By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Senior Hilary Barte won her match at the top of the singles ladder to clinch top-ranked Stanford's 5-2 victory over visiting UCLA in a nonconference women's tennis match Saturday.
"I feel like I'm playing the best I ever have," the nationally No. 5-ranked Barte said after her 6-4, 6-1 win over McCall Jones. "I'm just having more fun, and I'm physically and mentally stronger."
That certainly didn't come as good news to the Bruins (4-2), who entered play ranked fourth in the nation and were coming off a 4-3 loss Friday at No. 8 California.
After winning the doubles point, Stanford made quick work of UCLA, which had two players -- Jones at No. 1 and Noelle Hickey at No. 3 -- take injury timeouts.
Barte's win also gave the Cardinal (4-0) its 168th consecutive home victory, the longest home winning streak in NCAA Division I history in any sport. The streak spans 12 years, seven national championships and nine national championship match appearances.
The Cardinal has not lost at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium since a 5-4 setback against No. 4 California back on Feb. 27, 1999.
"We don't talk about it," Barte said. "But, it speaks a lot about the program."
Stanford sophomore Mallory Burdette returned to action after missing a pair of matches with shoulder problems. She paired with Barte to help win the doubles point and was first off the court in singles with a 6-0, 6-1 decision playing at No. 4 singles.
Freshman Nicole Gibbs, who reached the quarterfinals of an ITF event in Rancho Santa Fe before losing Friday, won at No. 3 singles in straight sets just ahead of Barte's clinching victory. Cardinal freshman Kristie Ahn won at the No. 2 singles position.
"It's still early in the season," Barte said of the importance of the win, "but we can take it as a lot of confidence."
Stanford hosts SMU in a nonconference match Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
Chad La Tourette won two grueling events and second-ranked Stanford handled No. 3 USC, 162-116, in a Pac-10 Conference meet Saturday.
John Criste, Bobby Bollier, Curtis Lovelace, Austin Staab, Alex Coville and Aaron Wayne also won events for the Cardinal (6-0), which travels to California on Feb. 19 for the final dual meet of the season.
La Tourette won the 1,650 free in 14:52.23 and came back to take the 500 free with a time of 4:25.47.
Criste swam the 100 breast in 55.27, Bollier went 1:45.81 in the 100 fly, Coville sprinted to the win in the 50 free in 19.79, Wayne won the 100 free in 43.75, Lovelace finished the 200 breast in 2:00.86 and Staab won the 100 fly in 48.05.
Stanford also swept the two relays, breaking a 13-year pool record in the 200 free relay. The team of Staab, Coville, Andrew Saeta and Wayne touched the wall with a time of 1:19.30, breaking the 1998 relay team time of 1:19.47.
Women's water polo
Annika Dries scored five goals and Sacred Heart Prep grad Vee Dunlevie added two as top-ranked Stanford downed visiting Arizona State, 10-1, in the first game of the Stanford Invitational on Saturday.
Alyssa Lo scored four goals and Dries added three more in Stanford's 10-5 win over California in the second game of the day.
The Cardinal (6-0) meets San Jose State on Sunday morning.
In other games featuring local players:
Sacred Heart Prep grad KK Clark scored four goals for UCLA in a 10-8 second-round loss to USC in Saturday's final game; SHP grad Lindsay Dorst was in goal for Cal in its loss to Stanford; Constance Hiller from Priory scored a goal for USC in its 9-1 opening-round win over Indiana; and SHP grad Adriana Vogt scored twice for San Jose State in its 14-10 first-round loss to Cal.
Evan Barry recorded 47 assists and fourth-ranked Stanford beat Loyola-Chicago, 18-25, 25-14, 25-22, 25-21, in nonconference action Saturday night.
The Cardinal (8-2) got 18 kills and a .448 hitting percentage from junior outside hitter Brad Lawson and 11 kills from Spencer McLachlin.
Loyola (5-3) hit a blazing .667 in the opening set and finished with a strong .466 to Stanford's .398. But the Cardinal was able to sideout with regularity, doing so at a 75 percent rate and squashing the Ramblers' attempts to string together runs.
Stanford returns home from snowy Chicago to conclude a travel odyssey of 9,227 miles that began on Jan. 20 and took the team to Hawaii, Los Angeles, back to Stanford, and off to Chicago during a seven-match, seven-city tour. The Cardinal went 5-2 during that span.
Stanford returns to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with home matches Friday and Saturday at Maples Pavilion, against UC San Diego and UC Irvine, respectively.
Stanford freshman Erik Olson captured the U.S. Junior Cross Country title on Saturday at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.
Olson finished the 8,000-meter course with a time of 24:48 to win in convincing fashion. He ran a 4:56 per mile pace to outdistance second-place Maxwell Straneva by nine seconds.
Olson is now eligible to compete for the United States at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain on March 20.
Stanford's Kate Niehaus placed 18th overall in the open women's race, covering the 8,000-meter course in 29:13.