Huskies Make Home Debut vs. #28 BYU and Eastern Washington

Jan. 23, 2008

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THIS WEEK: The 70th-ranked Washington women's tennis team (1-1) makes plays its first home dual matches of the season this weekend, hosting 28th-ranked BYU and Eastern Washington. The Huskies are coming off their first win of the year at Hawai'i and will have a chance to make a statement against the talented Cougars. The BYU dual takes place Saturday, Jan. 26, at 12 p.m. The next day, Jan. 27, Washington will battle Eastern Washington at 11 a.m. in just the second ever meeting between the two teams.

SCOUTING BYU: The Cougars of BYU are ranked 28th in the current ITA Fila Rankings and are 2-2 out of the game, defeating Hawaii and Utah State and falling to 13th-ranked Baylor and No. 53 Arkansas. Both the Huskies and BYU have already faced Hawaii, with the Cougars winning 5-2, but Washington posting a 7-0 sweep. In the Hawaii dual, BYU's top singles player Anastasia Surkova was upset by Sophie Kobuch in straight sets. UW's Venise Chan defeated Kobuch in straight sets this past Sunday. Surkova, a senior, is ranked 59th in singles and is the 2007 Mountain West Conference co-Player of the Year. Hawaii also got a win at No. 2 singles where Washington prevailed. Surkova and Jennifer Miccoli recently started playing No. 1 doubles together, and are 2-0 thus far. Last season BYU finished 22-7, winning the MWC and defeating Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing 4-0 to Stanford in the second round. BYU and UW met last year, with the Cougars scoring a 6-1 win. Allison Rainey earned the only point for the Huskies, defeating Dolly Chang at No. 6 singles, while Melinda Wong and Tara Simpson had a win in doubles play. Craig Manning enters his ninth year coaching BYU.

SCOUTING EASTERN WASHINGTON: The Eastern Washington Eagles come to Seattle with just one match under their belts, a 7-0 loss to 50th-ranked Washington State last Saturday. The Cougars took every set in the match in both singles and doubles. Senior Kasey Knox played No. 1 for Eastern. She was a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection last season, the first Eagle to earn that honor. Knox and junior Amanda Mankovits filled the No. 1 doubles spot vs. WSU. Eastern was 8-15 last season and 4-3 in conference play, its first ever winning record in the Big Sky Conference. The Huskies and Eagles have only met once before, with Washington getting the victory. Darren Haworth coaches the Eagles.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington began its 2008 dual season in Honolulu last weekend, losing a tough match to No. 56 Sacramento State, 4-3, before rebounding with a 7-0 sweep of Hawaii. The shutout win was Washington's first since February, 2006. Freshman Venise Chan was the main storyline for UW, as she upset 63rd-ranked Katrina Zheltova, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles vs. the Hornets, then defeated Hawaii's Sophie Kobuch, who had previously upset the nation's No. 16 and No. 59 players. Senior Tara Simpson was also 2-0 in singles, winning at No. 4 vs. Sacramento State, and No. 3 vs. Hawaii. Washington won the doubles point in both matches, with Chan and new freshman addition Kelsey Anonsen going 2-0 at No. 2 doubles. Anonsen and freshman Vanja Radunovic both joined the team at the beginning of January, yet both already have dual wins to their names, as Radunovic earned a win at No. 6 singles vs. Hawaii.

FOLLOW ALONG LIVE: Much the same as in years past, GoHuskies.com will provide live video and live scoring updates for those Husky fans unable to make the trip to the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The video streams will focus on the No. 1 singles match and also cover the No. 3 singles match when possible. Links to streaming video can be found by going to the men's tennis schedule on GoHuskies.com, and clicking on that day's match.

FALL SEASON A SUCCESS: The Huskies had their best fall season in several years, highlighted by the singles play of Venise Chan and the doubles play of Tara Simpson and Joyce Ardies. The fall began with ITA Regionals, where four Huskies picked up their first career singles wins. The women then competed at the SDSU Fall Classic #2, where Simpson and Ardies captured the main doubles title with a 9-7 win over a talented pair of Aztecs. The fall schedule finished up with the Husky Invitational, where UW dominated their northwest foes. Chan defeated Simpson for the Flight I singles title, and teamed with Aleksandra Malovic to surprise Ardies and Simpson, 8-3, in the doubles final. Malovic also won Flight 2 of singles and freshman Ashley Anderson won the third singles flight. Malovic's seven fall singles wins were the most on the squad, while the doubles teams of Simpson and Ardies, and Chan and Malovic both went 5-1.

THE SCHEDULE: Playing in the Pac-10 automatically ensures one of the nation's toughest schedules on a yearly basis, and this year is no exception for the Huskies. The Pac-10 was responsible for three of the final four teams in last year's NCAA Championships (Stanford, Cal, UCLA), and has four teams in the top-10 again this year. The Huskies will face No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 California, and No. 8 USC, plus 19th-ranked Arizona State and two matches apiece with Northwest rivals No. 45 Oregon and No. 50 Washington State. The home schedule begins on Jan. 26th when the Huskies welcome 28th-ranked BYU for what is becoming an annual early season showdown between the two schools. Washington will stay at home in the Nordstrom until March, with the exception of non-conference duals with Purdue and Illinois, which will be home matches but played at the Mercer Island Country Club due to scheduling conflicts with the ITA Men's National Indoor Championships.

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