Pac-12 Tourney Time For Huskies In Ojai
April 25, 2012
» Draws & Results
THIS WEEK: The Ojai Valley welcomes back the Pac-12 Women's Tennis Championships this week, as Washington looks to make a mark against the fierce conference fields. Whereas the men's tennis teams are playing a team tourney this week, the women will maintain the traditional singles and doubles tournaments. First round play begins Thursday, Apr. 25, with the finals on Sunday. Early round matches are at the Ojai Valley Tennis Club, with competition switching to Libbey Park on Saturday.
The Pac-12 Championships will keep with tradition as the featured event at this year's 112th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, which attracts 1,600 of the best college, junior and open players from the Western states. The annual event, started in 1896, has been played at the same site and interrupted only five times.
The Huskies, ranked 52nd nationally this week, will put extra emphasis on this week, as for the first time since 2007, it appears UW will likely be on the outside of the NCAA tournament bracket. Washington (8-11, 2-8 Pac-12) was ranked as high as 27th this season but a number of injuries made the second half of the season a challenge. Due to injury, only five of the eight Huskies on the roster will make the trip, including seniors Samantha Smith and Adrijana Pavlovic, sophomore Andjela Nemcevic, and freshmen Julija Lukac and Riko Shimizu. Senior Denise Dy, ranked 23rd nationally, will skip the tournament to rest her wrist injury in preparation for the NCAA Singles tourney.
THE DRAW: The tournament is broken down between main singles and doubles draws, which will produce the conference champions, and secondary invitational singles and doubles draws. The addition of Colorado and Utah this season brings the number of Pac-12 women's teams to 11. The main singles draw will feature 32 players, three players from each of the top ten schools that sponsor women's tennis and two players from the 11th-place team, based on the regular season standings. The 16-team women's doubles draw will have one doubles team from each of the 11 schools and five additional teams selected by the Draw Committee.
SENIORS LEAVE LENGTHY LEGACY: Last Sunday marked the final appearance at home for seniors Denise Dy, Samantha Smith, and Adrijana Pavlovic. They celebrated with a 4-3 win over Oregon. 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 97 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 61-17, and since the start of her sophomore year it is an even more incredible 42-9, a winning percentage of .835. 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 69 career singles wins and 42 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: Washington stopped its slide in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings with the win over Oregon, moving back up three spots this week to No. 52. 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. All-American Denise Dy remains in the Top-25 in the singles rankings yet again. The senior standout 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 23rd nationally. She went without a win in singles from Feb. 26 until a win over Oregon on Senior Day on April 22nd 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.
LAST TIME OUT: With a combined 164 singles wins between them coming into today, seniors Denise Dy and Samantha Smith still craved one more apiece in the final home match of their careers. Both four-year starters have dealt with significant injury issues this season, but both called on their experience and resolve to earn wins on Sunday that helped the 55th-ranked Huskies end the regular season with a 4-3 victory over Oregon at the Bill Quillian Stadium. Dy, Smith, and Adrijana Pavlovic were honored by Head Coach Jill Hultquist during the match, right after UW had lost a closely contested doubles point to fall behind, 0-1, to 66th-ranked Oregon. Washington then responded after the break with wins in five of the six first sets in singles, and went on to pick up the needed four victories to get their second win of conference play. Smith was the first Husky to get on the board in singles, as she played tenacious defense against Trudie du Toit and managed her way to a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles. Dy, the three-time All-American, had been stuck on 96 career singles wins since Feb. 26. She finally broke that drought today with a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles over Julia Metzger. Along with the seniors, it was a pair of freshmen getting the other two victories that propelled the Huskies. Shimizu was dominant at No. 6 singles, leading Rabea Stueckemann, 6-0, 5-0, before the Duck got her first two games, but Shimizu got the next one to close it out. The clinching ball went to freshman Julija Lukac, who won the final three games in her second set to knock off Sofia Hager, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 4 singles.
UP NEXT: This will likely be the last week of the season for every Husky except for Denise Dy, as Washington is typically ranked a few spots too low to earn NCAA tournament entry. That would mark the end of a four year NCAA tourney streak. But Dy will get a spot in the NCAA Singles Championships, which begin May 23 in Athens, Georgia.
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).