W. Tennis: Texas Takedown

Feb. 8, 2010, 1:24 a.m.

The No. 14 Stanford women’s tennis team (4-0) passed its first major test this season with flying colors as it took down No. 24 Texas Christian University (1-2) by a score of 6-1 on Friday, followed by a 5-2 victory over No. 27 University of Texas (1-3) Saturday afternoon.

Despite being the first ranked team Stanford played this year, TCU proved to be little challenge for the Cardinal. With a sweep of the doubles, Stanford earned the tiebreak point and proceeded to win the next three matches to clinch the day.

W. Tennis: Texas Takedown
The Stanford women's tennis team faced rowdy crowds and ranked opponents, but still managed to win when it traveled down to Texas last weekend. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

“I think we handled two pretty good teams well,” said head coach Lele Forood. “We won the doubles both days and that was key. We swept against TCU and the singles were pretty well contested both days.”

Both freshmen appeared to struggle against TCU though, as Stacey Tan had to come back from a set down to defeat Idunn Hertzberg 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5). Mallory Burdette suffered only her fourth loss on the season in a 5-7, 7-6 (4), 1-0 (10-5) loss to Katariina Tuohimaa at the No. 3 position. Both players experienced some pre-match jitters as they adjusted to their first dual match play on the road.

“That match was a bit of getting adjusted to the place and my opponent’s style of tennis,” Tan said. “We played indoors for that match and it was different having a wall pretty close to the baseline and having a roof up top. If you hit the ceiling, then the point ends. I did that a few times.”

All other matches were won in straight sets, with only one other set being closely contested. The cleanest win came from Carolyn McVeigh at the No. 5 spot, 6-1, 6-0. Lindsay Burdette also defeated TCU’s Kayla Duncan 6-1, 6-1 in another solid win.

Weather forced the women to constantly move around their playing schedule. It was too cold Friday to play outside and matches were moved indoors. Saturday was slightly warmer but play was still slow.

“Indoors are very different conditions, absolutely different,” Forood said. “Inside were more slam-bang matches. Texas was outside and those matches were very gritty, very slow.”

Despite the adversity, the Cardinal dispatched Texas 5-2 in front of a rowdy crowd. They lost only two matches in straight sets at the No. 3 and No. 6 positions. In order of play, Texas and Stanford were tied with one win apiece before Stanford won the next three matches to clinch the day.

Stacey Tan and Veronica Li both lost their singles in straights while No. 1 Hilary Barte was forced to a third set tiebreak before she won her match 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7). The other matches were all straight set wins for the Cardinal. The biggest factor in the match against Texas proved to be a very rowdy fan base, highlighted by the Texas men’s tennis team and their chants that bordered on disrespect.

“In my opinion at times, it was a bit of crossing the line,” Tan said. “Just because of how they would yell in the middle of a point or right when you’re about to serve or return. Personally, I wasn’t used to having a large crowd cheering against me. It’s hard because they pressure you while you’re playing and you really need to block it out.”

Looking forward, the experience of facing such an intense crowd can only be beneficial for the players. Texas proved to be a challenge — one of the louder crowds that the team will face — but Forood is feeling positive about the way the girls handled the pressure.

“It’s very eye opening, especially for the freshmen,” Forood said. “They really have to experience this. Quite frankly, it was a great experience to play against hostile stands because the guy’s team knows how to heckle, what to say and how to get under your skin. They chanted ‘fault, fault, fault’ when you missed your first serve.”

At the end of the weekend, it was a successful trip. With two hard-fought wins behind it, the Cardinal is well-prepared moving forward against Pac-10 opponents that are coming up in a few short weeks. The team took a few lessons away from the weekend that will serve it for the rest of the season.

“You have to be ready for whatever faces you,” Tan said. “Not just on the court, but also being able to go from traveling to recovering and finally being able to play your match and win.”

Login or create an account