Crucial tennis showdown at Cal for Stanford men

The nationally No. 37-ranked Stanford men's tennis team heads into Saturday's regular-season finale with some recent momentum.

Riding a four-match winning streak that has resulted in a 15-spot bump in the national rankings, Stanford (13-4, 4-2 Pac-12) visits California (14-5, 4-2 Pac-12) in Berkeley on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Stanford's recent surge has also solidified a first-round bye in next week's Pac-12 Championships, with the Cardinal receiving either the No. 3 or 4 seed into the quarterfinals.

Postseason chances also continue to improve, with Stanford likely earning an NCAA bid if it can continue to finish strong. The Cardinal has defeated three top-40 opponents, with the signature victory a 4-0 shutout of No. 22 Boise State earlier this month. Furthermore, Stanford's four losses have come to No. 2 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 3 Georgia and No. 9 California.

Stanford's lineup, meanwhile, includes only one senior and has battled injuries to key players all season.

For comparison, Stanford earned an at-large NCAA berth last year despite finishing the regular season 12-11 overall and ranked No. 41. A competitive schedule once again helped the cause, with the Cardinal squaring off against eight opponents ranked among the top-20.

The difference this season: Stanford has pulled out the tight matches. The Cardinal owns a 4-0 record in matches decided by a 4-3 margin. Even more impressive, Stanford has won five matches this year despite losing the doubles point.

Saturday's contest is the second of the year between the Bay Area rivals, with the Golden Bears coming away with a 7-0 victory at Taube Family Tennis Stadium back on Feb. 22.

However, Stanford's singles and doubles lineups have seen constant movement all season long, and the aforementioned matchup against Cal was no different. Since that dual, Nolan Paige has looked progressively better in his return to the court while Maciek Romanowicz has contributed in doubles and might soon be ready for singles action.

Among those producing for the Cardinal lately: John Morrissey at the No. 1 spot (14-8 overall, 10-3 duals, 9-1 over last 10 matches), Anthony Tsodikov (20-10 overall, 12-5 duals, 7-3 over last 10 matches) and Robert Stineman (13-7 overall, 9-3 duals, 8-2 over the last 10 matches).

— Stanford Athletics


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