No. 20 Stanford silences Cal women’s tennis in Big Slam, 4-0

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On paper, Stanford’s 4-0 win over Cal women’s tennis Friday morning indicates a decisive victory for the cardinal and white, but the final score is not always indicative of what happened on the court.

The Bears may have failed to secure a point, but they made things interesting against the Cardinal’s heavy hitters early on in Palo Alto.

Facing their archrivals in a dual match for the first time in their collegiate careers, freshmen Anna Bright and Vivian Glozman did what they’ve done best in their inaugural season — compete like veterans.

That duo proved why they’ve emerged as one of head coach Amanda Augustus’ top pairings this season as they secured a critical win over the No. 56 pair of juniors Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee, 7-5.

Unfortunately for the Bears, that early spark provided by Bright and Glozman didn’t last much longer. Before Bright and Glozman’s upset, Cardinal sophomore Emily Arbuthnott and freshman Michaela Gordon proved why they deserve their No. 3 doubles ranking, to the tune of a 6-1 victory against junior Olivia Hauger and freshman Julia Rosenqvist, Cal’s top duo.

With Stanford and Cal tied at one apiece in doubles, the tie-breaking doubles match came down to court three, where freshman Hana Mraz and junior Maria Smith tangoed with Stanford junior Melissa Lord and freshman Janice Shin.

Although Lord and Smith are familiar faces to the rivalry, Mraz and Shin were getting their first taste of the Big Slam event. After a back-and-forth affair, Lord and Shin prevailed, 7-5 — good enough for Stanford to grab a 1-0 overall lead.

Cal sent the message that Stanford would have to earn its final conference win.

The Cardinal responded by showing little mercy the rest of the way. All six of Stanford’s singles players came into play nationally ranked, accentuated by Gordon’s No. 22 label on court one.

Appropriately, it was Gordon’s 6-2, 6-4 win over the No. 34-ranked Rosenqvist that sent the Bears to an early exit.

A sluggish start across the board from Cal’s lineup allowed Stanford’s singles players to snag  early showers as Bright, Glozman and Hauger’s matches were left unfinished after the match was conceded prematurely.

While the Bears ultimately came up empty-handed in their annual trip down the peninsula, they certainly didn’t start things out unprepared. Playing without senior All-American Karla Popovic this season has forced the young team to adapt, and there are plenty of positive takeaways even on the short end of a 4-0 match.

With an 11-8 overall record to its name, Cal will make an even further trip down south to Ojai, California, where the Bears will compete in the Pac-12 Championships as the No. 4 seed starting Wednesday. Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State currently slot in ahead of Cal — these are all teams that pushed the Bears to their limits earlier this season.

The Bears are slated to face Washington State in the quarterfinals in a match for which the winner will advance to a rematch with Stanford.

Josh Yuen is an assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @joshcal2020