Winners of five straight, the Stanford men's tennis team carries momentum into this weekend's Southern California road swing.
The Cardinal (6-2) will need every bit of it, visiting two of the Pac-12's best teams in No. 1 USC (Friday, 1 p.m.) and No. 21 UCLA (Saturday, 1 p.m.).
Friday's match at USC will be televised on Pac-12 Networks, with doubles play beginning at 1 p.m. and the start of singles play and the actual telecast slated for 2:30 p.m.
USC, which has won five of the past six NCAA titles, has won eight in a row against Stanford. The Cardinal's most recent win was 4-3 triumph on Feb. 19, 2011 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
The road swing concludes on Sunpay against UCLA, which has dropped three of its last four overall but is unbeaten in five home matches.
Stanford's winning streak stretched to five following Tuesday's 7-0 shutout of Hawaii. Three days earlier, the Cardinal notched its biggest victory of the season with a 4-3 upset at No. 14 California.
The Cardinal continues to be led by freshman Tom Fawcett, who has compiled a team-best 18 victories to move up to No. 26 in the national rankings. Fawcett did not play against Hawaii but is expected to be back in the lineup for this weekend's road trip.
Nolan Paige (16-8 overall, 5-2 duals) and David Wilczynski (15-6 overall, 6-1 duals) are right behind Fawcett in singles play. Stanford's No. 2 doubles team of Fawcett and Maciek Romanowicz is ranked No. 49 in the country.
Stanford will participate in the Pacific Coast Doubles tournament next weekend and returns to dual-match play on March 23 against Nevada.
Nationally No. 7 Stanford officially will kick off Pac-12 play next weekend, attempting to navigate through the traditional gauntlet of high-stakes matches in one of the nation's top conferences.
Not that the nonconference portion of its schedule has provided any rest. The Cardinal is 7-1 overall, quite an accomplishment considering all of its opponents to date have been ranked No. 54 or higher, including four among the top 20.
Next up is an early season clash on Sunday (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) against visiting No. 8 California (6-2), and there's always plenty at stake when the Bay Area rivals meet in the latest edition of the Big Slam. The first meeting is considered a nonconference dual, with the rematch on April 18 in Berkeley representing the Pac-12 counting match.
Stanford has won 10 of the past 12 meetings overall, including a thrilling 4-3 victory in last season's NCAA Tournament Round of 16 after the schools won on each other's home court during the regular season.
Stanford opened its season with seven straight victories before suffering its first loss on Sunday at No. 2 Florida. The Gators extended their home winning streak to 138 consecutive matches, but the Cardinal made them work by rallying from a 3-1 deficit and nearly pulling off the upset before Brianna Morgan edged Caroline Doyle in the deciding match.
The Cardinal is represented with four players in the national singles rankings this week. Carol Zhao, ranked No. 4 in the country, is 17-2 overall, 8-0 in duals and has won eight matches in a row. Taylor Davidson, ranked No. 13 in the nation, owns a team-best 18-5 overall record and is riding a seven-match winning streak in duals. Ranked No. 22, Doyle is 17-4 overall and 7-1 in duals. Joining the sophomore trio in the rankings is Ellen Tsay, checking in at No. 118 thanks to her 11-5 overall record.
Davidson has been one of Stanford's most clutch players this season, clinching a team-high three matches while chalking up a 5-0 record in three-setters.
Two doubles teams are ranked among the nation's top-10: Davidson/Zhao (18-3 overall, 6-1 duals) check in at No. 3 while Doyle/Tsay (15-3 overall, 5-1 duals) are listed at No. 10.