Stanford senior Carolyn McVeigh and Northwestern's Stacey Lee kept swinging until the early hours of Saturday morning.
The top-seeded and undefeated Cardinal women's tennis team needed every ounce of tenacity McVeigh could provide to beat visiting Northwestern, 4-2, in the Round of 16 of the NCAA team tournament.
The match started Friday night, late because of earlier, competitive matches. It was a grind, the kind of grind that makes you think of a good cup of coffee.
McVeigh's final point, the clincher, came at 1:34 a.m., earning Stanford (26-0) a spot in Sunday's quarterfinals against Georgia at 4 p.m.
"We just had to stick with it coming down to the last two matches," Stanford coach Lele Forood said. "Carolyn played an awesome third set and really took care of it. It was just an awesome match."
The Bulldogs survived their own brand of torture in edging California, 4-3.
Stanford was in trouble for a bit after losing the doubles point. Nicole Gibbs and Mallory Burdette, at Nos. 3 and 2 singles, respectively, got the Cardinal back on track with relatively quick matches.
Hilary Barte, at No. 1 singles, took awhile to claim her match and helped Stanford extend its consecutive home winning streak to 182 games.
Playing without Kristie Ahn, McVeigh was thrust into the limelight. Ahn suffered a sprained ankle, though she could be ready to go at any moment after missing the first three rounds of the tournament.
"Carolyn kept up her aggressiveness and really went for her forehand," Forood said. "That is what we really like to see from her and actually her serve was really good, too. Her whole game was more offensive and that is good for her."
McVeigh and Veronica Li were both in the third set when the match finally came to an end. Li was at match point in the second set, in which she eventually lost in a tie-breaker.