UW Tennis Gears Up for 2000-01 Season.
Jan. 12, 2001
As the 2000-2001 tennis season approaches, head coach Matt Anger is more excited than ever about the future of Husky tennis. After last year's finish of 15-9, a final ITA ranking of No. 33, along with receiving their sixth-consecutive post-season berth, Anger and company are ready to hit the courts once again.
In retrospect, the 1999-2000 season was somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Huskies. With the departure of two All-Americans, the Dawgs found themselves with a young team that was certainly talented, but lacked the experience needed to pull out the tough wins.
"I think last year was a growing season for us," explained Anger. "We had a very young team and they improved and played admirably throughout the year. We played in all kinds of tight 4-3 matches, but unfortunately we lost a lot of those. With that experience and those players returning, who are hungry to be on the better side, I am excited about our upcoming season."
The Huskies will be with out the services of departed seniors Nick Quatochi and Mark Woolley, along with sophomore Jeff Eicher, who decided to pursue other options. Quatrochi finished his career ranked second on UW's all- time list for doubles wins in a career with a record of 71-51. Woolley, too, made his mark on the doubles record books, finishing eighth on UW's all-time list with a record of 54-48.
The loss of experience in doubles play is a major area of concern for Anger as he prepares his team for play. While he states that doubles play did improve over the span of last year's season, it will be the main focus early on. Joining the Huskies to help in this area, is volunteer assistant coach Pat Galbraith, who was formerly ranked No. 1 in the world in doubles on the ATP tour.
"Our doubles was a weakness last year and without a doubt, Nick Quatrochi and Mark Woolley were our most experienced players, and now we have lost them," said Anger. "As we start out in the early practices we're a further step back in our doubles play, as compared to last year. They were our most reliable players on the doubles court, and heading in now, we are going to spend a lot of time on our doubles skills in preparation for the season."
Leading the team this year will be seniors Jeremy Berman, Marius Lunde, Andy Posavac, and sophomore Matt Hanlin. Coming into the season the ITA ranked Hanlin at 50th, Berman ranked 85th, and Posavac came in at 100th.
"It is nice having three guys in the rankings to start the year," Anger stated. "But, as always I would say that I am definitely leaning on Jeremy Berman. He is a senior and has always been there for us to lean on. He is a leader both on and off the court and we can always depend on him to come through for us.
"We will also be leaning on Matt Hanlin," continued Anger. "He had a tough situation last year coming in as a freshman and being expected to play high in the line-up. Most of the time we played him at the number one spot in singles, which is hard for a freshman, but he did a super job. I think now that he has a season behind him, he knows what to expect in college tennis, and I'm sure he will have a fantastic year."
Lunde will also provide the team with much needed experience and leadership. He put together an overall record of 28-9 in singles play last season. His 28 wins were enough to place him at the No. 3 spot on UW's all-time list for singles wins in a season.
"Marius didn't play as high in the lineup for us, but he played lower and gained a lot confidence in winning a lot of matches," said Anger. "I was really pleased with how he got into the habit of winning."
Anger also expects Posavac to be a solid contributor to the team in both singles and doubles play. Playing in the No. 1, 2, and 3 singles spots last year, he put together a 19-17 overall record. Posavac competed in doubles play with Quatrochi, Berman, and Ruby, finishing the season with a combined record of 19-15.
"Andy has started every year for us in singles," Anger said. "He practices as hard as anyone and that is where he will be a great leader for our team."
While Husky fans will be familiar with some of the faces that are returning this season, there was one major change that occurred over the summer. The Nordstrom Tennis Center was revamped to showcase the ATP-style purple courts. The new surface has been found to be a good color for the players, as well as the spectators, to follow the ball.
"I think it will be exciting for Husky fans when they come out to the Nordstrom Tennis Center and see the purple courts," Anger said. "We are only the third place to have the new courts and obviously, it works well as a school color. But I think at the same time, it goes to show just how serious we are with our tennis program."
In an effort to portray that seriousness, Washington will play host to the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Tournament on Feb. 15. The Huskies hosted the event for the first time in 1999, where they had their highest ranked win ever, upsetting No. 3 Mississippi State 5-1 in the first round of competition. Leading the field this year will be defending national champion Stanford.
"It is a great experience for us as a team," said Anger. "But it's also great for the people of Seattle becaue they are coming to see the best players in college tennis. The teams are very competitive and the format makes for a lot of matches to go down to the wire."
Three new players will join the Husky ranks this season. Andrej Bizjak is a junior transfer from Portoroz, Slovenia and is expected to contribute to the team immediately. Fellow newcomers include Michael Rubin of Canton, Ohio and Nick Weiss of Santa Monica, Calif.
Washington's home schedule features several top-ranked squads, including Stanford, California, and Arizona State. The men will also take the road for conference matches at UCLA, USC, and Arizona. The Dawgs will also host another tournament in early February, the Husky Invite, which will take place on the weekend of Feb. 11-12. Teams that will compete include Arizona State, Pepperdine, and Texas Christian.
"I am really excited about this team because they work extremely hard and they are always eager to play," Anger said. "That makes it fun for me to coach. Because our guys are so dedicated year-round, we are able to make steps in the fall to be better competeitors with the top teams. The greatest strength of our team is that there isn't one single guy out there with a bad attitude, and that just makes everything a bit more exciting."