UW Set To Face No. 4 Baylor In NCAA Sweet 16

May 16, 2006

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By virtue of winning its first and second round matches versus No. 45 Penn State and No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth last weekend, Washington men's tennis will travel to Stanford and the Taube Tennis Center for the 16-team NCAA Championship finals this week. The 21st-ranked Huskies (20-5), making their fifth Sweet 16 appearance in the last six years, will face fourth-ranked and fifth-seeded Baylor (23-6), Saturday, May 20, at 3 p.m. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals to be played Sunday, May 21, also at 3 p.m. Semifinal matches will take place Monday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the final slated for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23. A win by the Huskies on Saturday would guarantee the team's first-ever NCAA quarterfinal appearance in school history. When the NCAA team competition is complete, UW junior Alex Slovic will play in the 64-player NCAA championship singles draw beginning May 24 at Stanford. Draws have not yet been announced.

Live scoring for all matches will be available at gostanford.com. Live video for those matches played at Taube Stadium will also be shown on Stanford's site. UW's match on Saturday will be played at the Taube South Courts and will not have a video feed, but should the Huskies advance live video will be available the rest of the way. ESPN2 will provide tape delayed coverage of the team championship final on May 31.

Stanford University is hosting both the NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championship this year, marking the first time both events have ever been held at the same site. The women's team finals begin May 18 with the men's starting just two days later on May 20. The singles and doubles championships for both begin following the completion of the team competition. In all, the Taube Tennis Center will play host to 12-straight days of the best of NCAA Division I men's and women's tennis.

The Huskies traveled all the way to Richmond, Va., for this year's first and second contests and came away with the result they were looking for. In the first round, UW came back from a 1-0 deficit after losing the doubles point to defeat No. 45 Penn State, 4-2. Sophomore Andy Kuharszky and junior Klaus Jank each pulled out three-set wins to give UW its third and fourth points. Junior Alex Slovic and senior Pierre Metenier also provided strong wins in the No. 1 and 2 slots. The next day, UW endured two different delays due to rain and lightning to upset 12th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth, 4-0. The initial start time was delayed over three hours and then again during singles play the action was moved to an indoor location off campus. Slovic's upset over 15th-ranked Arnaud Lecloerec at No. 1 singles clinched the win for the Huskies, marking the second-straight season he clinched the match that sent UW to the Sweet 16.

Washington has been an NCAA tourney participant every season since 1995, marking 12 straight appearances for the Huskies under head coach Matt Anger. Nine of the past 10 years the Huskies have advanced at least to the second round, making it as far as the Round of 16 five times in the last six years - their best finish to date. From 2001-03, the Huskies reached the Round of 16 each year. In that span, the Huskies won their regionals in Boston, Mass., Stanford, Calif., and San Diego, Calif., respectively. In 2004, the Huskies won their opener against New Mexico (4-0) before falling to host-school Stanford in the second round (4-2). Last year the Dawgs hosted the NCAA Regional for the first time in school history. Washington defeated Oral Roberts in the first round (4-0) and then edged Pac-10 rival USC (4-3) in the round of 32. In the Sweet 16, UW had its tournament run cut short by the Virginia Cavaliers who defeated the Huskies, 4-0. UW's two wins last weekend vs. Penn State and VCU upped its all-time record in NCAA dual matches to 14-11.

Junior Alex Slovic will be representing UW in the 64-player singles championship, May 24-29 at Stanford. Slovic, who will be vying for his first All-America honors, was selected for the singles draw for the third time in his career. He advanced to the second round as a freshman and fell in the first round as a sophomore. The criteria for earning All-America honors is to be a top-16 seed in the NCAA singles championship, advance to the Round of 16 of the NCAA singles championship, or finish in the final Top-20 ITA rankings.

This season UW has faced five of the remaining 15 squads in the NCAA team finals, compiling an overall record of 2-4 against those opponents.The Huskies defeated No. 8 seed Virginia and No. 10 seed UCLA, while falling to No. 7 Illinois, No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 13 Stanford and UCLA.

Saturday's meeting between Washington and Baylor will be the third in program history, as UW is 1-1 all-time versus the Bears. Baylor is 23-6 overall and went 8-2 in Big Twelve play, good for first in the conference standings. In Baylor's regional last weekend, the Bears defeated Texas Southern 4-0 in the first round and then proceeded to glide past the No. 34 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes 4-0 in the second. Lars Poerschke leads the Bears in the first singles position accumulating a 34-9 record and a No. 4 national ranking. In addition to Poerschke, ranked players for Baylor include #29 Michal Kokta, #65 Matija Zgaga, and #124 Matt Brown. Baylor is just two years removed from winning the NCAA team title in 2004.

Duke is ranked fifth in the nation and seeded fourth in the NCAA Championships. The Blue Devils defeated Winthrop and No. 26 Boise State to advance to the team finals. Duke has three singles players ranked - No. 5 Ludovic Walter, No. 46 Jonathan Stokke and No. 67 Peter Rodrigues - and one doubles team - No. 17 Joey Atas and Stokke. UW is 0-1 all-time against the Blue Devils. Stanford is ranked and seeded 13th. The Cardinal earned its way to the Sweet 16 by defeating Quinnipiac and rival California in its regional. 2006 Pac-10 champion Stanford has three ranked singles players: No. 25 K.C. Corkery, No. 16 Matt Bruch and No. 66 James Wan. The Cardinal doubles duo of Corkery and James Pade is ranked 16th. UW is 0-1 against Stanford this season, and 3-29 overall.

Junior Alex Slovic was named to the All-Pac-10 first-team and senior Pierre Metenier earned honorable mention honors when the conference announced its award winners, May 8. It was the second first-team nod for Slovic who also earned the honor as a freshman. He was a second-team pick in 2005. It was the first career honor for Metenier.

Junior Alex Slovic is the only Husky ranked in either doubles or singles, checking in at 44th according to the latest ITA billing. That was a move up from his previous rank of 58th - the new position is attributed to Slovic's win over No. 6 Conor Niland who was previously undefeated at the time of the match. As a team, the Huskies dropped from No. 20 to No. 21 after falling to California (4-3) on April 26.

After wrapping up the Pac-10 dual season, the Huskies competed at the Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai, Calif., April 27-30. The lone bright spot in the singles main draw was Alex Slovic who advanced to the quarterfinals before falling in a third-set tiebreak to Stanford's James Wan. The other three players - Pierre Metenier, Daniel Chu and Jean-Noel Insausti - in the singles main draw won their first round matches but failed to advance past the second round. UW struggled in the doubles main draw, with both teams (Chu/Slovic and Jank/Kuharszky) suffering first round defeats. In the invitational draw, Klaus Jank and David Chu advanced to the singles quarterfinals, while the doubles team of Insausti and Mike Ricks made it all the way to the final before falling to the Stanford team of James Wan and Jon Wong.

The Huskies have won seven of their last eight matches, losing only to California in over a month's span...UW's victories over Arizona and Arizona State in the desert marked the first-ever road sweep of those schools...UW also swept USC and UCLA for the first time in program history when they posted back-to-back 4-3 wins against the LA schools in Seattle (April 14-15)...UW is 17-0 versus teams outside the Top-25 rankings (at time of match)...Three of UW's five losses came to Top-10 opponents: No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 3 Illinois and No. 7 UCLA (rankings at time of match).

Junior Alex Slovic is having another outstanding season, leading the team with a singles record of 28-13 while also compiling a doubles mark of 23-8. With still one more season to play for Washington, Slovic is already moving up a few UW career lists. He ranks fifth in doubles winning percentage (.744/67-23), sixth in doubles wins (67), tied for seventh in combined doubles and singles wins (143), eighth in singles winning percentage (.731/76-28) and ninth in singles wins (76). Slovic has played all season in the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. In singles, he has 11 wins over ranked opponents. His 28 wins singles wins this year are tied for fifth on UW's season list, and his 23 doubles wins are tied for sixth.

Junior Daniel Chu leads the team with 26 doubles victories, good for second on Washington's all-time list for doubles wins in a season. Robert Kendrick holds the school record with 28 doubles wins during the 1998-99 season. Much of Chu's success has come partnered with Alex Slovic. The pair has an overall record of 23-7, including an 18-5 mark in the No. 1 spot in dual matches. Slovic and Chu won the 2005 ITA Northwest Regional title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Indoor Championships this past fall. Chu also went 3-3 playing doubles with his younger brother David in fall tournaments.

Much of the Huskies' success this year can be credited to the addition of French transfers Pierre Metenier and Jean-Noel Insausti. The pair joined the team in January and made contributions immediately, stepping into the second and third positions in the singles lineup. Insausti is 17-6 in singles this season, going 6-0 in the No. 2 position and 10-5 at No. 3. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after picking up back-to-back third-set tiebreak wins versus USC and UCLA, including an upset over No. 78 Mathieu Dehaine to clinch UW's win over then-No. 7 UCLA. Insausti has also impacted the doubles lineup, pairing with Mike Ricks to solidify the third position in the lineup, going 14-11 overall. Metenier is 15-6 overall in singles, including a 13-4 mark in the No. 2 slot. He has won nine of his last 10 matches including two wins over ranked opponents.

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