MALIBU, Calif. – No. 10 Stanford suffered its second loss of the season, falling 5-2 at No. 17 Pepperdine on Wednesday afternoon in a nonconference matchup.
The loss snapped an 11-match winning streak for the Cardinal (15-2, 7-0 Pac-12), which had produced its longest in-season victory stretch since 13 consecutive wins back in 2014.
How rare was Wednesday’s loss? It was only the third setback for the defending NCAA champion Cardinal over its last 31 matches dating back to March 12, 2016.
Meanwhile, it appears Pepperdine (14-4, 5-0 Pac-12) might have cracked the code. The Waves also defeated the Cardinal 4-3 at Taube Family Tennis Stadium last season, joining top-ranked Florida as the only opponents to beat Stanford during the aforementioned stretch.
Pepperdine claimed a 1-0 lead after winning a hard-fought doubles point, with the decider coming on court three.
The Waves moved in front 2-0 thanks to Mayar Sherif Ahmed’s 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Taylor Davidson at the No. 2 spot.
Stanford then quickly evened the match at 2-2. After Emma Higuchi notched her team-leading 26th overall victory with a 6-1, 6-2 decision on court two, Caroline Doyle knocked off ninth-ranked Luisa Stefani 7-5, 6-3 for her first career win against a top-10 opponent in a battle on the top line.
Pepperdine increased its lead to 3-2 when Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai edged Emily Arbuthnott 6-3, 7-6 (1). The loss snapped a 16-match winning streak for Arbuthnott, who had not been beaten since Jan. 13.
Laura Gulbe provided the clincher, outlasting Caroline Lampl 7-5, 7-5 at the No. 4 position.
Stanford returns home for the first time in nearly three weeks on Friday, hosting Washington State (9-12, 0-7 Pac-12) at 1:30 p.m.
The weekend wraps up on Saturday at 12 p.m. against No. 32 Washington (15-6, 4-3 Pac-12) as part of the 18th annual ZOOM Marketing Spring Smash. In addition to Senior Day ceremonies honoring Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle, the contest will kick off Cardinalpalooza, the annual Stanford Athletics’ sports festival featuring free admission to six events over four-hour span.
Stanford’s All-American duo of Davidson and Doyle have combined for 73 victories during their careers on The Farm while leading the Cardinal to the 2016 NCAA championship.
No. 17 Pepperdine 5, No. 10 Stanford 2
1) No. 6 Christine Maddox/Sherif Ahmed (PEPP) d. No. 67 Arbuthnott/Davidson (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 40 Doyle/Lord (STAN) d. Lahey/Stefani (PEPP) 6-4
3) Milovanovic/Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPP) d. Higuchi/Lampl (STAN) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1) No. 54 Caroline Doyle (STAN) d. No. 9 Luisa Stefani (PEPP) 7-5, 6-3
2) No. 21 Ashley Lahey (PEPP) d. No. 20 Melissa Lord (STAN) 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1
3) No. 32 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPP) d. No. 45 Taylor Davidson (STAN) 6-4, 6-1
4) No. 103 Laura Gulbe (PEPP) d. No. 68 Caroline Lampl (STAN) 7-5, 7-5
5) Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPP) d. No. 108 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 6-3, 7-6 (1)
6) No. 63 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Dzina Milovanovic (PEPP) 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 6, 1, 5, 4, 2