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From: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/16/SPGS6IS9RS1.DTL

By any number, Stanford a success

Jake Curtis, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 16, 2006



The San Francisco Chronicle profiled Amber Liu, a star tennis player at Stanford who's won of two NCAA singles championships as well as two national team championships. She also was a summer intern at Goldman Sachs last summer (with a standing offer to go back), where she crunched numbers for 80 plus hours a week....



Amber Liu stares into space as if pondering a micro-economics problem.

Having spent more than 80 hours a week as a financial analyst intern at Goldman Sachs investment bank last summer, Liu knows how to crunch the numbers. Having won two NCAA singles championships and two national team championships, she's intimately familiar with the state of Stanford women's tennis. Beginning this week, Stanford is hosting both the women's and men's NCAA tournaments.

But this question that combines numbers and Stanford tennis has her stumped.

It seems simple enough: What is Stanford's current winning streak?

"I want to say 100-something?" she said.

She knows she's in the ballpark because she had cited the number while filling out an application recently. But the exact number now?

Coach Lele Forood remembers vividly the last time Stanford lost a dual match -- a 4-3 loss to Florida in the 2003 NCAA finals -- and she recalls as if it were yesterday the Cardinal's last home loss, 5-4 to Cal on Feb. 27, 1999.

The streak?

"I think we're at 80-something," she said.

Nobody on the teams is certain, but they know most of them have never lost a team match since arriving at Stanford.

The streak happens to be 82, an NCAA record, breaking the 76-match win streak held by Stanford in 1991. The record fell April 14 with a routine and unnoticed victory at Arizona.

The Cardinal's home winning streak stands at 103 consecutive matches, which is significant now that Stanford is hosting, for the first time, the championships.

Excuse Liu for confusing the home streak with the overall streak, but they all sort of run together in a confusion of numbers that is remarkable to outsiders but incidental to those on the inside. The home streak had been so overlooked that its length had been erroneously reported until two weeks ago, when a member of the Stanford sports information department, after poring over the records, discovered that five home victories had not been included. So the record was 101, not 96, and the two shutout wins in the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament added to the triple-digit run.

"I actually never knew or thought about it," freshman Jessica Nguyen said. "It never really registered."

That, of course, is the paradoxical secret to a long winning streak: The best way to accomplish it is to not care about it.

When De La Salle's football team set the national record for consecutive victories, the players and coaches barely acknowledged it, and got up early the next morning as usual to study film. The UCLA basketball team that won 88 in a row was similar. Improvement and the next game were all that mattered. Looking back or ahead infects the process and inflicts pressure.

Championships are what matter at Stanford.

"There's pressure because we're the defending champs and we're at home," junior Anne Yelsey said.

Absent is the pressure to be the team star. Forood admitted past Stanford teams included players who treasured their status on the singles ladder, often challenging the propriety of a certain player playing ahead of them.

This team is unusual. The players accept their place.

"This year I'm more of a general," Forood said. "From the early 1990s, those teams had to have everything proven to them in terms of where they would play. Now they just want to know where they fit."

Virtually anybody in Stanford's singles lineup could be playing No. 1 or 2 for most top-level programs.

Celia Durkin played No. 3 singles for nationally ranked Harvard last year, but transferred to Stanford for the honor of playing No. 6.

Theresa Logar has a win this year over the nation's current No. 1 player, Georgia Tech's Kristi Miller, and Logar herself is ranked No. 10. She plays No. 3 at Stanford.

Florida's Jennifer Magley was ranked No. 1 when she lost in straight sets to Yelsey, who plays No. 4 for the Cardinal.

"I wouldn't change it for anything," Yelsey said. "I'd rather be playing No. 4 here than No. 1 somewhere else. I get to be part of the best team in the country."

As Forood notes, players know the situation when they come to Stanford, which is why a player like Nguyen, who is relegated to playing doubles this season, has never considered transferring.

At the top is Liu, who is bidding to become the first person to win three NCAA singles titles. That says as much about her perspective as her talent. Generally, an NCAA singles championship provides automatic passage to the pro circuit, and a second title makes it nearly impossible to delay a pro career.

But Liu is still at Stanford two years after her second NCAA title. The shoulder injury that ruined her chance at a third singles title last year and forced her to stay off the tennis court for 10 weeks also accommodated the summer internship at Goldman Sachs. Now she has a standing offer to work for that global investment company, and she's weighing her professional options.

In the meantime, she'll try to set a record for NCAA singles titles and help Stanford to its fifth national title in six years, while increasing the Cardinal's winning streak to -- whatever it happens to be.



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From:
http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=19170&repository=0001_article


Through My Eyes: Amber Liu

By Whitney Sado

Welcome to our inaugural "Through My Eyes"— a new Daily initiative that allows athletes to tell stories like they've never been told before. Senior Amber Liu, a two-time NCAA singles champion, kicks off our first-person profiles for the women's tennis team, and we'll feature a teammate of Liu nearly every Wednesday until the NCAA Championships this May. In addition, "Through My Eyes" will start profiling Stanford athletes from dozens of other sports starting next week. Enjoy!


My final season:

This off-season, I've been working on making the pro rankings again. In the past, I've earned most of my points over the summer. Because my shoulder was injured this past summer, it's almost like starting all over again.

Last week, I was in Hawaii for a $50,000 challenger that conflicted with our first dual match. I took a redeye back the day after I finished that tournament to play against Fresno State, which is why I only played doubles that day.


My fellow seniors:

The seniors on this team are amazing. Our close friendship has meant a lot to me over the past three years. I couldn't have asked for a better class to be a part of.

I think that what helped us bond from the start was that we were a big class coming into a very young team our freshman year. The girls that we were replacing had pretty much been the solid leaders of the team. We felt like we had big shoes to fill, both playing-wise and leadership-wise.

I think it hasn't quite set in yet that I'm a senior and that my Stanford playing days will be over in a few short months. I think it'll be really emotional for my class once we start NCAAs this year —especially because we are so close.

We also all have personalities that fit pretty well together. We're each pretty different, but really get along great. I've always wanted to comment on these girls because they're awesome.

I think Alice [Barnes] is the true leader of this team, both on and off the court. She leads by example as one of the hardest workers during practice and fitness. She is by far the most articulate speaker on the team, and she is a great motivator before matches. She is also a leader in her dual match record. Her leadership and friendship have made the team great over the past three years.

Everyone loves Joanna [Kao]. She is like the mother of the team— this year we voted her the one who will be the best mother in the future. On and off the court, she takes care of everyone. We know she has such a solid head on her shoulders, and everyone holds her opinion about team issues in very high regard. We wouldn't be the same team without her.

Jess[ica Leck] is also an instrumental part of the team. She is a great leader for us in off-court fitness and a remarkable motivator during practice. Her upbeat attitude wears off on everyone — and she really knows how to get the team pumped up for matches. Jess plays such a huge role in why the team is so close both on and off the court, and we really wouldn't have the same camaraderie without her.


Team friendship and nicknames:

Our team actually is one of the few teams that for the most part doesn't live together. It's nice because we have a great time at practice and on road trips, without any external stuff getting in the way. We eat dinner together every night, and also hang out most weekends.

Everyone on the team has a nickname — mine is "Skippy." Emilia [Anderson, a 2004 alumna of the women's team] came up with that. She was watching [And 1 Mixtape Tour] on ESPN and some guy was called "Skip To My Lou." She thought it was funny and started calling me that in practice. After a while, I guess everyone just shortened it to "Skippy."

We've nicknamed both the freshmen. We nicknamed Megan Doheny "Dodo" for her brilliant comments. [Laughs] Just kidding. We thought it was cute and catchy. She is one of the sweetest girls on the team. She reminds us a lot of Jess, whom some of us call "Deedee", so perhaps it's appropriate that they have similar nicknames.

The other freshman, Jessica Nguyen, actually liked her nickname in high school, "Nuge," so we stuck with that. We call Celia Durkin, the sophomore transfer from Harvard, "Seal."


What's next?:

I'm going to turn pro this June, and I plan on playing on the tour for all of next year. This past summer I was injured, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to work and try out an internship. I actually worked at Goldman Sachs Investment Banking in New York — which was a total change of lifestyle. I loved it, though, and was given an offer. So if circumstances allow, I definitely plan on entering Goldman's analyst program once I finish up with professional tennis.

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From
http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=1696 :



Sports - Friday, June 16, 2006

by Rick Eymer





Amber Liu with outstanding Stanford coach Lele Forood.


"Amber Liu, who will be seen in these parts in the coming months as a professional tennis player, was presented the Stanford Athletic Board Award for the Outstanding Female Senior.

Liu, a two-time NCAA singles champion, can already say she's played the world's best. She's lost to Kim Clijsters twice when the Belgian was the top-ranked player in the world. One of those losses came at the Bank of the West Classic at Taube Tennis Center; the other at the U.S. Open in New York.

Liu, an economics major, assumed the pressure of playing at the top of the singles ladder and wrapped herself in the role. It spoke volumes that Liu delayed her professional career to put team and school at the top of her priority list. While Barnes was a vocal leader, Liu led by example.

Liu finishes with a 94-23 record and a No. 12 ranking. She's a four-time All-American, a two-time ITA National Player of the Year and the ITA National Senior Player of the Year. Also part of the record winning streak, Liu has helped Stanford maintain its extraordinary winning streak at home, which reached 107 and counting this season."

She has just graduated from Stanford with an economics degree!

 

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She's not as good as she was when she lost to Kim @ the USO. From what I've seen, she's not even a top-200 prospect anymore. Doesn't matter really since she's got a degree from Stanford to fall back on.
 

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Well at least now she can concentrate and build her game instead of having to devote a significant amount of time on her schoolwork.
 

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She has little to lose my doing now as her college career is over. She hasn't as well in the last two years as her first two years, though. There was one point when she looked like a pretty good prospect but now I don't know
 

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She will play real tennis! :speakles: :lol:
 

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Amber is another player that at least will have a backup plan if she does not succeed on the tour.

She can do what Jewel Peterson did and start on a career in Economics.

But I wish her the best of luck on tour.
 

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I wish her well, but I just don't think she will have big impact on the WTA tour. Glad that she worked hard to get a degree from Stanford though...
 

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I hope to see her do well in the hardcourt tournaments soon :)
 

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too bad she went to college. any hope at a pro career goes out the drain when you sign the contract. it's a rarity to find good former college players. lisa raymond is one of the only ones. btw, melanie gloria plays for fresno state now, why is she eligible for NCAA if she has played pro tournaments before :scratch:
 

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Amber had played pro tournaments before she played the NCAA. It's not an issue. Besides, some people choose to go back to college and they can then play at the NCAAs anyway.
 

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VeeDaQueen said:
too bad she went to college. any hope at a pro career goes out the drain when you sign the contract. it's a rarity to find good former college players. lisa raymond is one of the only ones. btw, melanie gloria plays for fresno state now, why is she eligible for NCAA if she has played pro tournaments before :scratch:
...I never thought I'd hear anybody say that.
 

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VeeDaQueen said:
too bad she went to college. any hope at a pro career goes out the drain when you sign the contract. it's a rarity to find good former college players. lisa raymond is one of the only ones. btw, melanie gloria plays for fresno state now, why is she eligible for NCAA if she has played pro tournaments before :scratch:
Laura Granville and Jill Craybas played for Stanford and Florida, respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As did Lilia Osterloh (Stanford), Marissa Irvin (Stanford), Valmerie Castellvi(Tenessee) and Lisa Raymond (Florida).
 

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I havent seen an NCAA champion made any impact on the WTA tour. Not even top 20. Laura Granville, etc... Lisa Raymond is a different story on doubles, she is really a force in doubles.
 

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QUEENLINDSAY said:
I havent seen an NCAA champion made any impact on the WTA tour. Not even top 20. Laura Granville, etc... Lisa Raymond is a different story on doubles, she is really a force in doubles.
Lisa was at one point in the top 20 in singles
 

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Good luck to her, but she didn't look that impressive when ESPN2 showed the NCAA Women's Tennis Final a few weeks ago. :eek:
 

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Good luck to her i say!! And I dont agree with no college player having an impact on the tour..even if she can manage to do aswell as Raymond, or even Craybas or Granville then that is pretty good I say!
 
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