fall with a 10-1 record, dropping only the All-American semifinal to Gibbs and Burdette. At No. 3 are USC sophomore Kaitlyn Christian and freshman Sabrina Santamaria, who made good on their at-large selection by winning the title at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

Rounding out the Top 5 Campbell/ITA women's doubles rankings are Kristi Boxx and Abby Guthrie of Ole Miss and Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish duo delivered Gibbs and Burdette their only loss of the season in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

There were no changes among the women's teams that finished in the top five of the 2010-11 Campbell/ITA year-end rankings, with 2011 NCAA champion Florida, 2011 NCAA runner-up Stanford, Duke, North Carolina and UCLA appearing in that order.

In the men's team rankings, Stanford is No. 6 behind reigning NCAA champ USC and national runner-up Virginia. Ohio State is No. 3, followed by No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Baylor.

In singles, Stanford's Ryan Thacher is ranked No. 37, due to his inactivity in the fall. Teammate Bradley Klahn, who took the fall season off, is unranked. Stanford has no doubles teams ranked among the top 50, but that will change once the Cardinal begins playing in the spring.

Basketball

The Stanford men and women will wrap up the second week of the Pac-12 season on Saturday with games against Oregon State.

The No. 4-ranked Stanford women (2-0, 11-1 before Thursday) will host the Beavers on Saturday at 2 p.m., while the unranked Cardinal men face host OSU at 7 p.m.

Both Stanford teams, who played their Oregon counterparts on Thursday night, swept their USC and UCLA opponents last weekend.

The Cardinal women romped to a 77-50 victory over host UCLA after getting by USC, 61-53. Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the way in both victories and was leading the Padc-12 in scoring (23 ppg) and rebounds (11.3 rpg) heading into Thursday's showdown with Oregon.

Ogwumike needs 18 rebounds in the two games this week to reach 1,000 for her career, making her just the fifth player in Stanford history to reach that number.

The Stanford men began this week 2-0 in the Pac-12 and 12-2 overall after edging UCLA, 60-59, and getting by USC, 51-43 last weekend.

Diving

Stanford diving coach Dr. Rick Schavone has been nominated to be the head coach for the U.S. Diving team for its February World Cup meet in London featuring Stanford graduate Cassidy Krug and freshman Kristian Ipsen. The meet will serve as an Olympic qualifier.

Schavone, now in his 34th year at Stanford, is a three-time NCAA diving coach of the year and seven-time Pac-10 Diving Coach of the Year. An impressive resume since he took over the program in the late 1970's, he has coached 89 All-Americans and 38 Pac-10 champions.

Men's volleyball

Stanford will open its season ranked No. 4 in the both the AVCA coaches' poll and Volleyball Magazine rankings.

The Cardinal (19-9 in 2011) will unveil its team by playing host to Thompson Rivers of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, on Friday at Maples Pavilion and Saturday at Burnham Pavilion in exhibition matches beginning at 7 p.m.

The consensus top two choices among both national polls and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation coaches' poll, is BYU at No. 1 and UC Irvine at No. 2.

The national polls both have UCLA No. 3 and Stanford No. 4, though the MPSF coaches predicted a third-place Stanford finish, with the Bruins just behind.

Stanford returns six of its seven starters, including three-time AVCA first-team All-America libero Erik Shoji and two-time first-team outside hitter Brad Lawson, the co-MVP of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

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