Sports

Cardinal women reach NCAA tennis semifinals

 

The Stanford women's tennis team made a smooth path for itself into the NCAA semifinals Sunday, taking care of Georgia, 4-0, in a quarterfinal match at the Taube Family Tennis Center.

Next up is a semifinal matchup on Monday at 4 p.m. against Baylor (29-3), which outlasted North Carolina, 4-3, in the quarterfinals. In the latest chapter of what has become a fierce postseason rivalry, Stanford knocked off Baylor 4-2 last year during its NCAA title run. But the Bears ended the Cardinal's season during the two previous years at the NCAA Championships.

The only remaining unbeaten team in Division I, Stanford extended its NCAA-record home winning streak to 183 matches (147 regular season, 36 NCAA Tournament), with its last loss coming back on Feb. 27, 1999 in a 5-4 setback against California.

Meanwhile, Stanford has now won 46 straight matches dating to its last loss, a 6-1 defeat at UCLA on Feb. 26, 2010.

UCLA and Florida meet in the other semifinal on Monday. The sixth-seeded Bruins upset No. 3 Duke, 4-3, while the second-seeded Gators downed Miami, 4-1.

The men's semifinals will be contested at noon Monday, with No. 2 USC and No. 6 Georgia meeting in one semifinal and top-ranked and unbeaten Virginia taking on Ohio State.

Both teams were coming off tough matches Friday night. Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson came from behind in the third set to beat Cal's Jana Juricova, the nation's No. 1 player, at No. 1 singles and clinch the victory for the Bulldogs.

Juricova, who beat Gullickson to win the NCAA singles title last year, held a 4-1 lead at one point in the final set.

Stanford's No. 5 player, Carolyn McVeigh, clinched Stanford's 4-2 win over Northwestern. The match ended Saturday morning at 1:34 a.m.

McVeigh didn't even have to finish her match Sunday as Stacey Tan, Hilary Barte and Nicole Gibbs (who clinched the win) all made quick work of their opponents in singles after a quick win for the doubles point.

Kristie Ahn played for the first time in three weeks. She was losing at No. 4 singles when the match ended, but her appearance gave the Cardinal its regular order. Tan and McVeigh both played up during the first three rounds.

Tan took a 6-0, 6-0 win over Cameron Ellis, Barte beat Gullickson, 6-1, 6-4 and Gibbs handled Maho Kowase, 6-2, 6-3 as Stanford won its 183rd consecutive home match.

"We came out and here and had a great regional," Georgia coach Jeff Wallace said. "We had one of our best matches of the year against Alabama and then won a thriller with Cal-Berkeley. Stanford really picked it up and won the doubles point and then came out and played fantastic in singles. That is all there is to it."

Four of the six singles matches featured players on both sides who are currently ranked in the top 100. Barte and Gullickson have each reached the singles championship match.

2011 NCAA TEAM TENNIS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, MAY 23

Men's and women's semifinals

Noon -- USC men vs. Georgia (Taube South)

Noon -- Virginia men vs. Ohio State (Taube Stadium)

4 p.m. -- UCLA women vs. Florida (Taube South)

4 p.m. -- Stanford women vs. Baylor (Taube Stadium)

TUESDAY, MAY 24

Championship Matches

Noon -- Men's finals (Taube Stadium)

4 p.m. -- Women's finals (Taube Stadium)

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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