Women's Tennis L.A. Bound For Top-Five Duals
March 28, 2012
FRIDAY, MAR. 30 LOS ANGELES
SATURDAY, MAR. 31 LOS ANGELES
THIS WEEK: For the third straight year, the Huskies are on the road to face UCLA and USC as Pac-12 play continues. The No. 1-ranked Bruins have yet to drop a match this year, and the fourth-ranked Trojans have only lost twice, both times against UCLA, so the 48th-ranked Huskies have their work cut out for them. Washington (6-7, 0-4 Pac-12) has shown marked improvement in its depth in singles and over the past three Pac-12 matches, freshmen Capucine Gregoire, Julija Lukac, and Riko Shimizu have combined to go 6-3 in singles play. The Huskies will vist the Bruins first this Friday, March 30, for a 1:30 p.m. dual, then head to USC's Marks Stadium on Saturday for a 12 noon match.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Despite losing to two teams ranked ahead of them last week, the Huskies suffered a big drop in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's computer rankings this week, going from 36th to 48th. The Dawgs ended the 2011 season at 26th nationally and started 2012 one spot below that at No. 27 according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The only UW individual currently ranked is senior All-American Denise Dy. The senior All-American was ranked fourth in the nation in singles at the start of the fall. Although Dy had another impressive fall, reaching the ITA National Indoor semifinals, she slipped to 10th in the first 2012 singles rankings, and is currently ranked 20th nationally. Dy ended the 2011 spring season ranked eighth nationally, the second-best year-end ranking in school history. She has been ranked in the top-20 in every poll since 2010, her sophomore year, when she jumped from the fifties to No. 3 after a fantastic 2009 fall campaign.
SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins are the top-ranked team in the country with a 16-0 record and a 3-0 mark in Pac-12 play. UCLA won this year's ITA National Team Indoor Championship title, defeating Georgia Tech, Northwestern, USC, and Duke to the title. Conference wins so far have come over Washington State, Colorado, and Utah. The Bruins have more ranked singles players than any other team in the country, with seven. Freshman Robin Anderson continues to be the team's highest-ranked singles player, checking in at No. 6. She is followed by: Chanelle Van Nguyen (No. 84), Pamela Montez (No. 87), Courtney Dolehide (No. 97), Kaitlin Ray (No. 103), McCall Jones (No. 105) and Skylar Morton (No. 116). UCLA's two ranked doubles teams are Dolehide and Montez at No. 9, followed by Anderson and Morton at No. 11. Last season the Huskies were in L.A. again, dropping a 6-1 decision as Denise Dy earned the only UW point with a win over Jones, and UW played with just five players. This is the third straight year UW has been at UCLA, which leads the all-time series, 20-2.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans match the Bruins with a 3-0 conference record thus far, having won at home against WSU and on the road at Colorado and Utah. Overall USC is 14-2, with its only two losses coming against the rival Bruins. USC is currently ranked No. 4 and has been as high as No. 2 this season. Four Women of Troy are ranked in the top-100, led by #15 Zoë Scandalis, who is followed by #22 Danielle Lao, #36 Sabrina Santamaria and #76 Kaitlyn Christian. In doubles, USC has National Indoor Champs Christian/Santamaria at #2, with Valeria Pulido and Scandalis ranked #52. The Trojans have been led by one of the NCAA's top freshmen classes, featuring Scandalis, Santamaria, and Gabrielle DeSimone, who have recently played first, third, and fifth singles, respectively. USC leads the all-time series, 17-2, with a 6-1 win last year in L.A. although the Huskies won four of the six first sets in singles.
LAST TIME OUT: UW took to the road for the first time since early February, traveling to Arizona and Arizona State. Last Friday against the 31st-ranked Wildcats, the Huskies dropped a tough 4-3 battle, winning the four through six singles matches but losing the top three and the doubles point. All three freshmen won for the Huskies, with Capucine Gregoire getting a win at fourth singles, Julija Lukac winning at No. 5, and Riko Shimizu winning at No. 6. Denise Dy was upset by 79th-ranked Lacey Smyth at No. 1 singles, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the closest match of the day. Dy, struggling with a wrist injury, did not play doubles, and she did not play at all on Saturday in a 5-2 defeat at 30th-ranked Arizona State. Every Husky moved up one spot in singles, with Gregoire and Lukac winning again for UW's two points. Gregoire lost the first but won the second in a long tiebreak and was leading in the third when Sianna Simmons retired at 4-6, 7-6 (7), 4-2. Lukac defeated Hannah James at fourth singles, 6-3, 6-1. But ASU took the remaining matches in straight sets.
NO DY-NYING DENISE: One of the greatest Huskies in history, the incredible career of Denise Dy is in its final act, but the senior from San Jose is still piling up the wins and looking to leave the program with a flourish. The only Husky to reach three national semifinals (the 2009 ITA National Indoors, the 2010 ITA All-Americans, and the 2011 ITA National Indoors), Dy has been a force in tournament play, but has been even greater in dual match play with a team point on her racquet. Dy has a career dual match record in singles of 60-16, and since the start of her sophomore year it is an even more incredible 41-8, a winning percentage of .837. An All-Pac-10 First Team selection last year, Dy continues to draw near the 100 win plateau for singles, currently owning 96 victories. She would be the fourth Husky to join that club, along with Kristina Kraszewski (111), former doubles partner Venise Chan (101), and Dea Sumantri (100). She has made both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships each of the past two years, earning a top-16 seed in singles both times, and advancing to the doubles quarterfinals last year with Chan, matching the best finish ever by a Husky duo. Her 77 career doubles wins rank fourth all-time. Dy is looking to earn ITA All-America honors for the third year in a row. She picked up a singles All-America honor in 2010, and singles and doubles honors in 2011. Dy has been a fixture in the Top-20 of the national singles rankings for the past three years, with a career-best of No. 3 during her sophomore year, and highs of No. 4 as a junior and a senior.
UP NEXT: The Huskies return home to host new Pac-12 members Colorado and Utah for the first time in conference play. The Buffaloes are up first on Friday, April 6, at 12 noon. The Utes will then be in on Saturday, April 7, for another 12 noon start. Both matches will be played outdoors, weather permitting.
HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Now in year seven 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 has had unprecedented individual success over the past two seasons, as junior Venise Chan and sophomore Denise Dy eached made the semifinals of ITA national singles championships, and both earned All-America honors in 2010 in singles and again in 2011 in both singles and doubles. They became the first All-Americans for Hultquist and first for UW since 2004. Washington has now made four consecutive NCAA tournaments under Hultquist, reaching the second round the past two years after the 2009 round of 16 run. 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 (10) and Maggie (8).