Seniors Look To Go Out On Top Sunday Vs. Oregon
April 18, 2012
SUNDAY, APR. 22 Bill Quillian STADIUM*
THIS WEEK: Washington closes out the regular season this coming Sunday hosting the rival Oregon Ducks, and looking to send out its senior class on another winning note. Denise Dy and Samantha Smith have been four-year starters and played in three NCAA tournaments, and will be joined on Senior Day by Adrijana Pavlovic, who has made great strides in just two years at UW and will likely make her seventh start of the season on Sunday. Now ranked 55th, the Huskies likely need to defeat the 66th-ranked Ducks to get on the NCAA tourney bubble. Sunday's match gets underway at 12 noon, and will be played outdoors at the Bill Quillian Stadium, weather permitting.
SENIORS LEAVE LENGTHY LEGACY: Sunday marks the final appearance at home for senios Denise Dy, Samantha Smith, and Adrijana Pavlovic. Here is just a brief look at what they have accomplished during their Washington careers.
Dy, a native of San Jose, California, will certainly go down as one of the greatest players in Washington history. Were it not for a wrist injury this spring, Dy could have challenged the UW career wins record of 111. As it stands, Dy ranks fourth all-time with 96 singles 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. 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, matching the best finish ever by a Husky. Her 78 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 was an All-Pac-10 First Team selection last year, after Second Team honors in 2010 and honorable mention in 2009. In the fall of 2009, she became the first Husky ever to win the ITA Northwest Region singles title. Dy has been a fixture in the Top-25 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. She earned Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention the past two years.
Smith has been a fixture in UW's lineup since her freshman season, helping UW reach the NCAA Round of 16 in 2009, as she provided a singles win in Washington's upset of 7th-seeded USC in the second round. A native of Los Angeles, Smith also had critical NCAA tournament wins for the Huskies in 2009 against San Diego State, in 2010 against Utah, and in 2011 against Maryland, all matches the Huskies went on to win. Smith has 68 career singles wins and 41 career wins in dual matches, providing numerous crucial wins over the years. She also ranks ninth in Husky history with 67 career doubles victories. Smith earned Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention last year.
Pavlovic joined the team last season from Cowling County Community College, starting in 12 matches total last year and starting in singles eight times as the Huskies advanced to the NCAA second round. She posted a key 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles with Samantha Smith in Washington's 4-3 win over 16th-ranked Ole Miss. This season, Pavlovic, who hails from Luenen, Germany, has gone 6-6 overall and 2-4 in dual play, recently earning her first Pac-12 win against Colorado. She also earned a win against Portland at No. 6 singles.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released a new set of team and individual rankings on April 17, with the Huskies coming in at No. 55. Washington was ranked in the Top-30 through February before injuries began to take a toll. 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. She has not had a win in singles since Feb. 26 due to a wrist injury, but Dy earned so many big wins in the fall that her ranking remains solid. 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 OREGON: The Ducks have a 12-8 overall record and a 2-7 Pac-12 mark, good for a No. 66 ranking nationally. Oregon's two conference wins came at home against Colorado and Utah, the latter a 4-3 victory. Last week the Ducks lost a 5-2 match at Washington State. Sofia Hager and Pascale Neubert got wins at fourth and fifth singles for the Ducks. Junior Julia Metzger holds down the No. 1 singles spot, and Trudie du Toit is the only senior on the roster, playing in the middle of the singles lineup. Hager and junior Patricia Skowronski are ranked 54th in doubles. Last year, the Ducks earned a 4-3 win in Eugene against a Husky squad similarly hit by injuries as this year's group. UW won the top three singles spots last year, but Oregon won 4-6 and the doubles point. Washington still holds a commanding lead in the all-time series, 58-8.
LAST TIME OUT: In its final road match of the season, the Husky women's tennis team was unable to upend its cross-state rivals, as the Cougars wrapped up their most successful conference run in history with a 6-1 win over UW at the Simmelink Tennis Courts. Husky frosh Natali Coronel provided a straight set win for UW's point. 50th-ranked Washington was again without two of its top four players, and freshman Riko Shimizu retired early in her match once WSU had clinched, as Shimizu has an injured ankle. Coronel got her second Pac-12 win since returning from an injury of her own, as she defeated Andjela Kankaras at No. 4 singles, 7-5, 6-1. Samantha Smith gave it a go despite a troublesome back injury, but she lost to 105th-ranked Elisabeth Fournier, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Sophomore Andjela Nemcevic fell to 49th-ranked Liudmila Vasilieva at the No. 1 singles match, 6-1, 6-2. Freshman Julija Lukac brought a 5-1 record over her last six Pac-12 matches to Pullman, but she came up short against Ksenia Googe, 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 3 singles match. Pavlovic dropped a 6-3, 6-3 decision to Charlotte Koning at the No. 6 spot.
UP NEXT: The annual Pac-12 Championships return to Ojai, California next week, where the conference will decide singles and doubles champions from April 26-29. While the men are switching to a team tournament this year, the women's Pac-12 Championships will remain an individual event.
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).