As most of you know, Coach Dick Gould is retiring at the end of this season as our mens tennis coach after an unparalleled 38-year career. His teams have won a record 17 NCAA titles during his reign. This years squad is 16-7 and seeded 10th in the NCAA tournament after an injury-plagued season. However, it appears that all the players are healed and peaking as the NCAA tournament begins.
The men will begin play on Saturday at noon against Pacific, formerly known as the University of the Pacific until their marketing departments brilliant decision to officially re-brand our current Athletic Directors alma maters name. We can only assume that UOPs name change must have inspired Syracuse to alter their nickname from Orangemen to Orange. Either way, the Tigers should expect a royal smoking on Saturday as their top player, Lennart Maack (from Doverden, Germany), is only #68 in the latest NCAA rankings.
Sundays probable opponent is the University of Washington. The Huskies have enjoyed a strong season with a 14-8 record, a #23 ranking and are favored to beat New Mexico in their first round match. UW is led a pair of players who hail from Yugoslavia. Alex Vlaski plays in the #1 slot and sports a #10 national ranking. However, Stanfords #1 singles player, Sam Warburg, dominated Vlaski 6-4, 6-2 in a dual match at Stanford in late March. The Cardinal prevailed 6-1 in that match. The Huskies #2 player is Alex Slovic, ranked #25. KC Corkery, #2 in the Cardinal lineup, defeated Slovic 7-5 in the third set in that March dual match.
The matchup with Washington will be a stiff test for Stanford and coach Goulds squad will need all as much home-town support as possible. Just two years ago, the Huskies upset Stanford in a 2nd round match at Taube. It was the first time ever that Washington had defeated Stanford in mens tennis.
Should the Cardinal advance, they will ravel to Tulsa, OK next weekend and probably face 7th seeded Florida in the round of 16. A showdown with the #2 USC Trojans would be likely in the quarters. Illinois is the top seed and on the opposite side of the draw. The Illini are likely to face #4 UCLA in the semis.
Probable Stanford Lineup:
#1: Sam Warburg (#8 ranking, 19-3 dual match
#2: K.C. Corkery (#65, 12-10)
#3: James Wan (#102, 23-1)
#4: James Pade(11-7)
#5: Phil Sheng (11-10)
#6: Carter Morris (12-9)
#1: Warburg/Morris (#34, 8-3)
#2: Corkery/Sheng (2-3)
#3: Wan/Pade (9-4)
Despite their #1 ranking and undefeated record of 23-0, the NCAA selection committee relegated the womens team to a #2 seed (behind Florida). They will begin play on Friday at 2 p.m. against Quinnipiac University, a school located in Hamden, CT. Coach Lele Foroods team should have no problems disposing of the Lady Bobcats. Although Quinnipiac posted a 16-4 dual match record, there appears to be no quality wins on the ledger and a couple of dubious losses (2-5 against University of San Francisco and 0-7 against Dartmouth). Danielle Rautenberg, Quinnipiacs senior co-captain, didnt sound too optimistic about the Lady Bobcats draw: Its great to end our senior year with a match like this.
Stanfords second round opponent on Saturday a 3 p.m. would likely be 26th ranked Michigan. The lady Wolverines are favored to prevail over the University of Denver in the first round. Michigan features 56th ranked Michelle DaCosta at #1 singles and #83 Elizabeth Exon in the second singles slot. The Wolverines are 16-6 on the season and their best win came back in late February when they bested #24 Tennessee 4-3. There is added incentive for Stanford to defeat Michigan on Saturday. At the end of the Winter standings, the Wolverines held a slight edge over Stanford in the race for Directors Cup, which Stanford has won nine consecutive years. But, the Cardinal should have no problems with Big Blue and thereby advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, GA next weekend.
Stanford is likely to face #15 Kentucky in the round of 16 and perhaps #7 Duke in the quarters. Vanderbilt is seeded #3 and could be Stanfords semifinal opponent. Florida was given the top seed and the Cardinal is itching for some revenge after last years bitter 4-3 loss to the Gators in the NCAA finals. This year, both teams are undefeated entering post-season play and the likely Stanford-Florida showdown in the finals could be a classic.
Probable Stanford Lineup:
#1: Amber Liu (#7 ranking, 15-4 dual match
#2: Alice Barnes (#10, 22-1)
#3: Erin Burdette (#23, 17-2)
#4: Lauren Barnikow (#56, 23-0)
#5: Theresa Logar (#40, 22-0)
#6: Emilia Anderson (#60, 17-2)
#1: Barnikow/Burdette (#1, 20-1)
#2: Barnes/Liu (17-3)
#3: Anderson/Anne Yelsey (#56, 18-2)
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