Consider it a bonus weekend. Some of the top college women's tennis players in the nation will showcase their talents this Friday through Tuesday at Stanford.
For the eighth straight season, Taube Family Tennis Stadium will serve as the host site for the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships when play gets underway this weekend.
Representing Stanford in both singles and doubles are: Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle, Krista Hardebeck, Lindsey Kostas, Ellen Tsay and Carol Zhao.
Kristie Ahn defeated Jenny Jullien of St. Mary's 6-4, 6-2 to capture the 2013 singles crown. It was the fourth consecutive year a Stanford player had claimed the tournament hardware, following Krista Hardebeck (2012), Nicole Gibbs (2011) and Ahn (2010).
Last year's doubles final was an all-Stanford affair, with Davidson and Tsay edging Ahn and Zhao, 8-6. It was the third doubles championship in as many years for Tsay, who teamed with Stacey Tan in 2011 and 2012.
In addition to Stanford, the ITA's Northwest Region schools are comprised of the following: California, Cal Poly, Eastern Washington, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Oregon, Pacific, Portland, Portland State, Sacramento State, St. Mary's, San Francisco, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Seattle, UC Davis, Washington and Washington State.
Friday's action begins at 8:30 a.m. with the first two rounds of singles and the opening slate of doubles. The competition continues Saturday with two more rounds on both sides with the quarterfinals set for Sunday. Semifinals for singles and doubles are contested Monday, before the championship matches on Tuesday.
The Stanford men's tennis team, meanwhile, will send a handful of players to the Battle of the Bay, an individual tournament in San Francisco.
There's never a break in the Pac-12 and this weekend is no different. Top-ranked Stanford (14-0, 4-0 Pac-12) travels to the desert this week to face No. 16 Arizona (15-2, 4-1) on Friday at 8 p.m. in Tucson, and No. 18 Arizona State (12-4, 2-2) on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Tempe.
The Wildcats are coming off a sweep of California on Wednesday night. They are led by Madi Kingdon, the conference's active all-time kills leader with 1,593. Standford's Madi Bugg is the active leader in assists and Kyle Gilbert leads in digs.
Arizona leads the Pac-12 in digs (16.06) and ranks fourth in kills (14.48) and assists (13.40).
Middle blocker Merete Lutz was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after hitting .639 and averaging 3.43 kills and 3.71 points per set in wins over then-No. 11 Oregon and Oregon State. She led the team with 13 kills and four blocks against the Ducks and hit a career high .714 (11-1-14) against the Beavers.
Men's water polo
Nationally No. 2-ranked Stanford (12-1) returns to action this weekend at the SoCal Tournament hosted by UCLA. The Cardinal opens with No. 16 LMU on Saturday at 8 a.m. A win would move Stanford on to face the winner of No. 7 Pacific and No. 10 Princeton at 3:05 p.m.
The losers of the two games will meet in the consolation quarterfinals at 1:40 p.m. The Cardinal's games on Saturday will be at Sunset Canyon Family Pool and a pair of wins would move Stanford's contests Sunday to Spieker Aquatics Center. Each of the nation's top 12 teams will be in attendance.
The Cardinal opened its home and MPSF slate with a 12-6 win over No. 9 UC Irvine at Avery Aquatic Center last week. BJ Churnside was successful on all four of his shot attempts, as Stanford won its conference opener for the first time since 2011. On Sunday, Bret Bonanni scored a season-high five goals to lead the Cardinal to a 17-5 victory at No. 11 UC Davis.
Stanford sophomore goalkeeper Drew Holland was named MPSF/Kap7 Player of the Week on Monday for his performances in the Cardinal's weekend victories against No. 9 UC Irvine and No. 11 UC Davis. He totaled 25 saves, a career-high 17 coming against Irvine.
Stanford is off to its best start since winning 19 of its first 20 games in 2009.