Huskies Want To Maintain Momentum In San Diego
Feb. 3, 2011
SAT., FEB. 5 SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
SUN., FEB. 6 SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
THIS WEEK: After jumping up to their highest national ranking in six years, the Husky women's tennis team will have to steel themselves against a letdown against two dangerous opponents this week, as 15th-ranked Washington (4-0) heads to San Diego for a pair of duals. The Huskies showed just how good they can be last week with upset wins over No. 16 Texas and No. 14 Florida State, but the challenge will be taking the same fighter's mentality into this weekend's matches where they should be favored. Saturday, the Huskies face 58th-ranked San Diego State for the fourth time in the past three years, with a 12 noon start time. The next day the Dawgs will face 67th-ranked San Diego at 10 a.m. in the final match of UW's six-match season-opening road slate.
DY AND CHAN DOUBLE UP PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Husky All-Americans Denise Dy and Venise Chan have captured the past two Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, as UW charged out to a 4-0 start to the year. Last week, Dy's play lifted the Huskies to back-to-back upsets over a pair of Top-20 opponents, helping Washington qualify for the ITA Team Indoor Championships for the first time since 2005. In both matches, the score was tied at 3-3, with only Dy's No. 1 singles match remaining and both days the All-American came back from the brink of defeat to pull out the wins. On Saturday, the Huskies upended No. 16 Texas with Dy coming back from 5-2 down in the third set to win the final five games and defeat eighth-ranked Aeriel Ellis, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5. Against No. 14 Florida State on Sunday, Dy once again clinched the win on the road, this time saving match points in a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win against 42nd-ranked Katie Rybakova. One week earlier, Chan led UW to road victories at BYU and Utah to start the dual season. Playing from the No. 1 slot against BYU, Chan rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Megan Price. The next day, Chan knocked off 60th-ranked Evgenia Kryuchkova of Utah in straight sets at No. 2 singles. She and Dy also won both No. 1 doubles matches, beating a ranked duo each time out. It's the second Player of the Week honor for Dy and the fifth of Chan's career.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: Washington and San Diego State have become very familiar over the past few years, something that makes the Aztecs a dangerous opponent. The Huskies and SDSU have played dual matches each year since 2001, and UW has played in the Aztecs' annual fall tournament for the past several years, including in the fall of 2010. San Diego State is off to a 3-0 start and ranked 58th. Their three wins came against 63rd-ranked UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and Cal State Fullerton. Twin sisters Roxanne and Sierra Ellison are a formidable doubles duo as usual, and are currently ranked 27th. Julia Trunk was named ITA Southwest Region Player To Watch last year. Last season was a very hard-fought win for the Huskies in Seattle, as they held off the Aztecs, 5-2, with the last two wins coming in third sets. Peter Mattera has coached the Aztecs now for 18 years. Washington holds a 9-6 lead in the overall series.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO: The Toreros are 1-2 heading into the weekend after participating in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last week. San Diego traveled to UCLA, and lost to the 5th-ranked Bruins, 4-0, in the first round of National Team Indoor qualifying. In the consolation match, 43rd-ranked Pepperdine edged San Diego, 4-3. Leading San Diego is Stephanie Hoffpauir, who transferred to USD from UCLA after her freshman season. San Diego's win came against Cal State Fullerton in a 7-0 sweep. The Toreros went 13-12 last year and finished third in the West Coast Conference tournament. Washington trails the all-time series, 8-14, but won the last meeting between the schools by a 6-1 count in 2009 in San Diego. Sherri Stephens is now in her 27th year coaching the Toreros.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: On the back of a pair of upset wins over Top-20 opponents last week in Florida, the Husky women's tennis team jumped up to No. 15 in this week's ITA rankings. This is the highest point for Washington under sixth-year head coach Jill Hultquist, and the highest for UW since the 2005 season. Washington began the year ranked 23rd and was at No. 24 last weekend. While the No. 15 ranking is a new high point for Hultquist's team, Washington has been a Top-25 regular for the past few seasons. They reached a high point of 16th in 2010, and a high of 23rd in 2009. Junior All-American Denise Dy remains entrenched among the top-ranked singles players in the country, currently coming in at No. 6. Senior All-American Venise Chan was ranked ninth in the fall preseason, but has dropped to 55th currently after a fall season where she was bothered by a shoulder injury. She has gone 6-1 since the fall, however, with wins over players ranked 18th, 39th and 60th. Dy and Chan ended the 2009-10 season ranked 13th and 15th, respectively, in the national singles rankings.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington had one of its most memorable weeks in program history, as the Dawgs posted back-to-back upsets of Top-20 teams to qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the first time since 2005. On Saturday, the Huskies upended 16th-ranked Texas, 4-3, with four wins in singles. Venise Chan and Aleksandra Krsljanin posted straight set wins at second and sixth singles, but the Longhorns took a 3-2 lead. Junior Samantha Smith then persevered for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) win at third singles over Amanda Craddock to tie it up. That left a Top-10 singles battle at the No. 1 spot to decide it, as 6th-ranked Denise Dy was in a third set with 8th-ranked Aeriel Ellis. Dy trailed 5-2 in the third, but roared back to win the final five games to take a 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 win. The hardest part for UW was shrugging off the win and coming back the next day to face 14th-ranked Florida State on its home courts, but UW grabbed the doubles point for the 1-0 lead. Chan upset 18th-ranked Noemie Scharle in straight sets, and Krsljanin capped off an outstanding weekend with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 win over Manon Veldman at No. 6. Once again the match evened up at 3-3 with Dy's match serving as the decider. She was down again, facing match points this time, but saved the match points and saved the Dawgs with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win to put UW in the final 16 of National Team Indoors.
UP NEXT: Washington can finally unpack for a week, as UW makes its long awaited home debut next week. The Huskies will host 18th-ranked Ole Miss on Feb. 11 at 1 p.m., and then take on St. Mary's on Feb. 13, with both matches in the Nordstrom Tennis Center with free admission.
HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Now in year six of her tenure, head coach Jill Hultquist has ushered in a rebirth of the women's tennis program. In just four years, Hultquist took a 3-17 team and restored stability, added depth and an influx of talent, and brought the Huskies back to national prominence. The turnaround was made official when the Huskies reached the NCAA Round of 16 in 2009 with a stunning upset of Pac-10 Champion USC. Hultquist was named the Northwest Region Head Coach of the Year for her efforts in 2009, as the Huskies went 18-8 and finished the season ranked 27th. Washington had unprecedented individual success in 2010, as junior Venise Chan and sophomore Denise Dy eached made the semifinals of an ITA national singles championship, and both earned All-America honors by being among the top-16 seeds for the NCAA Championships. They became the first All-Americans for Hultquist and first for UW since 2004. The Dawgs made the NCAA Second Round before falling to eventual runner-up Florida, and UW ended the year ranked 23rd by the ITA, another high point for Hultquist. In 2008, Hultquist guided the Huskies back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2005, and the Huskies climbed back into the ITA Top-40 after nearly a two-year absence. Hultquist is the fourth head coach in program history, and succeeded Patty McCain, whom Hultquist worked with as an assistant for five seasons from 1997-2002. During her first tour of duty at UW, Hultquist helped lead the Huskies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. Hultquist was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2001. She was also selected as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001. Before joining the coaching ranks at Washington, Hultquist played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987-1997, winning more than 20 doubles titles. She ranked as high as sixth in the world in doubles and 64th in the world in singles. Hultquist teamed with McCain on the doubles circuit, and among their victories was a win over Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinals of the 1988 U.S. Open. They also advanced to the finals of the 1989 Australian Open. Hultquist reached the mixed doubles finals of the French Open in 1995 and competed in the Olympic Games for Canada in 1984, 1988 and 1996. A native of Toronto, Canada, Hultquist and her husband Rich have two children, Jack (9) and Maggie (7).