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This week in Stanford sports history: May 20-25

Including NCAA upsets by women’s tennis, sailing overcomes odds, softball’s most prestigious award

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With NCAA and professional sports currently on hold due to COVID-19, the month of May looks quite different than it has in years past. As many reflect on the 2020 spring sports that could have been, here’s a look back on past coverage from May 20-25 in Stanford sports history.

This article is part of an ongoing series; the previous article highlights events on May 15-19.

May 20:

2005: Avery Aquatic Center was host to the inaugural Stanford University Invitational Grand Prix meet from May 20-22. The event was headlined by Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin, the most decorated swimmers from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Phelps won eight Olympic medals, six of them gold. Coughlin won five medals, two of them gold.

Phelps swam in six events, while Coughlin only appeared in two due to her overlapping graduation for the University of California, Berkeley.

As indicative of the times, iPod Minis were awarded to each individual event winner.

May 21:

2013: No. 12 seed Stanford was the Cinderella story of the NCAA women’s tennis playoff seven years ago this month.

First the Cardinal upset No. 5 seed USC in the Round of 16, before beating No. 4 seed Georgia decisively in the Quarterfinals. The Cardinal then faced No. 1 seed Florida in the Semifinals and pulled off a huge win to make it to the final on May 21 versus Texas A&M. Stanford ultimately beat the Aggies 4-3.

The women’s singles title was taken home by defending champion and 2012 Honda Sports Award repicient Nicole Gibbs ’14. She became the first repeat champ since Amber Liu ’06 in 2003-04. The 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Gibbs was also named an All-Pac-12 First Team selection.

After turning professional, Gibbs was at one point No. 68 in the world in singles.

May 22:

2019: Sailing overcame a year of controversy to claim the 15th straight Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference (PCCSC) Women’s championship and made a comeback on the final day to claim the Admiral’s Cup.

At the Admiral’s Cup, the Cardinal entered the final day in 6th place but came back strong and ultimately edged out Dartmouth by two points to take home the title.

May 23:

2019: No. 7 women’s golf fell 3-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals to No. 2 Duke. The final match between the two respected programs lasted 24 holes, making it the longest match in NCAA women’s golf history.

“That’s probably one of the better matches we’ve ever had just as far as quality of golf goes and the consistency of the demands on the players to make big putts to match pars, or birdies or to make birdies to get a hole back,” said head coach Anne Walker. “To come from down three and eventually push it six holes and lose on a birdie — it was phenomenal. I’m just incredibly proud of all the players top to bottom and the way they contributed to this event.”

The match was scheduled to start at 8 a.m CT but was delayed for six hours due to stormy weather, and competition last well into the night.

“We made it to match play again for the fifth consecutive year, which is just an unbelievable run,” Walker said. “And we went to 24 holes to be kept from going to our fifth-straight Final Four. It never comes easy, we work hard for it, but we’ve been very fortunate to enjoy the success that we’ve had at Stanford.”

May 24:

2016: Women’s tennis brought home yet another national title in 2016, despite being underdogs. The No. 15 seeded Cardinal fought hard throughout the tournament and ultimately defeated Oklahoma State 4-3 on May 24 in Tulsa. Five of Stanford’s six NCAA rounds were won narrowly by just 4-3.

The championship was the program’s 18th and first since 2013.

Since then, the Cardinal women have brought home two more tennis titles (2018, 2019) and finished second to Florida in 2017.

Other notable articles from this day:

  • 2011 — Fan Forum: Red Zone needs “superfans”

May 25:

2013: Shortstop Ashley Hansen ’12 was named one of three finalists for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year, which honors the sport’s top collegiate athlete. She would ultimately go on to win the award, becoming the second position player ever to receive the highest honor in collegiate softball.

Hansen, who was also named Pac-10 Player of the Year that season, was the first Cardinal player to ever make the top 3 for the prestigious USA award. At the time, she led the nation in doubles per game (0.45), while ranking second in batting average (.500) and eighth in on-base percentage (.562). In the Pac-10, Hansen leds all players in batting average, on-base percentage, hits (92) and doubles (25).

Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Cybele Zhang '22 is majoring in English Literature with a minor in German Studies. The Los Angeles-native has served as Sports Editor, her current position, for Vol. 255, 257 and 258. Her writing covers a wide range of sports, but she especially enjoys writing about women in sports and NCAA policy. Contact her at [email protected]