By Dean Boerner | Sports Editor

Kareena Manji and her teammates will take on UCLA this weekend. (Courtesy of SMC Gaels)

Kareena Manji and her teammates will take on UCLA this weekend. (Courtesy of SMC Gaels)

The Gaels traveled to Stanford last Friday to take on the the fourth-ranked team in the nation and the defending national champions in one of their most challenging head-to-heads this season. While Saint Mary’s found some luck in doubles play, it was Stanford coming out on top Friday afternoon in dominant fashion.

At the Taube Family Tennis Stadium at Stanford, the Cardinal took the doubles point with impressive wins on courts one and two, with the Gaels mustering a win on court three. It was a Stanford duo of Emily Arbuthnott and Taylor Davidson coming out on top over Clementine Clement and Emma Critser 6-0 on court one. The Gaels responded in turn with their win on court three. Parminder Kaur and Vanessa Nommensen beat Stanford’s Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee 6-2 to even the doubles contest.

Stanford’s doubles play proved to be too much, though. On court two, Stanford’s Caroline Doyle and Melissa Lord defeated the Gaels duo of Kareena Manji and Jana McCord 6-3 to hand their team the doubles point.

From that point on, Stanford continued to display their championship pedigree, this time in singles play. Arbuthnott defeated Critser on court five 6-1, 6-1, handing Stanford the first singles point and setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Emma Higuchi of Stanford won her match over Nommensen 6-1, 6-0. Following closely behind was her teammate Caroline Doyle, who defeated McCord on court one 6-3, 6-1.

Stanford went on to run the table from there. Lampl won her singles match after falling in doubles play earlier; she defeated Manji 6-4, 6-3 on court four. Then came Taylor Davidson’s win on court two. The Stanford senior defeated Clement 6-2, 6-3. Finally, Stanford’s Melissa Lord took down Danielle McIntyre in the final match to conclude, winning 6-4, 6-3 to give the Cardinal their sixth and final singles point.

For the Gaels, who don’t begin conference play until March, Friday represented one of several nonconference challenges scheduled by Gaels head coach Lisa Alipaz for the upcoming few weeks. This Saturday, they travel down to Los Angeles to take on No. 25 UCLA. Later in the month, their slated to take on another nationally ranked team in No. 9 Vanderbilt.

And, of course, the Gaels have a national powerhouse awaiting them in their own conference in defending WCC champion Pepperdine. As usual, the Waves have a formidable squad, as they are ranked third in the nation at this point.

The Gaels are coming off a strong 2015-2016 season and have had several strong showings so far this season as they get ready for conference play. Their match at UCLA on Saturday will take place at noon at the Sunset Canyon Tennis Courts in L.A.

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