Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Good Lord! Stanford women win another NCAA title

   Naturally, it came down to Melissa Lord.
   And naturally, she came through.
   That's how it works for the Stanford women.
   Lord, a junior All-American from Bloomfield, Conn., lifted the 15th-seeded Cardinal to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Vanderbilt today in the final of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Stanford won its second NCAA championship in three years and record 19th overall. Florida ranks second with seven.
   Lord, ranked 40th after missing the first half of the spring season with a shoulder injury, outlasted No. 10 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 on Court 2 in Stanford's third consecutive NCAA final. The Cardinal lost to Florida 4-1 last year in Athens, Ga.
   It was the first clincher of the season for Lord, who improved to 15-0 over her career in NCAA team matches.
   Without Lord, Stanford fell to Vanderbilt 7-0 on Feb. 3 in Nashville, Tenn. In the first week of March, the Cardinal was ranked 46th, its lowest position ever, at 4-3 with losses to the Commodores, Texas and Florida.
   Stanford, however, finished the year with 20 straight victories and matched its 2016 record as the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA championship. The Cardinal also won the title in 2013 as the 12th seed and in 2010 as the eighth seed.
   Having ousted, in succession, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 7 Georgia, No. 3 Duke and Vanderbilt in this year's tournament, Stanford has won 20 of its last 23 NCAA Tournament matches when seeded lower than its opponent.
   With its 117th NCAA title in all men's and women's sports, Stanford moved one spot ahead of UCLA for the all-time lead.
    Stanford lost the doubles point against Vanderbilt, as it did against North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and Duke in the Final Four. The Cardinal has won 15 of its last 20 matches, spanning three years, when dropping the doubles point.
   Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles against Vanderbilt.
   No. 11 Contreras and Astra Sharma defeated No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon 6-3, and No. 11 Sharma beat No. 15 Gordon 7-6 (3), 6-3.
   In the men's final, top seed and host Wake Forest beat third-seeded Ohio State 4-2 for its first NCAA title. The Demon Deacons became the first team other than USC or Virginia to win the men's crown since Georgia in 2008.
   The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships begin Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in Winston-Salem. The matches will be streamed live.
   No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior and 2017 semifinalist, is scheduled to play Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State at 8 a.m. PDT.
   Here's the schedule of other matches featuring Northern California competitors in the 64-player singles draws and 32-team doubles draws:
Men's singles (Wednesday)
   Cameron Klinger (San Jose), Vanderbilt, vs. Alex Knight (9-16), Michigan, 6 a.m.
   Billy Griffith (Fresno), Cal, vs. Ryotaro Matsumura (8), Kentucky, 8 a.m.
   Victor Pham (Saratoga), Columbia, vs. Jordi Arconada, Texas A&M, 11:30 a.m.
Men's doubles (Thursday)
   Fawcett-Axel Geller, Stanford, vs. Johannes Ingildsen-Alfredo Perez (4), Florida.
   Klinger (San Jose)-Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt vs. Austin Rapp-Keegan Smith, UCLA.
   Griffith (Fresno)-J.T. Nishimura (San Jose), Cal, vs. William Blumberg-Robert Kelly (2), North Carolina.
Women's singles (Wednesday)
   Olivia Hauger, Cal, vs. Anna Danilina (9-16), Florida, 5 a.m.
   Julia Rosenqvist, Cal, vs. Megan McCray, Oklahoma State, 10 a.m.
   Felicity Maltby (Sunnyvale), Texas Tech, vs. Maria Kononova, North Texas, 10:30 a.m.
   Anna Bright, Cal, vs. Julia O'Loughlin, Denver, 11 a.m.
   Melissa Lord, Stanford, vs. Andrea Lazaro (9-16), Florida International, 12:30 p.m.
   Michaela Gordon (9-16, Saratoga), Stanford, vs. Fatima Bizhukova, Wichita State, 1 p.m.
   Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford, vs. Samantha Harris (4), Duke, 1 p.m.
 Women's doubles (Thursday)
   Arbuthnott-Gordon (3), Stanford, vs. Chandler Carter-Emma Davis, Wake Forest.

No. 15 STANFORD 4, No. 2 VANDERBILT 3
Doubles
1) No. 11 Contreras/Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 3 Arbuthnott/Gordon (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 69 Kurtz/Smith (VANDY) d. No. 84 Lampl/Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-4
3) Lord/Shin (STAN) d. Meyer/Rosca (VANDY) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
Singles
1) No. 11 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 15 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 7-6 (3), 6-3
2) No. 40 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. No. 10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3) No. 93 Caroline Lampl (STAN) d. No. 44 Chris Rosca (VANDY) 6-4, 6-2
4) Amanda Meyer (VANDY) d. No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5) No. 96 Janice Shin (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-3, 6-3
6) No. 102 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4, 2

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