Husky Women Set To Face Long Beach State In NCAA First Round Friday

May 10, 2005

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No. 25 Washington women's tennis (14-8), making its ninth-consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, will travel to Southern California for an opening round match against No. 59 Long Beach State (15-10), Friday, May 13, at 10 a.m. PT at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus in Westwood. Following the Huskies' match, the host Bruins (15-5) will counter Illinois State (18-7) at 1 p.m. The winners will advance to the regional final held Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m. PT. The regional champion will move on to play in the 16-team NCAA finals hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., May 19-22. The Huskies have earned NCAA bids the last nine-straight years, including all eight of head coach Patty McCain's tenure. Washington has advanced to the Sweet 16 the last two years, including a trip to the quarterfinals last season. That finished equaled the Huskies' school best performance of a first Elite Eight appearance in 2001.

Washington has made the NCAA field of 64 every year since 1997. After four straight seasons of losing first round matches (1997-2000), the Huskies became a regular among the final 16-teams in the championship. Since 2001, Washington has advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of the last four years including two appearances in the quarterfinals (2001, 2004). Last year, UW was ousted by Clemson (4-3) in the quarters after racking up victories over Fairfield (4-0), Oregon (4-3) and Arizona State (4-3). Washington has become accustomed to playing its regional on its home court, after hosting these opening rounds in three of the last four seasons. Washington did not host in 2002, a year that also saw the Huskies sent to play at UCLA.

UW is led by senior Dea Sumantri, a two-time All-American who is no stranger to the pressure of postseason play. Sumantri, ranked 18th nationally in singles, has a team-high singles record of 26-13 and looks to end her career on a high note. She was named to the All-Pac-10 second-team, after a first-team nod last year. Playing at No. 2 singles is junior Dinka Hadzic, ranked 93rd, who has a 17-15 overall record and was recently named to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention team. Upperclassmen Mugette Ahn, a senior, and Stephanie Svanfeldt, a junior, have made an impact on the Huskies' lineup. Two of Washington's starters, freshmen Tara Simpson and Allison Rainey, are playing in their first-ever NCAA championships, but have put together stellar rookie campaigns. Sophomore Saskia Nauenberg has been a fixture at No. 3 and No. 4 singles and will look to build upon her experience in UW's Elite Eight run from last season. Nauenberg, Simpson and Rainey all have at least 19 singles wins under their belts. On the doubles courts, Sumantri and Hadzic have paired up as UW's No. 1 duo and are ranked 60th nationally. McCain has rotated her other two teams quite often, most recently playing Ahn and Nauenberg together at No. 2 and Simpson and sophomore Monika Kolbovic at No. 3. Currently ranked No. 25 in the latest ITA team rankings, the Huskies ranked as high was eighth this year following a stellar performance at the National Team Indoors where they knocked off No. 24 New Mexico and No. 12 Miami. Additional wins over Top-25 opponents this year came against BYU (25th), Oregon (25th) and California (17th).

In addition to Washington, the other four teams competing at the LA Tennis Center will be Long Beach State, Illinois State and UCLA. The Huskies have a 3-8 all-time record against Long Beach State and have not faced the 49ers in NCAA play. Long Beach State is led by senior Nicole Bouffler, a first-team All-Big West selection, at No. 1 singles. Freshman Stephanie Bengson also earned first-team all-league honors, and Sandra Rocha was named to the singles honorable mention team. The 49ers won this year's Big West title. Should UW advance to play Illinois State, neither team has ever faced each other. Should the Huskies face the Bruins in the regional final Saturday, both are familiar to each other. Washington has struggled against UCLA, trailing the all-time series 2-12. UCLA won this season's earlier meeting, 5-2, in Seattle. Washington is 0-2 against UCLA in NCAA tournament play. The Bruins ousted UW in the 2003 Sweet 16 and eliminated the Huskies in the 2002 regional final in Westwood. UCLA has four singles players (Daniela Bercek, Riza Zalameda, Laura Gordon and Tracy Lin) and one doubles team (Bercek and Zalameda) listed in national rankings.

Husky senior Dea Sumantri was selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship held May 23-28 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., a competition that will following the team finals. Already a two-time All-American, Sumantri is making her third-straight NCAA singles appearance. As a sophomore she advanced to the Sweet 16, and as a junior reached the second round before falling to eventual champion Amber Liu of Stanford. Sumantri was also a doubles competitor last year, reaching the NCAA quarterfinals with fellow All-American Claire Carter. Their run tied the best tournament run by a UW doubles duo. Sumantri is the only Husky to ever earn singles and doubles All-America honors in the same season. She will aim to end her tenure as the third Husky to earn three All-America honors in her career.

Senior Dea Sumantri and junior Dinka Hadzic combined for the most successful performance at the Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Championships, advancing to the doubles semifinals before falling to Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey from Stanford, 8-0. The doubles duo of senior Mugette Ahn and sophomore Saskia Nauenberg made it as far as the quarterfinals before suffering defeat to the Arizona tandem of Hollands and Mlakar. The Huskies struggled in singles play, with all four main draw entrants (Sumantri, Hadzic, Nauenberg and freshman Tara Simpson) falling in the first round. The only UW player to pick up a singles win was junior Stephanie Svanfeldt in the first round of the invitational bracket, but lost in the second round.

The Huskies finished the Pac-10 schedule in fifth place with a 3-4 record. UW picked up conference wins over Arizona, Washington State and California. Washington only played seven conference matches, as its contest at Stanford was cancelled due to weather. The Huskies did face Stanford at the National Team Indoors, losing 6-1. The Cardinal won the conference title with an undefeated 7-0 record. Stanford has won 50-straight matches heading into the NCAA Championships.

Senior All-American Dea Sumantri is in the midst of a stellar 26-13 season in which she has established herself as one of the elite players in the nation. However, wins have been tougher to come by as of late for the senior, after she began the year with a 23-6 record. Still, Sumantri has knocked off 14 ranked opponents, nine of which were in the top-40 at the time of the match. Sumantri, currently ranked No. 18, also has wins over five players currently ranked in the top-26, includingRobin Stephenson of Alabama (No. 6), Suzi Babos of Cal (No. 8), UCLA's Daniela Bercek (No. 11), USC's Lindsey Nelson (No. 16), and UCLA's Riza Zalameda (26). On Januray 29, Sumantri defeated Boise State's Megan Bjorkman for her 92nd career singles win, passing Claire Carter (2001-04) for second place on the career singles wins list. With her win over Portland's Sanja Indic, Sumantri became the second Husky ever to record 100 career victories. Sumantri now owns a career singles record of 102-47, trailing only the 111 singles wins amassed by Kristina Kraszewski (1998-01). She also has been a force on the doubles courts, totalling 85 career doubles wins, good for second place all-time. Four-time All-American Claire Carter holds that record with 93 wins (2001-04).

Despite ending the regular season with a 5-2 win over the Cougars, Washington dropped to No. 25 in the latest ITA Team Rankings, their lowest point of the season. The Huskies were ranked as high as eighth after their 10-1 start but injuries and close losses dragged down their ranking. A new batch of singles and doubles rankings were also released May 2. Senior Dea Sumantri remains in the top-20 at No. 18, while junior Dinka Hadzic comes in at No. 93. In doubles, Sumantri and Hadzic are ranked 60th.

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