Sports


Stanford men, women both will play in NCAA tennis tourneys

 

The Stanford men's and women's tennis teams will continue their impressive history in NCAA competition when both squads head into the opening round of their respective national tournaments next week.

The Cardinal men (17-6), ranked No. 26 nationally, will be will be making their 36th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance when first-round competition gets underway. Stanford will face No. 40 Tennessee (14-12) in its opener on May 8 in Durham, N.C.

The Cardinal women (15-5) will be making their 34th consecutive postseason appearance when they playe host to the opening two rounds. Stanford, ranked No. 13 in the country but awarded the No. 14 overall seed in the postseason draw, will host Stony Brook (15-1) in its NCAA opener on May 8.

Taube Family Tennis Stadium will play host to NCAA first- and second-round competition on May 8-9. All seats are general admission. Tickets are available starting on Wednesday, either in person, by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting www.gostanford.com. Phone orders will be available at will call.

The most storied program in college tennis with 17 NCAA championships, Stanford finished fourth in Pac-12 women's play while being ranked between No. 7-13 in the country throughout the season. The next edition of the rankings, which will be used throughout the postseason, will be released on Friday.

The Cardinal has pocketed signature wins against other NCAA Tournament teams such as Notre Dame, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Duke, Arizona State and Pepperdine. That being said, Stanford's five losses are definitely a rarity, the most setbacks since a 19-5 finish in 2009.

Stanford owns a 133-17 all-time record in the postseason since the NCAA Tournament went to its present format in 1982. Stanford must be considered a national championship contender regardless of seed. Two years ago, the 12th-seeded Cardinal became the lowest-seeded team to win an NCAA title, knocking off No. 5 USC, No. 4 Georgia and No. 1 Florida before knocking off No. 3 Texas A&M in the final. That championship also extended Stanford's record streak of 37 years in a row with at least one NCAA title and paved the way for a 19th consecutive Directors' Cup.

Incredibly, Stanford, which also captured the 2010 NCAA championship as a No. 8 seed, has won nine of its past 10 NCAA Tournament matches when seeded lower than its opponent.

All first- and second-round matches are played at campus sites. The final 16 teams square off at the NCAA Tennis Championships, hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, beginning May 14. The national championship matches are set for Tuesday, May 19.

At Stanford, No. 19 Pepperdine (17-6) will face No. 44 Auburn (16-13) on May 8 at 11 a.m. Stanford takes on Stony Brook at 2 p.m. The winners will meet on Saturday, May 9 at 1 p.m.

The Stanford men, meanwhile, will head to Duke territory. The Blue Devils, ranked No. 9 but the No. 10 overall seed, will host first- and second-round competition on May 8-9. The Blue Devils will play South Carolina State in the opening round. Should Stanford win, it will face the winner of that match.

Stanford will open NCAA Tournament play on the road for the third consecutive season. The Cardinal has dropped its first-round match in each of the past two seasons after back-to-back NCAA quarterfinal efforts in 2011-12.

Ranked between No. 24-43 throughout the season, Stanford completed one of its best seasons in recent memory, clinching a share of the Pac-12 regular-season championship for the first time since 2010. The Cardinal also reached the Pac-12 Tournament final for the first time in school history, falling 4-3 to defending NCAA champ USC.

Prior to a loss against California in the regular-season finale, Stanford had won 10 consecutive matches, its longest winning streak since ripping off 13 straight victories in 2011. I

n addition to its surprising Pac-12 regular-season finish, the Cardinal defeated UCLA and USC at home and owns two victories against California. Stanford's six losses have all come against teams ranked among the top 30.

Making this year's campaign even more impressive, the Cardinal showcases a singles lineup featuring three freshmen, led by rookie Tom Fawcett's team-leading 26-9 overall record.

Stanford owns a 103-20 all-time record in the postseason. The Cardinal has won 17 NCAA championships, including 15 since the NCAA Tournament went to its present format in 1977. The most recent crown came back in 2000, when Stanford blanked VCU, 4-0.

NCAA Individual Tournament

One day after the NCAA team brackets were announced, both Stanford tennis teams were well-represented among the singles and doubles selections for the 2015 NCAA Championships.

For the women, sophomores Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle and Carol Zhao, the event's No. 2 overall seed, will participate in the singles draw. Davidson and Zhao will team up in doubles as the tournament's No. 2 overall seed while Doyle and senior Ellen Tsay have received an at-large bid.

On the men's side, freshman Tom Fawcett has received an at-large entry. Seniors John Morrissey and Robert Stineman will represent the Cardinal in doubles as an at-large selection.

Only the selections were announced on Wednesday afternoon, while the individual brackets will be released in two weeks at the conclusion of the team competition.

The individual portion of the NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championship is scheduled for May 20-25 in Waco, Texas, with singles play kicking off on May 20 and the doubles competition getting underway on May 21.

— Stanford Athletics/Palo Alto Online Sports

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