Winners of four in a row, Stanford (7-5, 0-0 Pac-12) is about to face a serious step up in competition, hosting the USC and UCLA this weekend to close out a six-match homestand at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Nationally No. 2 USC (17-2, 0-0 Pac-12), which has won the past four NCAA team titles, visits The Farm on Friday for a 1:30 p.m. match.
On Saturday, No. 4 UCLA (14-1, 0-0 Pac-12) will be No. 49 Stanford's opponent during the first-ever televised match on the Pac-12 Networks. The doubles competition begins at 2:30 p.m., with the telecast joining in progress live at 4 p.m. and showcasing the singles matches on courts Nos. 1-3. Ted Robinson will handle play-by-play duties while Paul Goldstein, four-time All-American during his stellar Cardinal career from 1995-98, serves as the color analyst.
Stanford squared off against UCLA and USC in early February, falling 7-0 to the Bruins and 6-1 to the Trojans. However, this weekend's contests have been designated as the Pac-12 counting matches.
Stanford's current string of four consecutive wins comes on the heels of a four-match losing skid that pushed the Cardinal's overall record under the .500 mark for the first time in five years.
The Cardinal's starting singles lineup regularly includes four underclassmen, led by two nationally ranked players. Sophomore John Morrissey checks in at No. 54 in this week's ITA national rankings, compiling a 16-9 overall record and 6-4 mark in duals. Morrissey has played all of his matches at the top spot of the lineup.
Freshman Nolan Paige, who is ranked No. 88, has notched team-best records in overall play (19-9) and dual match competition (8-4) while appearing mostly in the Nos. 2-3 positions.
Stanford's seven victories have all come at home so far this year.
Stanford garnered three first-team and one second-team All-Pac-12 honors, as announced by the conference Wednesday. Ashley Morgan, Ivana Hong and Amanda Spinner received first-team recognition, while Nicole Dayton was named to the second team.
Stanford's winning streak ended after a sixth-place finish at 25-over-par 889, trailing the leader by 35 strokes in the final day of the Anuenue Spring Break Classic at the Kapalua Bay Course in Maui, Hawaii.
The Cardinal (294-299-296) shot three rounds over par, with only Mariah Stackhouse carding two under-par rounds. After posting three low rounds for Stanford, the freshman (69-74-71) tied for seventh at 2-under-par 214.
The nationally No. 14-ranked Stanford women's team enters arguably the most pivotal weekend of the dual-match season, riding the momentum of a season-high six-match winning streak.
Stanford (10-2, 4-0 Pac-12) will open its challenging Southern California road swing on Friday at No. 4 UCLA (13-2, 4-0 Pac-12) at 1:30 p.m. One day later, the Cardinal faces No. 6 USC (15-2, 4-0 Pac-12) at noon.
Women's water polo
Stanford senior Melissa Seidemann and freshman Maggie Steffens swept the KAP 7 MPSF Player and Newcomer of the Week awards, respectively, for their performances in No. 2 Stanford's 3-0 showing last weekend.