Pepperdine Defeats Stanford to Advance to the Round of 16
May 15, 2005
Malibu, Calif. - With a berth to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship hanging in the balance, the No. 9 Pepperdine Waves punched their ticked to College Station, Texas with a 4-2 victory over the Stanford Cardinal Sunday. Pepperdine's 17th consecutive win sets up a match with No. 8 Duke.
After both Stanford and Pepperdine took 4-0 wins in their respective opening round matches Saturday, the teams looked to provide a showdown at Pepperdine's Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.
The doubles battle gave a thumbnail of the action to come when Stanford jumped ahead winning on court three. Ivor Lovrak and Jonas Berg then knotted the action by defeating KC Corkery and James Wan. At number one, Scott Doerner and Pedro Rico were up a break on Sam Warburg and Eric McKean at 7-5. The Waves broke Warburg's serve to take the double's point and move into singles with a 1-0 lead.
Warburg easily shook off the doubles loss, playing a singles match worthy of his No. 1 ITA ranking. He quickly put the Cardinal on the board with a 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 34 Doerner.
Court two also hosted a showdown of top-25 players where No. 15 Corkery fell in the first set to No. 25 Rico, 6-3. Rico maintained control of the match, going up 4-1 in the second set and holding on to win with an identical 6-3 mark.
Stanford was calm under pressure as James Wan and Phil Sheng took tiebreakers to go up on their respective courts. Wan finished the job, beating Jonas Berg 7-6(4), 6-2, but Ivor Lovrak split sets with Sheng at number four.
Richard Johnson and Phil Kao split on court five as well, but Johnson rebounded from a shaky first set to move the team score in Pepperdine's favor with his 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.
With the Waves leading 3-2 Sheng and Lovrak's match was nearing its climactic conclusion. Up a break in the third set, Lovrak served for the singles match and the team match. The junior came through for the Waves when he secured the continuation of Pepperdine's postseason journey on his first match point.
Senior Alexis Rafidison abandoned his third set, as well as hit hat and racquet on court six to lead the celebratory mob around the clinching Lovrak.
Waves head coach Adam Steinberg struggled to express the meaning of the occasion. "Words can't express what I feel right now," he said following the match. "I've been coaching tennis for 16 years and it's been a dream to get to the Sweet 16. I wouldn't want to take any other team. The guys have worked so hard for this all year and they deserve it."
Stanford head coach John Whittlinger was complimentary of the Waves as well. "Pepperdine had a great year. We gave it our best shot today, but we were playing a great team. Adam and Per have done a great job and their record speaks for itself."
Both head coaches echoed the great atmosphere surrounding the match. Steinberg and Whittlinger agreed, "It was a great college tennis match."
Pepperdine will take on Duke (18-5) who advanced by beating South Carolina State and Virginia Commonwealth. The round of 16 match will be played on Saturday, May 21 on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Steinberg knows the competition will be stiff. "They've had a good year and they're a perennial top ten program," he says, "We felt we had to get there and then just relax and we can beat anybody, but we're not overlooking Duke by any means."
This is Pepperdine's first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2002 when they were eliminated by Georgia in the national quarterfinals.
The start time for Saturday's match is to be announced.
Pepperdine (23-2) def. Stanford (14-11) 4-2
Division I Men's Second Round
1. Doerner/Rico (Pepperdine) def. Warburg/McKean (Stanford) 8-5
2. Berg/Lovrak (Pepperdine) def. Corkery/Wan (Stanford) 8-4
3. Sheng/Wong (Stanford) def. Borzenski/Johnson (Pepperdine) 8-2
1. Sam Warburg (Stanford) def. Scott Doerner (Pepperdine) 6-0, 6-1
2. Pedro Rico (Pepperdine) def. KC Corkery (Stanford) 6-3, 6-3
3. James Wan (Stanford) def. Jonas Berg (Pepperdine) 7-6(4), 6-2
4. Ivor Lovrak (Pepperdine) def. Phil Sheng (Stanford) 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4
5. Richard Johnson (Pepperdine) def. Phil Kao (Stanford) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Alexis Rafidison (Pepperdine) vs. Eric McKean (Stanford) 6-2, 4-6, 4-5 (DNF)
Order of Finish: D3, D2, D1; S1, S2, S3, S5, S4