Oregon overpowered by Pac-12 leader Stanford, 7-0
The Ducks women’s tennis team may be entering the final stretch of home games, but its rivals aren’t about to let them capitalize on home-field advantage.
The No. 10 Stanford Cardinal, who has only lost once this season, extended their win streak to 11 after taking down the Ducks 7-0 Friday afternoon at the Oregon Student Tennis Center. Oregon is now 11-8 overall and 4-3 in Pac-12 play.
With just three regular season matches remaining before the Pac-12 Championships, opportunities for practice are winding down. Both teams agreed beforehand that all the singles matches would be played until the very end despite the score.
With players returning from injury, Oregon was spoilt for choice with lots of shuffling.
Alyssa Tobita paired up with Rifanty Kahfiani, who is two weeks back in action after a severe ankle sprain. Marlou Kluiving battled alongside Nia Rose, and Shweta Sangwan teamed up with Julia Eshet for the first time.
Though the Cardinal eventually took the doubles point, the Ducks always kept it close, finishing within two points of their rivals on two of the courts. Sangwan and Eshet were tied before their matches were left unfinished.
“I think the energy we had out there for doubles was great,” Oregon head coach Alison Silverio said. “Shweta and Julia were in the middle court, so they have a leadership role with the two end courts where they’re spreading the energy out. They’d say, ‘Let’s go Ducks!’ I think that permeated throughout all three doubles.”
Stanford exacted its dominance in the singles category by sweeping all six matches. It was a hard ask from the beginning: Stanford’s entire singles lineup is ranked nationally, with its top player Melissa Lord (No. 19) and its sixth player, Emily Arbuthnott at No. 103. None of Oregon’s singles players are ranked.
Despite that, Tobita and Sangwan were able to drag it out to a full three sets on their respective courts before their opponents clinched victories. Kluiving was never less than two points away from Arbuthnott before falling in the second set.
Oregon’s match against Stanford was pegged as a BEOREGON match, a movement that encourages all student-athletes to be their authentic selves.
“We have Ducks from all over the place,” Juwaan Williams, a football player, said before the match. “We like to keep it inclusive so we can keep going for it and the national championships.”
The tennis team is the smallest on the athletic roster with just nine players, but the Ducks are well represented, boasting three international players and representing four different states in the U.S.
“You have to learn how to work together no matter where you’re from, really embrace your differences and move forward together,” Silverio said. “We might have varying backgrounds on our team, which means we’re gonna have varying opinions about things.
“I think our team does a great job of being one unit and being a family.”
The Ducks hit the court again on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. to host Cal in their final home game at the Oregon Student Tennis Center. Seniors Kluiving and Paloma Gomez will be honored.
Follow Romaine Soh on Twitter @mainetainpls
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