Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 5, 2013

NCAA champion Stanford women have No. 1 tennis class

Two Cardinal women will play in field hockey's Junior World Cup for U.S. and Canada

Fresh off its 18th national championship (17 NCAA, 1 AIAW), the Stanford women's tennis team appears well-positioned to defend its title next season and continue its dominance as the sport's top program.

The Cardinal's three-member recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to spring rankings from TennisRecruiting.net through the month of June.

Arriving on The Farm next fall is the stellar trio of Taylor Davidson (Statesville, N.C.), Caroline Doyle (San Francisco) and Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada).

The group totaled 468 points from TennisRecruiting.net's media poll, comprised of panelists covering junior tennis throughout the country. Schools received 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 point for each second-place vote, on down to one point for each 25th-place vote. Trailing behind are No. 2 North Carolina (452 points) and No. 3 Northwestern (405).

Stanford's lineup will look different next year, with the early departure of junior Nicole Gibbs (turned professional) and losses of seniors Natalie Dillon and Stacey Tan to graduation. But the Cardinal returns key regulars Kristie Ahn, Krista Hardebeck and Ellen Tsay, along with the arrival of its seventh consecutive top-10 recruiting class and first group to be ranked No. 1 in the country since 2009.

Davidson and Doyle check in as top-five fixtures in the recruiting rankings, compiling numerous wins in national championship and ITF tournaments. Davidson posted a 4-0 record at last summer's National Team Championships, while Doyle reached the Round of 16 in the 2012 US Open Juniors. Zhao, Canada's top player who captured this year's Australian Open junior doubles title, is ranked No. 15 in the ITF juniors with four wins in 2012 grand slam events.

The most storied program in college tennis, Stanford defeated No. 3 Texas A&M in a 4-3 thriller to capture the 2013 NCAA crown. No. 12 Stanford (22-4, 8-2 Pac-12) became the lowest-seeded team to win an NCAA title, also knocking off No. 5 USC, No. 4 Georgia and No. 1 Florida along the way. The championship also extended Stanford's record streak of 37 years in a row with at least one NCAA title and paved the way for a 19th consecutive Directors' Cup.

Field hockey

Stanford's Kelsey Harbin and Maddie Secco have earned roster spots with their respective U21 women's field hockey national teams and will compete in the Junior World Cup in late July.

Held every four years, the Junior World Cup represents the top international event for elite field hockey athletes under the age of 21. The tournament runs July 27-Aug. 4 in Monchengladbach, Germany.

Harbin, a rising junior who was a member of the third-place USA squad at the Junior Pan American Championships last September in Guadalajara, Mexico, is one of 18 players on the U.S. team.

Harbin's selection process for the Junior World Cup team spanned over four events, including the Women's National Championship, U-21 Women's National Championship, Futures Elite Championship and National Futures Championship. From the four events, 34 players were selected to attend Junior National Camp before the final squad was trimmed to 18, plus three replacement athletes.

A sophomore-to-be, Secco locked up a spot on Canada's roster, following an intense preparation period that included performances in the National Identification and Development Camp, U21 Argentinian Training Camp & Test Series and Senior Nationals.

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