Huskies Open Pac-10 Play Hosting #3 Stanford, #11 California
Feb. 21, 2008
THIS WEEK: The Husky women's tennis team, which climbed another five spots to No. 43 in the latest ITA Rankings, puts their eight-match winning streak on the line against two of the top teams in the nation. The Huskies (8-1, 0-0 Pac-10) play their first conference match against No. 3 Stanford this Friday, Feb. 22 at 12 p.m. UW will then look to tame the 11th-ranked Golden Bears of California on Saturday, also at 12 noon. Both matches will be at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. As always, admission and parking are free.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal remain one of the elite teams in women's college tennis, although they fell short of the title in 2007 for the first time in four years. Stanford lost to Georgia Tech in the NCAA Semifinals last year. The Cardinal are 4-1 and reached the semifinals of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships two weeks ago in Wisconsin. They defeated No. 11 Baylor and No. 9 Miami before falling to defending NCAA Champion Georgia Tech, 4-3. Stanford led 3-0 before the Yellow Jackets mounted a comeback. The Cardinal have several ranked singles players and doubles teams, including No. 9 Jessica Nguyen, No. 31 Carolyn McVeigh, No. 45 Whitney Deason, No. 49 Hilary Barte, and No. 54 Celia Durkin. One of the few unranked Cardinal is sophomore Lindsay Burdette, typically Stanford's No. 1 singles player. Deason and Nguyen are ranked 27th in doubles, and Nguyen and Barte are 58th, however Barte and Burdette have played No. 1 doubles of late. The Cardinal beat the Huskies 6-1 last season, with UW's point coming from Tara Simpson who upset Deason in a third-set super-tiebreak. Stanford has won all 18 previous matches between the two schools.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears are 3-2 and have had two matches rained out. They competed in the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships two weeks ago, winning their first match against No. 16 Clemson, 4-2, before losing twice to No. 3 Northwestern, 4-0, and No. 9 Miami, 4-3. Since the tourney they posted a 7-0 sweep of UC Davis, and will face Stanford in a non-conference dual today before traveling to the Northwest. Cal is led by senior Susie Babos, who has three national singles titles to her credit. Babos won the 2006 NCAA Singles Championship, the 2006 and 2007 ITA All-American Championships. She is currently ranked No. 7 in the ITA Rankings. The Golden Bears are extremely deep, featuring five ranked players including Babos at seven, No. 41 Cristina Visico, No. 52 Marina Cossou, No. 83 Claire Ilcinkas, and No. 87 Bojana Bobusic. Babos and Stephanie Kusano are also ranked 53rd in doubles. Cal leads the all-time series, 20-3, and swept the Huskies in 2007. UW's last win in the series came in 2005. Tara Simpson defeated Visico in that match her freshman year. Amanda Augustus is in her first year as head coach of the Bears, taking over for Jan Brogan who retired after leading Cal to the NCAA Semifinals last season. Current Husky Assistant Coach Damon Coupe was Brogan's assistant coach last year.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington pulled out two challenging dual wins against ranked Big-Ten opposition last weekend at the Mercer Island Country Club. With the men's tennis team hosting the ITA National Men's Team Indoors at the Nordstrom Tennis Center, the women had to forefeit their usual homecourt advantage. However, the Huskies fought through the unfamiliar locale and also endured health issues with Allison Rainey and Kelsey Anonsen that kept them out of singles. Washington upset 43rd-ranked Purdue, 5-2, on Saturday. Despite dropping the doubles point, UW rallied for five singles wins. Tara Simpson clinched the match with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Joanna Craven. Venise Chan, Joyce Ardies, Vanja Radunovic, and Aleksandra Krsljanin also registered wins. Sunday, despite a more modest ranking of 68, the Illinois Fighting Illini proved to be an even tougher fight. Other than Chan's 6-0, 6-1 rout of Megan Fudge at No. 1 singles, the Huskies had to scrap for each point. A Husky sweep of the doubles point proved to be the difference in a 4-3 victory. Simpson again clinched the win, defeating Marisa Lambropoulos, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Ardies also won again at fourth singles for the Dawgs.
DAWG BITES: Washington's current eight-match winning streak is its longest since a 10-match win-streak during the 2002-03 season. Washington reached the NCAA Round of 16 that year. The team's 8-1 start is its best since beginning the 2004-05 season 10-1. Venise Chan is a perfect 9-0 at No. 1 singles, and is riding a 12-match winning streak dating back to the fall. Chan is 15-2 overall, and recently avenged one of her two losses. San Diego State's Holly Bagshaw defeated Chan in three sets in the fall when Chan was suffering from the flu. When the two teams met on Feb. 2, Chan beat Bagshaw easily, 6-2, 6-3. Based on the current rankings, Chan has wins over 36th-ranked Katrina Zheltova of Sacramento State, and 67th-ranked Sophie Kobuch of Hawaii. Tara Simpson is also sporting a 9-0 record in dual play. With a pair of wins last weekend, Simpson matched her entire 2007 win total with at least 12 dual matches remaining. In UW's match against Purdue, Simpson picked up her 66th career singles win, moving her past Cindy Olejar (1988-91) on UW's career singles wins list for 10th place by herself. Simpson then upped her total to 67 on Sunday. Beginning with this weekend's matches, the Huskies play a ranked team in every remaining match except the March 26th meeting at Michigan State. Washington has six matches against Top-25 teams upcoming. The Huskies have used four different players at No. 6 singles this year. Allison Rainey, Vanja Radunovic, Kelsey Anonsen, and Aleksandra Krsljanin have all seen time at No. 6, and the four have combined to go 7-2.
CHAN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Venise Chan was named Pac-10 Womens Tennis Players of the Week for Feb. 11-17, when the Huskies posted wins over Purdue and Illinois. Chan has quickly emerged as one of the Huskies bright young stars as she has burst onto the collegiate scene, going undefeated in her first nine matches at the top position. Chan battled through illness over the weekend, but was still able to defeat two top players from the Big Ten. On Saturday, she lost the first set to Brooke Beier of No. 43 Purdue, but rebounded to win 2-6, 6-0, 7-5. Chan returned on Sunday, seemingly with no ill effects from the day before, to dominate No. 68 Illinois' top player Megan Fudge, 6-0, 6-1. The Huskies posted a 5-2 win over the Boilermakers and stopped the Fighting Illini, 4-3. This is the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award for Chan. The award is the second for the Washington womens team. Senior Tara Simpson earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on Feb. 5. The two awards over the first three weeks of this season are Washington's first in the three years of the award's existence.
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 women's tennis schedule on GoHuskies.com, and clicking on that day's match.
UP NEXT: The Huskies renew their rivalry with the Oregon Ducks in a week's time, as the Ducks will head to Seattle for the first of the season's two duals between the schools. The first meeting won't count towards the Pac-10 standings. Oregon, currently ranked 46th, will be at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on March 1 for a 12 p.m. match time.
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.