It feels good to be home.
That is what the No. 9 Stanford men’s tennis team is thinking after a tough road trip that delivered the Cardinal its first loss of the season.
Stanford returns to Taube Family Tennis Center to face Boise State today and Cal on Saturday, the first two of five straight home games for Stanford. Though it signals the start of Pac-10 play, the Cal match will not count toward the Cardinal’s conference record.
The Boise State match will be Stanford’s first action since last weekend’s National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. After defeating UNC-Wilmington and Oklahoma at Stanford to qualify, the Cardinal faced No. 8 Texas in the Round of 16.
In its first true test of the season, the Cardinal simply folded, losing 4-0. The Longhorns swept the doubles lineup, including a stunning upset of the nation’s top-ranked team of sophomores Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher. In singles, Thacher, junior Alex Clayton and senior Richard Wire were the first three Cardinal men to lose, securing the shutout loss. Klahn, freshman Matt Kandath and junior Greg Hirshman were all losing at the time the match was clinched.
“Texas is a good team, and they were definitely more prepared than we were to play the match,” Klahn said. “We came out a little bit flat, and they came out with a lot of energy and took it to us.”
In the consolation bracket, Stanford defeated No. 30 Fresno State and No. 10 Kentucky.,
Stanford hopes to continue its win streak today against Boise State, a much easier opponent than Texas or Kentucky. The Broncos are 3-2 on the season, with victories over Oregon, Utah State and Weber State and losses to Washington and Virginia Tech.
Still, Boise State is not a walkover team and has played competitively against the Cardinal in the past, including a 5-1 victory over Stanford in 2007.
“Their coach does a great job of getting them pumped up,” Klahn said.
On Saturday, Stanford faces a familiar foe: the Golden Bears. Cal is 6-1 on the season, with big wins over Hawaii and Fresno State. Its only loss on the season also came at the hands of the Longhorns–a 4-0 sweep.
“It’s always a tough match, a tough fight against Cal,” Wire said. “You can’t take them lightly. They got good doubles and get inspired for the rivalry matches.”
In what has become an increasingly annoying recurring theme for the Cardinal this season, weather will once again threaten the weekend matches. The forecast calls for rain showers this afternoon, continuing into early tomorrow morning.
Luckily for the Cardinal, it has become used to the uncertainty of delays.
“It’s the same drill as before,” Klahn said. “We’ve been through this before, so I think the guys should be relatively comfortable.”
On the horizon loom No. 4 UCLA and No. 1 USC, the defending national champion. The Southern California schools come to Stanford next weekend in what could be a serious wake-up call for the Cardinal.
While Stanford is doing its best not to look past Boise and Cal this weekend, the players are well aware of the opponents they will be facing.
“We’re not looking just to win the matches (against Boise and Cal), but also to improve and get ready for UCLA and USC,” Wire said.
Klahn is doing his best to try to focus on this weekend.
“Once Sunday rolls around, that’s when we’ll start preparing for them,” he said.
The match against Boise State is set to start 1:30 p.m. today, and the match against Cal is scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow.