First off Congrats to the team for making the Quarterfinals of the ITA Team Indoor Championships for the first time in school history. We beat #13 Georgia Tech 4-1, next up #1 Ranked Stanford at 4pm.
I'm curious how they will do against a potent Stanford lineup. They have played their last 4 and 5 of 6 matches (including Stanford) against ranked teams. After seeing them win these matches (#18 USC: W 5-2, #13 ND: W 4-3, #18 Vandy: 4-3, #13 GT: W 4-1) it brings some confidence to the next match. However, if the lineups are the same as they were today for both Stanford and Michigan, we are a heavy underdog.
1D: #3 Standford (who beat #37 8-1) vs #22 Michigan (who beat #70 8-4). Even though the Michigan duo of Muresan/Bolender is 7-0, thats a rough matchup.
2D: Stanford (did not finish, but were up 6-3) vs Michigan (who beat #68). The Michigan duo of Taney/Tatsuno is 3-0 at that spot thus far.
3D: Stanford (8-3) vs MIchigan (did not finish, but were up 7-6). Critser/Nguyen struggled putting away USC after having at least 5 match points, they ended up losing a tough match, but immediately bounced back defeating ND and Vandy since.
For doubles, the continued momentum of today's doubles win to go with the sweeping of doubles against ND and Vandy should make this one a shootout that hopefully we can pull off.
1S: #2 Stanford vs #8 Michigan. This is an interesting matchup since both ladies struggled winning the first set 7-5 and 7-6(1) respectively and neither of them finished their matches. It will be key how well they each bounce back. Denise Muresan has struggled mightily against higher ranked opponents, losing to #3 from USC 0-2 and #9 from ND 0-0, so hopefully she can snap that streak.
2S: #22 Stanford vs #34 Michigan. This was the match that Michigan lost against GT with Sam Crister losing in 3 sets after being down 5-0 in the 3rd she was able to fight back before falling 6-3 to the #61 ranked lady. She should be used to facing higher ranked opponents and doing well against them as she recently beat the #10 USC and #50 Vandy ladies, but also lost to an unranked ND opponent (playing a 10 point tie break for the 3rd set) in between.
3S: #20 Stanford vs #104 Michigan. Brooke Bolender has only lost 1 match in Singles play this season and that was to a #89 ranked player from Vandy in a 3rd set tiebreak. Neither player seemed to have too much difficulty with their 1st round opponents so a hard-hitting match may be on display.
4S: #21 Stanford vs #71 Michigan. This should be a good one with Whitney Taney of Michigan having a 4-0 record in Dual Matches this year; however, she had to win the 2nd set against GT in a tie-break to split sets before her match was abandoned.
5S: #87 Stanford vs #123 Michigan. Stanford had this match abandoned at 7-5, 4-4, while Michigan won it 7-5 7-5. Mimi Nguyen has been up and down recently with a great showing early vs USC before having to fight back and win in 3 sets at 4S then losing at 5S to both ND and Vandy before the bounce back victory over GT.
6S: Stanford vs Michigan. Senior Rika Tatsuno is 5-1 this year (5S: 2-0, 6S: 3-1) with her only loss coming to Vandy. Rika won her match 6-2, 6-2 against GT while Stanford's Carolyn McVeigh was down 6-1, 2-6, 1-3 before her match was abondoned.
It seems to be a long road to climb for the team to make the Semis, but many Stanford players struggled today, which could bode well for the team. Seeing 4 top 22 players and 5 of 6 players ranked in the top 100 is pretty intimidating, but we have 5 ranked players as well who have been rolling as the team is 7-0 for the first time since 2004.
Prediction: If Michigan can win the doubles point they have a shot in this match. The only singles match I see us having the clear advantage in is with Rika Tatsuno at 6S. If we have 2 points under our belt at that point, seeing 2 wins from the rest of the team is feasible. However, 1S Denise Muresan struggles against better competition recently and 2S Sam Crister had to play a full 3 sets yesterday so it is unlikely to get anything there. This likely leaves it up to the 3-5 slots to pull off the win; where 5S seems to be the best matchup for us and that is a coin-flip.
Stanford 4 over Michigan 2 or 3, with several close matches to finish it out.