Huskies Start Pac-10 Play At Cal, Stanford

Feb. 15, 2005

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- THIS WEEK: The Pac-10 season gets in gear this weekend for Washington's eighth-ranked women's tennis team as they travel to face the No. 17 California Golden Bears and the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal. The Huskies (7-1) take on Cal on Friday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley, Calif. then will attempt to topple the Cardinal on Saturday, Feb. 19 at noon at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. The matches will be Washington's fifth and sixth in a row against Top-25 competition, all away from home, with the Huskies going 3-1 during their road stretch.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears are 3-0 early in their season and are ranked 17th. The story for Cal this season has been the immediate impact of freshman Suzi Babos, who announced herself as one of the premier players in the nation this fall by winning the ITA Northwest Regional Championships. Babos has already amassed a 19-2 record this year and is the third-ranked played in the country. Last year the Huskies picked up a 4-3 win over the Golden Bears, another major stepping stone for the program as it was only the second all-time win for UW in the series. Cal still holds a decisive 18-2 series lead.

SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal are the premier program in collegiate women's tennis. Stanford has 13 NCAA titles to its name including last year's undefeated championship run. The Cardinal are 6-0 so far this season and won the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in early February, defeating the Huskies in the quarterfinals. Stanford is the unanimous No. 1 and features a number of players in the national rankings including No. 12 Alice Barnes, Erin Burdette (22), Theresa Logar (35), Whitney Deason (41), and Anne Yelsey (82). Doubles teams currently ranked for Stanford are No. 7 Barnes and Burdette and No. 41 Deason and Lejla Hodzic. Anchoring the line-up is two-time defending NCAA singles champion Amber Liu, who did not play a fall season so could not appear in the first set of rankings. Burdette won the singles and doubles titles at the Pac-10 Indoor Championships in January hosted by Washington, yet UW's Dinka Hadzic upset Burdette in the team's previous dual this year for the Huskies' only point of the match. The Huskies have never defeated the Cardinal, winless in 16 tries.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies were in Eugene last weekend for a non-conference dual with the rival Oregon Ducks. Washington netted a 5-2 win over No. 25 Oregon, with all their points coming in singles play. It was the first loss of the year for the Ducks (8-1). 13th-ranked senior Dea Sumantri led the way with her 6-4, 6-2 win over Oregon's No. 1 player, 31st-ranked Daria Panova. Also notching a big win was Mugette Ahn at third singles, who downed Davina Mendiburu, 6-4, 6-1. Mendiburu had only lost once all year and won Flight II of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships last month. Saskia Nauenberg and Tara Simpson also came away with straight set wins and Allison Rainey pulled out a third-set tiebreaker over Oregon's Ester Bak at No. 6 singles to finalize the victory. The Huskies have now beaten the Ducks four times over the past two seasons and improved to 54-2 against their northwest rivals all-time.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In the latest ITA team rankings released February 15, the Huskies climbed one spot to No. 8 in the country, their highest ranking all season after starting the year ranked tenth. The Huskies remain the second-highest ranked Pac-10 team behind No. 1 Stanford. Senior Dea Sumantri is the only Husky currently in the singles rankings at No. 13. Sumantri and Dinka Hadzic are the 56th-ranked doubles team in the current poll. The next singles and doubles rankings will be released on Feb. 22.

2004 RECAP: The Huskies enjoyed perhaps their most successful season in history last year, coming within mere points of their first ever Final Four appearance. Washington earned their eighth-straight postseason berth and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in four years. UW defeated Fairfield, Oregon and Arizona State to reach the Elite Eight, where they were barely edged, 4-3, by No. 7 Clemson with the final match coming down to a third-set tiebreak. Washington won 21 matches against only six losses, matching an all-time high for victories under head coach Patty McCain. UW was ranked in the top-10 all year, including a high mark of fourth, the highest ranking in school history. In the Pac-10, the Huskies finished 5-3, good for a fourth place finish behind eventual national champion Stanford, USC, and national runner-up UCLA. Junior Dea Sumantri earned her second All-American certificate in singles and finished ranked No. 17. Sumantri also teamed with senior Claire Carter to reach the NCAA doubles quarterfinals and earn All-American certificates. It was the fourth All-American award for Carter, the first Husky to achieve that. For her efforts, Patty McCain earned national acclaim, being named National Coach of the Year.

UP NEXT: The women will make their first appearance on home turf in nearly a month next week when 34th-ranked Illinois visits the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 26 for a noon-time match.

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