Bay Area Beckons 22nd-Ranked Huskies
April 4, 2012
FRIDAY, APR. 6 BERKELEY, CALIF.
SATURDAY, APR. 7 PALO ALTO, CALIF.
THIS WEEK: The Husky men's tennis team heads to the Bay Area this week in search of some marquee road wins that would put UW in the Pac-12 race. The 22nd-ranked Dawgs will square off against 12th-ranked California and 11th-ranked Stanford this Friday and Saturday. This will be the final road trip in the regular season for Washington (12-5, 0-2 Pac-12) which closes out the regular season with three straight at home against Utah, Arizona, and Oregon. UW and the Bears meet in Berkeley at 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, then the Huskies face the Cardinal on Saturday at 1 p.m.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington stayed put in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings this week, checking in at No. 22. 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 10 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 51-15, a .773 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 26-19 thus far in dual play ... Max Manthou had a team-best a seven-match win streak in singles snapped last weekend, but his 12-3 dual record still leads the Huskies.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Cal improved to 9-7 overall on the year and 2-0 in Pac-12 play with a 6-1 road win at Utah then a 5-2 win at Arizona last week. The Bears have played a very tough schedule and picked up some big wins, keeping them ranked 12th despite seven losses. Cal faced Pepperdine twice, winning once and losing once. The Bears also earned a 4-3 home win over Baylor, and have twice defeated 17th-ranked San Diego. UCLA twice defeated Cal by 4-3 scores, once in Berkeley and once at the ITA National Team Indoors. Other common opponents with UW are Tulsa, which Cal beat 4-3 on the road, and Duke, which beat the Bears 6-1 in Durham. Senior Nick Andrews has been playing No. 1 singles for Cal, and is currently ranked 76th, though two Bears are ranked higher. Ben McLachlan is ranked 37th, and Carlos Cueto is ranked 39th. Cal also has a strong doubles lineup, with Andrews and Chris Konigsfeldt ranked third in the nation, and Cueto and McLachlan ranked 33rd. Last year, Kyle McMorrow won a grueling three setter over Cueto at second singles to clinch a 4-3 win for UW over the Bears who were ranked 10th at the time. That improved UW's record to 10-30 all-time vs. Cal.
SCOUTING STANFORD: Stanford is ranked 11th nationally with a 12-5 record and a 2-0 start to Pac-12 play. The Cardinal just avoided an upset at Utah in their last match, winning 4-3 in Salt Lake City. They qualified for the ITA National Team Indoors final site and went 2-1, defeating Baylor and Kentucky and losing to No. 2 Virginia. Stanford lost non-conference meetings at home to USC (7-0) and UCLA (6-1), but picked up a 6-1 win over California in the first of two meetings this year. Former NCAA Singles Champion Bradley Klahn is in his senior season and has split time at No. 1 singles with fellow senior Ryan Thacher. Klahn is ranked 84th and Thacher is ranked 25th in singles. As a doubles duo the two are ranked ninth, and Thacher and freshman John Morrissey are also ranked 53rd. Stanford earned a 4-3 win over the Huskies last year in Seattle, as the teams split the three singles matches but Stanford won doubles, 2-1. The Cardinal have a 35-4 edge in the overall series.
LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies opened Pac-12 play with the top two ranked teams in the conference, No. 1 USC and No. 5 UCLA, at home at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. On Friday against the Trojans, UW was unable to break USC's 40 match win streak, falling, 7-0. The Huskies had a number of chances in singles, but USC stepped up late in sets, winning six sets that went at least to 6-4. Sophomore Max Manthou was closest to victory, serving at 4-4 in the third set against 38th-ranked Yannick Hanfmann, but Hanfmann won the final two games for a 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 win. Kyle McMorrow lost, 6-3, 6-3, to second-ranked Steve Johnson at No. 1 singles, as Johnson extended his win streak to 52 matches. The next day, the Huskies lost a tough doubles point, dropping 8-6 decisions at No. 1 and No. 3, to go into singles needing four wins. UW took three of the six first sets in singles, but only McMorrow and Marton Bots pulled out wins in a 5-2 defeat to the Bruins. McMorrow outlasted 59th-ranked Clay Thompson at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, while Bots went to a full third set tiebreak to defeat Dennis Novikov, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 and 7-3 in the breaker. Nicholas Kamisar had a set and a break lead at sixth singles but Dennis Mkrtchian rallied for a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win.
UP NEXT: Washington will close out the regular season with three straight home matches, beginning next week with a Friday afternoon dual against conference newcomer Utah on April 13. Arizona then comes to town on Sunday, April 15, for an 11 a.m. matinee.
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.