By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
The Stanford women's tennis team is ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Cardinal is 21-0 with a 7-0 mark in the Pac-10 Conference. The program has won 178 consecutive home matches since last falling at the Taube Family Tennis Center in 1999.
All those remarkable statistics were made possible following Stanford's 5-2 victory over No. 23 Washington on Saturday as the Cardinal continue to perfect its perfection.
With only one more home match – Wednesday against St. Mary's – on its schedule before the NCAA Tournament gets under way in May, Stanford appears to have very little to improve upon.
Head coach Lele Forood, however, says otherwise.
"We have to continue to get better in doubles," Forood said Saturday. "We were efficient in doubles today, but that doesn't mean we can't get better. And, I don't think Hilary and Mallory think they're playing their best right now.
"You certainly don't want to feel too good in the second week of April."
After Stanford had clinched the match at 5-0, No. 1 Hilary Barte and No. 2 Mallory Burdette were still playing. The nationally No. 4-ranked Barte wound up dropping a 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6) decision to No. 5 Denise Dy and the No. 22 Burdette fell to No. 20 Venise Chan, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 10-8.
The loss by Barte ruined an otherwise perfect day as she and fellow seniors Carolyn McVeigh and Jennifer Yen were honored prior to the match on Senior Day. During their time on The Farm, the three players have chalked up an overall record of 88-11 while capturing one NCAA team championship (2010) and two Pac-10 titles (2008, 2010).
Washington (2-6,12-10) was swept on its Bay Area road trip and is now idle until the Pac-10 Championships begin on Apr. 28 in Ojai.
Stanford remained unbeaten on the year and has now won 40 consecutive contests overall dating to its last loss -- a 6-1 setback at UCLA in late February of last year.
Meanwhile, Stanford extended its NCAA-record home winning streak to 178 consecutive matches (146 regular season, 32 NCAA Tournament). The streak spans 12 seasons and is recognized as the longest active home winning streak among all sports in Division I athletics. 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.
Stanford claimed the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, sweeping all three spots of the lineup. Convincing victories by freshman Nicole Gibbs (6-2, 6-0 at No. 4) and sophomore Stacey Tan (6-1, 6-0 at No. 5) gave the Cardinal a 3-0 lead before McVeigh closed out a successful Senior Day by providing the clincher in the form of a 6-0, 6-2 win at the No. 6 position.
Despite being 21-0, Forood isn't surprised by her team's success.
"No, we expected to be good," she said. "Last year was pretty wide open, but things broke correctly for us."
Stanford got by a tough Baylor team in the quarterfinals and went on to win the national title in a season where the Cardinal wasn't even ranked No. 1. When Gibbs and Kristie Ahn arrived in the fall, Forood knew her team had a good chance of defending its national title.
Forood acknowledged that her freshman standouts have been "good as expected."
If there has been any surprise this season, Forood said, it was her team winning the National Indoor Championship.
"I didn't think we could go to indoors and win it," Forood said.
Now, the Cardinal knows just how good it is and needs to keep moving forward to prove it. Stanford will have that opportunity when the men's and women's programs host the NCAA Championships from May 19-30.
Ninth-ranked Stanford extended its season-high winning streak to six, beating host Oregon, 6-1, Saturday in a Pac-10 match.
Stanford (4-1, 14-5) completes the regular season with four consecutive home matches, including three against nonconference opponents.
The Cardinal set the tone early on, sweeping all three spots during the doubles competition.
Straight-set victories by Ryan Thacher (6-1, 6-1 at No. 2) and Denis Lin (6-4, 6-0 at No. 4) put Stanford on the verge of clinching the match, before Bradley Klahn made it official with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph on court one.
Stanford hosts Boise State Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
Women's water polo
Melissa Seidemann scored the go-ahead goal, with an assist from Kim Kruger, in the fourth period as top-ranked Stanford rallied to beat visiting Hawai'i, 10-8, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game Saturday night.
Annika Dries led the Cardinal (5-0, 21-0) with three goals. Jillian Garton, Kaley Dodson and Seidemann each added two goals.
Stanford travels to California next Saturday for the Big Splash at 7 p.m. The winner will claim the top seed at the upcoming MPSF tournament.
Danielle Miller hit a three-run home run and Corey Hanewich added a solo shot as Stanford beat host UCLA, 6-2, Saturday night for its first Pac-10 Conference win.
Ashley Hansen had four hits, including two doubles, and scored twice for the Cardinal (1-4, 25-8), which rebounded from Friday night's tough 14-inning loss. Miller had two hits and drove in four runs in the game.
Stanford and UCLA complete the three-game set with a Sunday matinee.
Ashley Chinn (12-2), who lost the extra-inning affair in relief, came back with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, nine-hit pitching. She walked three and struck out four.
Teagan Gerhart, who pitched 13 innings the previous day, got the final four outs for her second save of the season.
Jordan Pries pitched a seven-hitter over 6 1/3 innings but Stanford dropped a 3-1 deision to host USC in a Pac-10 game Saturday night.
Tyler Gaffney, Stephen Piscotty and Zach Jones each collected two hits for the Cardinal (3-2, 15-8), which finishes the series with a Sunday afternoon affair against the Trojans.
Kenny Diekroeger went hitless in four at bats to end his hitting streak at 16 games.
Spencer McLachlin recorded 10 kills, Brad Lawson had nine kills and 12 digs and Stanford beat host UCLA, 25-18, 25-18, 25-17, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Saturday night.
Eric Mochalski added nine kills with a .562 hitting percentage and Evan barry had 31 assists for the Cardinal (14-7, 18-8), which ends the regular season next Saturday with an MPSF match at Pacific.
Stanford rests in first place after the first of two days of racing at the Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference's coed championships, leading the 12-team field by 22 points over the first eight races.
Neither division finished lower than fifth in any of the combined 14 races.
The A Division, skippered by freshman Mateo Vargas, never finished lowered than third over the first seven races, winning two races and finishing second another four times for a low of 18 points. UCLA is the nearest competitor, nine points behind.
In the B Division, Kevin Laube has skippered the Cardinal to 18 points over six races, best in the division following a first and second place showing in the final two races. The B Division scored top-five finishes in all six races.
The two teams combined for 36 points, as UC Santa Barbara is second with 58 points. Stanford is the defending conference champion in all three events, coed, team and women.