NCAA tennis championships head down to the Farm 

click to enlarge Leader: Hilary Barte leads a Stanford team that should be the favorite in the NCAA women's tennis championships. (AP file photo)
  • Leader: Hilary Barte leads a Stanford team that should be the favorite in the NCAA women's tennis championships. (AP file photo)

The 2011 NCAA men’s and women’s tennis championships bounce over to Stanford today, as the university plays host for the remaining rounds of the comprehensive outdoor tournament that culminates with singles and doubles finals on May 30.

It’s somewhat of a homecoming for Stanford, whose women’s team won the tournament last season and looks to repeat this year.

“The women are probably the favorites at home,” Stanford director of tennis Dick Gould said. “Everyone has to be healthy, but if that happens, they’ll keep their streak alive.”

The No. 1 women begin their quest from the round of 16 Friday at 6 p.m. against Northwestern.

While the men haven’t been as dominant as of late, the school is considered to have the most successful program in history, having won 18 team championships.

Of all their championships, 17 came under Gould at the coaching helm.

“We have a great product. It’s a great school, it’s a great location” said Gould, who coached the men’s team from 1966 to 2004.

The Stanford men, currently ranked No. 7 and seeded No. 8 in the postseason draw, come into their round of 16 play today against Texas A&M at 6 p.m. with high aspirations.

They extended their winning streak to 12 matches on Saturday when they defeated No. 25 Washington 4-1. It’s the longest stretch of wins the team has had since 2001, when they put together 18 straight.

Gould says playing at home will be extremely beneficial for both the men and women of Stanford, which last hosted the NCAA championships in 2006.

“There’s as big a hometown advantage in tennis as there is in basketball,” he said. “It’s just an incredible atmosphere, and it’s something that people don’t understand. ... Your whole appreciation of tennis changes when you watch this event.”

Gould said the undertaking of hosting the championships includes $500,000 of “technological infrastructure,” which helped to introduce an additional six courts for the event, as well as an advanced network of live streaming that will showcase all matches over the next week-and-a-half online.

“We have great video streaming from all 12 competition courts,” Gould said. “That’s such a great thing for all the parents because probably two-thirds of the participants in the tournament are foreigners.”

Whether you plan to watch in person or online, Gould said it’s an event that should not be missed.

“We’ve spent about two years working on it ... it’s just incredible, second-to-none, pro or otherwise,” Gould said. “It’s just gonna blow your mind.”

NCAA tennis championships

WHERE: Taube Family Tennis Center, Stanford

WHEN: Tournament shifts to Stanford today and runs through May 30

CARDINAL MEN: No. 8 seed Stanford takes on Texas A&M in the round of 16 today at 6 p.m.

CARDINAL WOMEN: No. 1 seed Stanford takes on Northwestern Friday in the round of 16 at 6 p.m.

NOTE: Both the Cal men (No. 14 seed) and Cal women (No. 9) will also be playing in the event

INFO: www.gostanford.com

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