No. 21 Huskies Ready for New Mexico and Michian State

Jan. 25, 2005

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- THIS WEEK: The 21st-ranked Washington Huskies (2-0) continue their season opening ten-match homestand this weekend facing their first ranked opponents of the year. The Huskies will face the New Mexico Lobos (0-1) on Friday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m., in a rematch from the first round of the 2004 NCAA Championships, when the Huskies ended the Lobos' season with a 4-0 win. The Huskies then battle the Michigan State Spartans (4-0) on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. Both matches will be held at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

THE OPPONENTS: The 65th-ranked Lobos are coming off one of their most successful seasons in years. New Mexico claimed both the Mountain West Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2004, and made their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999 before falling to Washington in the first round. The Lobos finished 17-7 in dual play. New Mexico's only ranked singles player is senior Ryan Stotland at 122, however the combo of Stotland and senior David Kowalski is one of the top doubles teams in the nation, ranking No. 3. Michigan State arrives in Seattle with a No. 55 national ranking and a perfect 4-0 start to their season. The Spartans posted a 17-13 mark last season, but missed the NCAA tournament. Senior Andrew Formanczyk leads the Spartans in singles and is ranked just outside the top-100 at No. 102. Formanczyk teams with freshman Nick Rinks to earn a No. 47 doubles ranking. Washington won the only previous meeting between the two schools.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies opened their 2005 dual season last weekend as Portland and San Francisco visited the Nordstrom Tennis Center. Washington swung into action with a 6-1 win over Portland on Friday, marked by senior All-American Alex Vlaski's dominant return to the collegiate scene after a summer and fall spent competing in professional tournaments to raise his ranking. Vlaski lost only one game in his win over Portland's 111th-ranked Matthew Loucks. The next day the Huskies cruised past the Dons of San Francisco with a 7-0 sweep. Washington swept doubles play and no singles player dropped a set in the match. Freshman Andy Kuharszky made his home debut with a pair of singles wins at fourth singles and two more doubles victories with Mike Ricks.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Huskies currently reside just out of the top-20 in 21st place in the latest ITA Rankings. The ranking is up five spots from where the Huskies closed out the 2004 season at No. 26. Sophomore star Alex Slovic cracked the top-ten for the first time in his career, earning a No. 9 ranking. Slovic becomes just the third Husky ever to reak into the top-ten, joining senior teammate Alex Vlaski and former Husky Robert Kendrick, who rose to third in 1999. Vlaski was the second-ranked player in the country last season, however does not appear in the 2005 rankings because he took the fall season off to compete in professional tournaments. Christoph Palmanshofer is No. 79 entering his senior season.

LIVE SCORING: Live scoring updates will be made available for most Washington home matches in 2005 at www.gohuskies.com.

2005 SCHEDULE: Washington's 2005 slate features 16 opponents ranked in the preseason top-75 including the three participating Great Northwest Shootout teams--No. 44 Minnesota, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 19 Tulane. The Pac-10 schedule is the most daunting section, starting at home against seventh-ranked Stanford and including a trip to No. 2 UCLA and No. 8 USC. The Huskies host their first ten matches and will also benefit from home court avantage in four of their seven Pac-10 match-ups.

UP NEXT: Following this weekend's duals, the Huskies prepare for one of the marquee events on their home schedule, the Great Northwest Shootout on Feb. 3-5. The three-day round-robin tournament features 11th-ranked Ohio State, No. 19 Tulane and No. 44 Minnesota. Each team will play each other once so each day will feature three matches.

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