Men's Tennis Heads To Georgia For NCAA Sweet 16 Match With Illinois

May 14, 2003

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THIS WEEK: Making its third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history, Washington's 12th-ranked and 16th-seeded men's tennis team heads to Athens, Ga., this week to compete in the NCAA Team Championships. The Huskies (18-5), who have won three straight and four of their last five matches, will face top-seed and undefeated Illinois (28-0), Saturday, May 17, at noon PT at the University of Georgia's Henry Feild Stadium. The UW/Illinois winner will face the winner of Saturday's Duke/Mississippi match in the quarterfinals on Sunday, May 18, at noon PT. The Huskies, who have an overall record of 9-8 in the NCAA tournament, are aiming to reach the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Washington has earned an NCAA berth in all nine seasons of head coach Matt Anger's tenure in Seattle. The Huskies advanced to the Sweet 16 via a 4-3 first round victory over American and a 4-3 second round win over 29th-ranked San Diego State.

RESULTS: The University of Georgia website will provide live scoring for both the team and individual portions of the championships at www.georgiadogs.com. Updated results will be available at Georgia's site, as well as on the NCAA website at www.ncaasports.com/tennis/mens.

UW VS. THE FIELD: Washington is one of just four teams to have advanced to the Sweet 16 the last three-straight seasons. The other three are (8) Duke, (10) Texas A&M and (6) UCLA. The Huskies have faced four of the remaining 16 teams left in the NCAA Tournament Field, posting a 1-3 record against those squads. UW defeated No. 12 seed Tulane, 5-2, in the final match of Great Northwest Shootout on Feb. 16. The Huskies have been defeated by the three Pac-10 teams remaining, falling to No. 5 seed Stanford (5-2), No. 4 Cal (5-2) and No. 6 UCLA (7-0) this year. Washington and Illinois have met just twice in the all-time series, which stands at an even 1-1 mark.

HUSKY NET NOTES: UW has reached at least 18 wins for the third-straight season...Washington has two nationally ranked singles players (No. 10 Alex Vlaski, No. 28 Matt Hanlin) and one nationally ranked doubles duo (No. 37 Ari Strasberg/Alex Vlaski)...the Huskies opened the season winning 14-straight matches, the best start ever in the 94-year history of the program.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS: Illinois, the tournament's only undefeated squad with a 28-0 overall record, advanced to the Round of 16 via a pair of shutouts over Butler (4-0) and Clemson (4-0). The Illini has five singles players and three doubles teams nationally ranked. In fact, Illinois has four players in the top-25 including No. 3 Amer Delic, No. 12 Brian Wilson, No. 20 Phil Stolt and No. 22 Rajeev Ram. Illinois' ranked doubles teams are Wilson/Ram (9), Michael Calkins/Delic (11) and Stolt/Wilson (58).

NCAA INDIVIDUAL INVITATIONS: Senior Matt Hanlin and sophomore Alex Vlaski were selected to represent Washington in the NCAA singles championship, which is set to follow the team portion of the competition, May 21-26, in Athens, Ga. Hanlin will aim to become UW's first two-time All-American in his third straight appearance in the singles championship, while Vlaski will make his second-consecutive trip to NCAAs. Last year, Vlaski advanced to the second round, while Hanlin fell in the first round. As a sophomore in 2001, Hanlin was chosen as an alternate and ended up earning All-America honors by advancing to the Round of 16.

HUSKY NCAA NOTES: The Huskies are making their ninth-straight postseason appearance and their third straight trip to the Sweet 16...Washington has never won an NCAA team title in tennis, but the 1949 squad came close with a second-place tie...Husky athletes have captured one singles national championship (Wallace Scott in 1924) and one doubles title (Jim Brink/Fred Fisher in 1948)...UW is 0-2 in NCAA Round of 16 matches, but 9-8 in overall NCAA matches.

MORE HUSKY NET NOTES: Alex Vlaski leads the Huskies with an overall singles record of 33-7...he ranks second on UW's all-time season list...Chet Crile holds the school record with 39 wins in 1993...Vlaski advanced to the Pac-10 singles final for the second-straight season, but fell to UCLA's Marcin Matkowski in the title match...Vlaski's loss to San Diego State's Oliver Maiberger in the NCAA first round was just his fourth dual loss of the season...Vlaski and Matt Hanlin (29-7) have shared time at No. 1 and No. 2 singles...Vlaski and senior Ari Strasberg are 8-11 at No. 1 doubles (13-15 overall)...Hanlin and senior Dillon Ruby are 19-3 at No. 2 doubles (19-5 overall)...sophomore Christoph Palmanshofer is 17-8 in singles, and is 14-5 in doubles with fellow sophomore Peter Scharler.

UW BEFORE THE TOURNAMENT: Prior to 1977, the NCAA did not host a championship for entire teams. The national team champion was determined by the results of the indvidual singles and doubles competitions, giving points to schools based on how high their qualifying individuals placed. Following are Washington's final NCAA team standings prior to the current team championship format:
Year Place Venue
1949 Tied for 2nd Austin, Texas
1952 Tied for 4th Chicago, Ill.
1953 Tied for 5th Syracuse, N.Y.
1954 Fied for 5th Seattle, Wash.
1955 Tied for 4th Chapel Hill, N.C.
1968 22nd San Antonio, Texas
1970 22nd Salt Lake City, Utah

HUSKIES RANKED NO. 12 IN LATEST ITA POLL: The Huskies are ranked 12th in the latest Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings released by the ITA. UW's highest ranking of the season was No. 7 on March 19, which was also the second-highest in school history. The Huskies held a No. 6 ranking on March 14, 2001. Individually, the UW lineup features two nationally ranked singles players. Sophomore Alex Vlaski is 10th, while senior Matt Hanlin is the 28th-ranked singles player. On the doubles side, the pair of Vlaski and senior Ari Strasberg checks in at No. 37.

HUSKIES GARNER ITA REGIONAL AWARDS: Sophomore Alex Vlaski and senior Matt Hanlin, received 2003 Intercollegiate Tennis Association West Regional awards, National ITA Division I Awards Chairman Jim Osborne announced May 12. Vlaski has been named the 2003 West Region ITA Player to Watch, while Hanlin has been selected as the region's nominee for the national John Van Nostrand Memorial Award. The ITA Player To Watch award goes to a player who has an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level the rest of his or her career. With his regional honor, Vlaski is one of eight players vying for the national award. The John Van Nostrand Memorial Award is a stipend that goes to an outstanding senior men's player who plans to pursue a professional career after college. The national ITA awards will be announced May 21 in Athens, Ga.

REGIONAL RECAP: Twelfth-ranked and 16th-seeded Washington men's tennis came from behind to edge 29th-ranked San Diego State, 4-3, in the second round of the NCAA Championships at the SDSU Courts in San Diego, May 11, to advance to the Round of 16 for the third consecutive season. After San Diego State won the doubles point and held a 2-1 lead, the Huskies rallied to win three of the final four singles matches, capped by senior Dillon Ruby's 6-3, 6-3 victory at No. 5 singles to clinch the team victory. Washington improved its overall record to 18-5 by winning its third straight match, while the Aztecs finished their season at 16-10. The Huskies advanced to the second round following a 4-0 shutout of American in the first round on May 10.

HANLIN, VLASKI NAMED TO ALL-PAC-10 FIRST-TEAM: Washington was one of two teams to land a pair of athletes on the All-Pac-10 First-Team when the all-conference awards were announced on May 6. Senior Matt Hanlin and sophomore Alex Vlaski earned the honor, marking the second time in school history that UW had two players on the All-Pac-10 first-team. UCLA's Tobias Clemens and Marcin Matkowski, this year's Pac-10 Co-Players of the Year, were also named to the first-team. This was the second-straight All-Pac-10 selection for Vlaski, who was a second-team honoree and Freshman of the Year in 2002. It was the fourth-straight All-Pac-10 honor for Hanlin, who was a second-team selection for the last three seasons.

HANLIN ALL-TIME WINNINGEST HUSKY: All-American senior Matt Hanlin etched his name in the Husky record books, becoming Washington's career leader in combined singles and doubles victories this year. Hanlin currently has 176 combined wins under his belt, surpassing previous leader Eric Drew who had 158 wins from 1996-99. Hanlin also ranks second on the UW's career singles list with 106 victories. Former Husky Chet Crile (1990-93) holds that record with 108 singles wins.

UW SETS NEW RECORD FOR BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Washington's 6-1 victory over Pacific on Sunday, March 23, gave the Huskies a 14-0 overall a record which is the best start to a season in the program's 94-year history. UW broke the previous standard of 13-straight wins established last year. The Huskies' streak was snapped by sixth-ranked Stanford (5-2), on Friday, March 28. Since then, Washington is 4-5 in dual matches.

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