With their respective NCAA tournaments getting under way in just two weeks, the Stanford men's and women's tennis teams will make their final tuneups at the Pac-10 Championships that begin Thursday in Ojai. The four-day tourney will provide a golden opportunity for at least two Stanford players.
Stanford junior Bradley Klahn and Cardinal senior Hilary Barte have a little unfinished business to take care of this weekend. Both lost in their respective singles finals at last season's Pac-10s.
Klahn fell in the finals to USC's Robert Farrah, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) while Barte dropped a 6-4, 7-5 decision to Yasmin Schnack of UCLA. Barte and partner Lindsay Burdette also lost in the doubles finale.
Klahn heads into this week's conference event ranked No. 9 in the country while Barte comes in No. 3. Barte and sophomore Mallory Burdette are ranked No. 2 nationally in doubles, the same ranking that Klahn and Ryan Thacher earned in this week's Campbell/ITA College Tennis Ranking.
Both Stanford teams are ranked higher this season than last prior to Pac-10s. The men, No. 7 last season, are No. 6 after moving up two spots. The women, No. 9 at this point last year, are No. 1 with a 23-0 mark.
Barte and Burdette head into Pac-10s after suffering upsets at the No. 1 and 2 singles positions during an 8-4 exhibition victory over the USTA Junior National Team last Friday at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Barte dropped a 6-4, 7-5 decision to Krista Hardebeck, the nation's No. 1-ranked junior from Santa Ana. Hardebeck has narrowed her college choices down to Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA.
Burdette, meanwhile, lost a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9) match to 14-year-old Gabby Andrews, an eighth-grader from Pomona.
Stanford sophomores Kristina Wong and Sally Watson both earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors on Tuesday, as Wong was named to the second team while Watson picked up honorable mention accolades.
Wong leads Stanford in stroke average and has five top-10 finishes to her credit this season. She placed in the top-5 in five consecutive events before placing 19th at last week's Pac-10 Championships.
Watson, a second team honoree last season, has carved out a 74.4 stroke average in her nine events this season, with her best showing coming at the 36-hole Peg Barnard Invitational, where she finished tied for fourth. She also finished 12th at the Pac-10 Championships in Tempe.
Ashley Hansen collected four hits, including a home run, and drove in a pair of runs as Stanford beat host UC Davis, 6-0, in a nonconference game Tuesday night.
Teagan Gerhart and Ashley Chinn combined on a two-hitter. The pitchers combined to strike out six and did not walk a batter.
The Cardinal (33-10) host Washington in a Pac-10 series beginning Friday night.
Stephen Piscotty had two hits and drove in a run and Zach Jones added an RBI double but Stanford fell to host St. Mary's, 3-2, in a nonconference game Tuesday night.
The loss was Stanford's first in a mid-week game after nine straight wins.
The Cardinal (20-14) hopes for a better result this weekend when it travels to Tempe for a three-game Pac-10 series with Arizona State beginning Friday night.
The Cardinal opens the postseason this weekend with the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament.
Stanford (14-2, 6-0 MPSF) is the top seed and will be looking to secure the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament by winning a pair of games.
Stanford faces California (9-7, 3-3 MPSF) in the semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m. If it advances, Stanford would take on the winner of Denver (7-10, 5-1 MPSF) and Oregon (7-8, 4-2 MPSF) in the final that will take place on Sunday, May 1, also at 1 p.m.