No. 8 Women's Tennis Battles Illinois This Saturday

Feb. 23, 2005

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- THIS WEEK: Washington's eighth-ranked women's tennis team returns home for the first time since January for a dual match against No. 45 Illinois. The Huskies (8-1, 1-0 Pac-10) have won three consecutive matches against top-25 competition, all coming away from home. The dual against the Fighting Illini will take place Saturday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. If the sunny Seattle weather holds, the match may take place outdoors at Bill Quillian Stadium. Otherwise, the action will move inside the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS: The Fightin Illini are ranked 45th following a disappointing 4-3 loss to Western Michigan in their last match. Illinois is 5-4 with a match against the Portland Pilots on Friday before they head north to Seattle. The Fighting Illini were 17-6 last season, losing in the first round of the NCAA Championships. One of Illinois' losses came at the hands of the Huskies, 5-2, in Champaign, Illinois. In that outing, Illinois won the doubles point but UW responded to win the top five singles matches. Illinois is led by senior Cynthya Goulet, who is ranked No. 36 in singles, and Brianna Knue and Macall Harkins who are the No. 58 doubles team. The Huskies are 3-0 all-time against the Fighting Illini.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington battled rain and an undefeated California team last weekend in the Bay Area, and outlasted both for a 4-3 win over the Golden Bears. On Friday, the Huskies and No. 17 Cal got underway, with Cal taking the doubles point before rain suspended play midway through the singles matches. Saturday, the Huskies were slated for a rematch with No. 1 Stanford, but the wet conditions remained unplayable throughout the day and the match was cancelled, to be made up only if it has Pac-10 title implications. Returning to Berkeley on Sunday, the Huskies had won four first sets and Cal had won two. Four of the six singles matches would go three sets, with the Huskies winning three. Then-No. 13 Dea Sumantri upset the nation's third-ranked player, Suzi Babos, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 at No. 1 singles to push the Huskies to within a point of the win. Tara Simpson then clinched the match for UW with a clutch 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles. After losing her first set in ugly fashion, Mugette Ahn stormed back on Sunday to win her No. 3 singles match 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. Dinka Hadzic had the only easy victory of the day for either team, defeating Cal's Monica Wiesener, 6-3, 6-1, at second singles, providing UW's first point.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Senior Dea Sumantri soared into the top-10 this week all the way up to No. 5 when the newest ITA singles and doubles rankings were released on Feb. 22. Sumantri becomes the second Husky in program history to reach the top-10, along with Kristina Kraszewski. Kraszewski was a familiar face in the top-10 during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, spending five weeks as the top-ranked player in 2000. Sumantri's previous career-high was No. 11. Junior Dinka Hadzic also made her first career appearance in the national singles rankings, rising all the way up to No. 37. In the latest ITA team rankings, the Huskies maintained their season-high No. 8 ranking. The Huskies remain the second-highest ranked Pac-10 team behind No. 1 Stanford.

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: It's back to the road for Washington next weekend. They will be hoping for better weather in southern California than awaited them in the northern region last weekend. The Huskies take on San Diego, Friday, March 4 at 2 p.m. then face San Diego State on Saturday, March 5 at 12 p.m.

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