Women's Tennis Competes at SDSU Fall Classic
Nov. 1, 2007
It does not take long to notice the new sense of optimism and camaraderie radiating from the Husky women's tennis team as it enters the heart of the fall season.
'We're happier,' senior co-captain Tara Simpson says matter-of-factly.
Some of those renewed good vibrations may trace back to the way the Huskies ended their 2007 spring season. Washington snapped a 14-match Pac-10 losing streak with wins over Washington State and Oregon to close out the year, passing both of their northwest rivals in the conference standings to finish seventh. Five of the six starters from the lineup of that victorious stretch are back this season, with four freshmen added to the mix.
Simpson and Allison Rainey are the team's only seniors, and Simpson likes what she sees thus far from the new group.
'We have a lot of young players, and so far we're all getting along amazing. We're having a lot of fun, and we're already a really tight team. We're working harder than we've ever worked.'
The Huskies will put that work to the test this weekend at the SDSU Fall Tennis Classic #2 hosted by San Diego State. The tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday, features five flights of singles and three doubles flights. Participating schools include TCU, Arizona, Oklahoma, San Diego and San Diego State, UC Irvine and St. Mary's. Several of the teams finished 2007 ranked in the ITA top-50, including UC Irvine (35), TCU (38), Arizona (42), and SDSU (49). The Huskies finished last season at No. 72 in the rankings.
'There's a great amount of good competition for us,' said third-year head coach Jill Hultquist. 'It's a good mix of schools. It's going to give us a good indication of where we stand with some of the strong players in college tennis.'
Joining the Husky family this year are freshmen Ashley Anderson, Venise Chan, Aleksandra Krsljanin, and Ariel Ohno. Chan will be one to watch this weekend, as she is the only Husky entered in the eight-player top singles flight, and could potentially anchor UW's singles lineup in the spring.
As a group, both Hultquist and Simpson have been very pleased with how the freshmen have fit in with the team.
'They're doing well,' says Hultquist on the newcomers. 'It's a tough adjustment going from junior tennis to college tennis, but they're learning how to act and be a little more responsible for themselves. They're fitting in well with the team and they're hard workers and just have really good team spirit going on right now.'
Washington will be looking to improve upon its results from the season's first tournament, the ITA Northwest Regionals in mid-October. Nine Huskies recorded their first wins of the season during the tourney, but UW was eliminated from the main draw after the Round of 64 in one of the nation's most difficult regions.
Still, despite the opening wins and the challenging region, Simpson was certainly not satisfied with the first results, and will be looking for bigger things this weekend.
'We were out on the first day at Regionals, and UW should be better than that,' said Simpson. 'We are better than that.'
The Huskies will make their home debut with the Husky Invitational following their trip to San Diego. The Husky Invite runs from Nov. 9-11 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center, and will be the only chance to see the Dawgs at home until dual play begins in late January, 2008.