Huskies Open Pac-12 Play Hosting Top-Ranked USC, #5 UCLA
March 28, 2012
FRIDAY, MAR. 30 NORDSTROM TENNIS CENTER*
SATURDAY, MAR. 31 NORDSTROM TENNIS CENTER*
*based on current forecast. Matches played outdoors at Bill Quillian Stadium if possible
THIS WEEK: Pac-12 tennis is on tap this weekend as the 22nd-ranked Husky men's tennis team hosts the Trojans and Bruins, both of which come to Seattle in fine form. Through the non-conference season, the Pac-12 has proven to be as strong as ever, with USC currently ranked No. 1 in the nation and chasing a fourth straight NCAA title. Washington (12-3, 0-0 Pac-12) will try to stop USC's unblemished season this Friday, March 30, at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, March 31, fifth-ranked UCLA comes to town for a 1 p.m. dual. If weather permits, both matches will be played outdoors at the Bill Quillian Stadium, but current forecasts suggests the teams will be indoors at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: After ranking in the Top-20 for the past three weeks, the Huskies slipped a few spots but remain in the Top-25 at No. 22 this week. On March 6, the Dawgs jumped up to a season-high No. 13, then were ranked 17th over the next two weeks. The No. 13 ranking was the highest Washington has been ranked since the 2006 season, when they were 10th during the year before finishing 18th. The Dawgs began the season ranked 26th nationally after ending the 2011 season ranked 25th. In the newest individual rankings, junior Kyle McMorrow moved up three spots to No. 14 in singles. He has been ranked as high as No. 9 this season, making him the fourth Husky ever to crack the Top-10 in the ITA singles rankings. In the fall preseason rankings, he checked in at No. 22. After a solid fall season with some big wins, he moved up to 15th at the start of January, then to No. 9 on Feb. 16. McMorrow joins a select group of Huskies to crack the ITA's Top-10. Alex Vlaski reached a peak of No. 2 during the 2004 season, Robert Kendrick rose to No. 3 nationally in 1999, and Alex Slovic was ranked No. 9 in 2005. All played for current Husky Head Coach Matt Anger.
DAWG BITES: Kyle McMorrow has posted nine ranked wins this season, including four over current top-25 players and two over No. 10 Evan King of Michigan, and four of his losses this year have come to players currently ranked in the Top-10 in the nation ... McMorrow's career dual record is up to 50-14, a .781 winning percentage ... three freshmen have seen extensive action in the singles lineup this year, with true freshmen Emmett Egger and Viktor Farkas and redshirt freshman Nicholas Kamisar combining to go 26-13 thus far in dual play ... the Huskies are 12-2 at No. 6 singles so far this season, their best position, with Nicholas Kamisar going 9-1 at that spot ... Max Manthou is currently on a seven-match win streak in singles and his 12-1 dual record leads the Huskies.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans have handled the target on their backs well this season, as the three-time NCAA Champs are ranked No. 1 once again, and currently own a 39-match winning streak. USC is 19-0 this season and won the ITA National Team Indoor title in February. Leading the way for USC is the nation's second-ranked singles player, senior Steve Johnson, who won the NCAA Singles Championship last year and himself owns a 51-match winning streak dating back to last season, despite not being ranked No. 1. Senior Daniel Nguyen, ranked 13th, also has ended each of his first three seasons at USC with a national title. Also ranked for USC is No. 23 Ray Sarmiento, No. 38 Yannick Hanfmann, and No. 53 Emilio Gomez. Kyle McMorrow faced both Nguyen and Sarmiento in the fall, beating Sarmiento but losing in three sets to Nguyen. USC also has three doubles teams in the Top-20: No. 5 Johnson and Hanfmann, No. 15 Johnson and Roberto Quiroz, and No. 18 Sarmiento and Nguyen. Last season the Trojans had a 7-0 win in Los Angeles, with Johnson defeating McMorrow, 6-2, 6-3, on his home court. The Trojans hold the all-time series edge, 25-4.
SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins went through non-conference play with a 14-2 record, climbing to No. 5 in the national rankings. UCLA will stop in Oregon first before heading to Seattle. UCLA's first loss was to Duke, which also beat the Huskies, in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but the Bruins bounced back with back draw wins over Tennessee and California. The only other loss for UCLA was a 6-1 setback to No. 1 ranked USC in the non-conference dual between the teams. Four Bruins are ranked, led by 30th-ranked senior Nick Meister, who is back after redshirting 2011 due to injury. Also ranked is No. 51 Adrien Puget, No. 59 Clay Thompson, and No. 115 Marcos Giron. Meister and Puget are ranked 38th as a doubles team. In L.A. last year, UCLA earned a 5-2 win over the Dawgs, with departed Husky seniors Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Tobi Obenaus earning points. The Bruins have a 28-2 all-time lead in the series.
LAST TIME OUT: Over spring break, the Huskies headed to Malibu, California for a pair of duals at Pepperdine's Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. First the Dawgs faced 8th-ranked Pepperdine on Wednesday, the 21st. Pepperdine took doubles but UW won three of the six first sets in singles. However, Pepperdine battled back and eventually won four singles matches in third sets to take the 7-0 victory. 17th-ranked Kyle McMorrow was edged by 11th-ranked Sebastian Fanselow, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Marton Bots lost an early lead to Alex Llompart, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, and Viktor Farkas took the first set off 76th-ranked Mousheg Hovhannisyan but could not close it out, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Freshman Jeff Hawke stepped into the singles lineup for the first time for an ill Max Manthou and served for the match at No. 6 against David Sofaer, coming up just short in the day's closest match, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2). On the following Friday, the Huskies met 52nd-ranked Cal Poly, an NCAA opponent from a year ago, on neutral courts. Again UW dropped doubles, but it rallied with four singles wins to get the key 4-3 victory. Manthou returned to action and won in straight sets, as did Bots, and freshman Emmett Egger lost just one game in a No. 2 singles victory over Brian McPhee. The match came down to No. 1 singles, where McMorrow fought back against 25th-ranked Andre Dome, losing the first set, 4-6, but taking the second set in a tiebreaker to force a third. Leading 6-5, McMorrow broke Dome for the 7-5 victory and the clincher.
UP NEXT: Conference play continues with UW completing its run of the California schools with a trip to the Bay Area. Friday, April 6, the Huskies face 12th-ranked California at 1:30 p.m. in Berkeley. The next day, at 1 p.m., UW is in Palo Alto to face eighth-ranked Stanford.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now entering into his 18th season as head coach. Since his arrival, the Huskies have been a model of consistency, and consistently excellent at that. The winningest coach in Washington history, Anger's teams have never once missed the NCAA Championships and have been a fixture in the Top-25 with five runs to the NCAA Round of 16 since 2000. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 16 seasons, and won its first ever Pac-10 title in 2005 as Anger was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Furthermore, several of Anger's players have seen tremendous individual success, with seven of the top eight winningest players in UW history competing during his tenure. Five different singles players have earned All-American honors under Anger, 10 different players earned year-end Top-50 rankings, and Alex Vlaski captured the 2003 ITA All-American Championships, the first national title for a Husky since 1924. In addition, Anger has guided three different players to the NCAA Singles Semifinals. Anger played collegiate tennis at USC from 1982-84 and was a three-time All-American, while leading the team to a top-five finish three consecutive years. In 1983, he was a Pac-10 singles finalist and helped lead the Trojans to a third-place NCAA finish. The next season, Anger won the Pac-10 doubles championship and helped USC win the conference team title. At the conclusion of his junior season, Anger entered the pro ranks and played on the pro tour for eight years (1984-91). He earned his highest ATP singles ranking of No. 23 in the world in 1986. Starting with the Australian Open in 1985 through Wimbledon in 1987, no American won more Grand Slam singles matches. In that span, Anger reached the round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1986.