Much On The Line In Dual At Washington State
April 11, 2012
SUNDAY, APR. 15 PULLMAN, WASH.
THIS WEEK: Crunch time arrives for the Husky women's tennis team this week as the Dawgs have just two matches remaining against their Northwest conference rivals. This Sunday, April 15, the Huskies head to Pullman to take on a Washington State squad that has won seven straight at home and climbed its way up to No. 32 in the national rankings. Now ranked 50th, Washington may need to win out to be in contention for an NCAA tourney bid. UW has been bitten hard by the injury bug this season, but improved depth was a strong point heading into the year. That has been fully tested, and the Huskies got a win over Colorado last week without two of their top four singles players. A road win over their rivals would get UW right back in the NCAA mix. First serve is set for 11 a.m.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released a new set of team and individual rankings on April 10, with the Huskies coming in at No. 50. Washington was ranked in the Top-30 through February. 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 22nd 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-25 in every poll since 2010, her sophomore year, when she jumped from the fifties to No. 3 after a fantastic 2009 fall campaign.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars are enjoying one of their best seasons in several years, currently ranking 32nd nationally with a 16-5 record overall. Washington State is 4-3 in Pac-12 play, defeating Arizona and Arizona State at home, as well as Colorado and Utah at home, and losing to Cal, USC, and UCLA. Junior Liudmila Vasilieva and senior Elisabeth Fournier reside at the top of the WSU singles lineup. Vasilieva is ranked 49th in singles and Fournier is ranked 105th. Husky freshman Julija Lukac had a win over Vasilieva during the fall season. Last year the Huskies also visited Pullman, and earned a 4-3 victory by winning the top three singles matches and the doubles point. That win increased UW's series lead to 48-9.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington picked up its first Pac-12 win of the season at home last Friday against Colorado, posting a 7-0 sweep at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Huskies won the doubles point for the first time since Feb. 24, and then won all six singles matches. Senior Adrijana Pavlovic stepped in at No. 6 singles and earned the first singles point with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Ania Anuszkiewicz. Riko Shimizu and Julija Lukac also had routine straight set wins. Freshman Natali Coronel saw her first action at home since the Feb. 18 match against Portland, and she won at No. 5 singles in straight sets. Samantha Smith won, 6-4, 7-6 (5), at No. 2 singles over Winde Janssens and Andjela Nemcevic got the No. 1 singles win over Kristina Schleich in a third set super-tiebreak. The next day, UW went outside to face Utah, but were undone by injuries despite showing a lot of fight. Denise Dy attempted to go in singles for the first time in several weeks, but was clearly hampered by her wrist and lost a three-setter at No. 1 singles to 77th-ranked Anastasia Putilina. Shimizu rolled her ankle and retired at sixth singles, and once Utah clinched, Smith also retired despite leading her No. 3 single smatch to rest an injured back. The Utes earned the 6-1 win, with Lukac providing the lone point with her 7-6 (2), 6-1 win at No. 4 singles. The Huskies were lamenting a lost doubles point, with Dy and Smith dropping an 8-6 decision at No. 1 and Nemcevic and Shimizu losing 9-7 at No. 2 doubles after Lukac and Coronel had won quickly at the three spot.
NO DY-NYING DENISE: One of the greatest Huskies in history, the incredible career of Denise Dy is in its final act, however a wrist injury has taken a big toll on the San Jose native, stalling her chances at the school record for wins. 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 60-17, and since the start of her sophomore year it is an even more incredible 41-9, a winning percentage of .830. 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 wrap up the regular season at home against the Oregon Ducks next Sunday, April 22, starting at 12 noon. Honored during the match will be seniors Denise Dy, Adrijana Pavlovic, and Samantha Smith. From there the Huskies will head to the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, California from April 26-29.
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).