No. 12 Huskies' NCAA Run Comes To An End With 4-2 Loss To No. 1 Illinois In Round of 16
May 17, 2003
ATHENS, Ga. - The 12th-ranked and 16th-seeded Washington men's tennis team had its postseason run come to an end Saturday, as the Huskies suffered a 4-2 defeat to top-ranked Illinois in the NCAA Championship Round of 16 at the University of Georgia's Henry Feild Stadium in Athens, Ga.
Washington, who had earned a postseason berth in the last nine straight seasons, finished the 2003 season with an overall record of 18-6. The Huskies, now 0-3 in Sweet 16 matches, were one of just four teams to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in the last three-straight seasons. Top-seeded Illinois advanced to tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinals and improved its overall record to 29-0.
After trailing 3-0, Washington came back to cut the deficit to 3-2, only to have the Illini clinch the match with a win at No. 4 singles by Michael Calkins over UW sophomore Christoph Palmanshofer. Calkins took the first set 7-5, and Palmanshofer battled back with a 6-4 win in the second. Calkins prevailed in the third set, posting a 6-2 victory.
Illinois got on the board first by winning the first two doubles matches to take the all-important doubles point. The ninth-ranked pair of Brian Wilson and Rajeev Ram downed the UW duo of Matt Hanlin and Dillon Ruby, 8-4, on court two, while Phil Stolt and Chris Martin defeated Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler on court three, 8-4.
The 37th-ranked UW doubles pair of Ari Strasberg and Alex Vlaski was en route to an upset on court one, leading 11th-ranked Amer Delic and Michael Calkins 6-5 before the match was suspended when Illinois clinched the doubles point.
The Illini opened the singles portion of the competition with a pair of straight-set wins. Chris Martin downed Ruby 6-0, 6-3 at No. 5 and Ram took care of UW's Fred Sundsten, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 3. UW made a comeback as 28th-ranked Hanlin pulled a 6-4, 6-3 upset over 12th-ranked Wilson and Scharler defeated Ryler DeHeart at No. 6. Still needing just one more win to clinch the match, Illinois ended the Huskies' season with Calkins' win over Palmanshofer.
Although the team portion of the 2003 season has come to an end for Washington, Husky players Hanlin and Vlaski are slated to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships in Athens, beginning May 21.
2003 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships