Huskies Kick Off NCAA Championships In L.A.
May 7, 2009
2009 NCAA Women's Tennis Regional
Los Angeles, Calif. Marks Stadium USC
Saturday, May 9
#32 Washington vs. #43 San Diego State - 9 a.m.
#7 USC vs. Fairfield - 12 p.m.
Sunday, May 10
Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 - 12 p.m.
THIS WEEK: The Husky women's tennis team opens up NCAA action in Los Angeles this weekend as part of a four-team regional hosted by the USC Trojans. Washington, making its second-straight postseason appearance and 11th in the past 13 years, opens up against a familiar foe in 43rd-ranked San Diego State this Saturday, May 9, at 9 a.m. at USC's Marks Stadium. The Huskies and Aztecs have already met once this year, with UW posting a 7-0 win. Should the Huskies advance, they would meet the winner of 7th-ranked and seeded USC and Fairfield on Sunday at 12 noon. The Pac-10 Champion Trojans earned a 4-3 win over Washington in early April. Sixteen Regionals will be contested this weekend at sites around the country, with the winners of each converging on College Station, Texas for the final rounds of play beginning May 15. Live scoring will be provided by USC for all three matches over the weekend, available at the following link:
WASHINGTON IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Another outstanding season has helped restore Washington's standing as an annual NCAA entrant. The Huskies are making their second-straight appearance and 11th all-time. From 1997-2005, the Huskies made nine consecutive tournament runs, going from one-and-done status early on to reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals in both 2001 and 2004, and the Round of 16 in 2003. While Washington may have been happy just to get back to NCAA's last year, this season the team will certainly be striving to take the next step. The Huskies had won five consecutive first round matches prior to last season's 4-1 loss to Texas A&M, which ended their season. UW's last NCAA victory came against Long Beach State in the 2005 first round. Overall the Huskies are 10-10 in NCAA play. Washington has played eight teams in the NCAA field, with a 2-7 record against. The wins came over Illinois, and their first round opponent, San Diego State. Six of the seven losses were to Pac-10 teams, six of which made the tournament.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: Washington swept the Aztecs less than one month ago in San Diego but the Aztecs regrouped to make the field of 64. San Diego State finished the regular season at 17-8 and 6-2 in Mountain West Conference matches. They lost to Utah, who UW also defeated, in the quarterfinals of the MWC Championships. The Aztecs went 2-6 against the NCAA field, with wins against Pepperdine and Sacramento State. Leading the Aztecs is senior Holly Bagshaw, who was named All-MWC in both singles and doubles with partner Julia Trunk. Bagshaw and Trunk are ranked 89th in doubles. This is SDSU's 21st NCAA appearance all-time, and they have qualified for 11 of the past 14 tournaments. In the April 10 meeting between UW and SDSU, the Huskies won at first and third doubles and then took all seven singles matches in straight sets, with Venise Chan defeating Bagshaw, 6-4, 6-3. Peter Mattera is in his 16th season coaching the Aztecs.
SCOUTING USC: The 7th-seeded Trojans won their first Pac-10 title in program history this year, going 8-0 in conference play, and snapping an incredible run by Stanford, which had won or shared the Pac-10 title for 21 straight years. USC also beat the Cardinal this year to break a 50-match losing streak against Stanford. The Women of Troy finished the regular season at 20-2 and on a 12-match win streak. Their only two losses were 4-3 decisions to Georgia at National Team Indoors and at UCLA in a non-conference dual. In addition to their team title, USC swept the Pac-10 individual titles as well, with senior Amanda Fink winning the singles title and teaming up with Gabriela Niculescu to win the doubles crown. Fink is one of five Trojans ranked in singles, coming in at No. 22, followed by sophomore Maria Sanchez at No. 23, junior Sarah Fansler at No. 42, 68th-ranked freshman Alison Ramos, and 89th-ranked junior Niculescu. Fink and Niculescu are the No. 5 doubles team. Fansler, Fink, and Sanchez all earned NCAA Singles bids. During the Pac-10 schedule, Washington actually gave the Trojans one of their closest calls, falling 4-3 in Seattle. Only Cal also took three points off the Trojans. Venise Chan topped Fansler at No. 1 singles, and Joyce Ardies and Aleksandra Malovic earned third-set super-tiebreak wins at fifth and sixth singles. Chan and Malovic also earned a win at second doubles.
SCOUTING FAIRFIELD: If Washington advances and Fairfield pulls off a jaw-dropping upset over the Trojans, the Huskies would face the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Champions in round two. The Stags went 16-4 overall and 6-1 in MAAC conference play and earned the league's automatic berth. Washington actually met the Stags back in 2004, when UW defeated Fairfield in the NCAA first round in Seattle. That 2004 trip was Fairfield's last NCAA appearance. Junior Paulina Rys was named MAAC Co-Player of the Year and Fairfield head coach Ed Paige earned Coach of the Year honors.
CHAN BECOMES THIRD FIRST TEAMER: Husky sophomore Venise Chan was selected to the All-Pac-10 Women's Tennis First Team this week, based on a vote of the Pac-10 coaches. Freshman Denise Dy also earned honorable mention. Chan, a native of Hong Kong, China, has been dominant during her sophomore season, compiling a 27-5 singles record that includes a 20-3 mark at No. 1 singles. In women's tennis, the Pac-10 Conference is the most dominant conference year-in, year-out, and Chan's inclusion on the six-member first team speaks volumes about her season. Chan has defeated three of the other First Team members, including Pac-10 Player of the Year Hilary Barte of Stanford, and Freshman of the Year Jana Juricova of California. Chan is the first Husky named to the First Team since Dea Sumantri in 2004. The only other Husky to earn First Team acclaim since the awards began in 1998 was Kristina Kraszewski, who was a three-time first teamer (1999-2001). Last year as a freshman Chan was voted to the Second Team. Dy, hailing from San Jose, Calif., has been UW's No. 2 player all season and their top doubles player. The freshman has gone 24-10 in singles and earned national rankings in both singles and doubles. Five of the six honorable mentions are ranked in the Top-100 by the ITA, a testament to the depth of skill level in the conference.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP: The 2009 Huskies won the most matches of any UW team since the 2004 squad which made the NCAA Quarterfinals, going 16-7, and earning three Pac-10 victories for the first time since 2005. Washington only played seven of their 23 matches at home, going 7-4 in away matches and 4-0 in neutral site matches, which was a drastic improvement over 2008 when UW won only once away from Seattle. On March 3, the Dawgs were ranked a season-high 23rd. Six of UW's losses were to Pac-10 schools ranked in the Top-20 at match time; outside of conference play the team went 13-1. All this came without a single senior on the roster. All season, UW's top four singles players were comprised of two sophomores and two freshmen. Sophomore Venise Chan was dominant at the top spot, going 20-3 at No. 1 singles and 27-5 overall heading into postseason play. She reached a new career-high No. 18 ranking prior to the Pac-10 Championships. Freshman Denise Dy also made a dazzling debut in purple this season, going 17-6 at No. 2 singles and spending most of the season ranked in the Top-80. She also played every match at No. 1 doubles, lately teaming up with junior Joyce Ardies to go 9-1 down the stretch. The Huskies earned Pac-10 wins over Arizona, Washington State, and Oregon, winding up alone in sixth-place with a 3-5 conference record. Washington scored at least two points in all but one match this year, the exception being a 6-1 loss at Stanford.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Enjoying one of the best seasons by any Husky in history, Venise Chan heads into NCAA's ranked No. 19 in the most recent ITA individual rankings, released April 27. Chan is the first Top-20 player for Washington since three-time All-American Dea Sumantri peaked at No. 5 during the 2005 spring season. Chan began the dual season ranked 81st, jumped up to No. 53 in the next set of rankings, and entered the Top-25 for the first time on March 3 when she was ranked 21st. Elsewhere in the rankings, UW's No. 1 doubles tandem of freshman Denise Dy and junior Joyce Ardies comes in at No. 47, down from their season-high No. 36 ranking back on April 14. The two have played just 11 matches together, teaming up for the first time on March 13 vs. Michigan State. But Ardies and Dy have shown instant chemistry, going 9-1 at No. 1 doubles, including an 8-6 win over UCLA's Remynse and Schnack, who are currently ranked third. Chan and Dy also remain at No. 83 despite not having teamed together since March 7. Dy also owns a No. 78 singles ranking, and has been ranked in the Top-80 since February. Dy started the dual season ranked 112th before climbing to a season-high No. 59 ranking back on March 3. Dy has seven wins over ranked players. As a team, the Dawgs are ranked 32nd entering tournament play. The team has been ranked as high as 23rd. UW's No. 23 ranking on March 3rd was its first time back in the Top-25 since the first poll of the 2006 season.
CHAN READIES FOR NCAA RUN: For the second straight season, Venise Chan has sewn up a berth in the NCAA Singles Championships. This year, Chan has broken into the Top-20 and is eyeing her first All-America honor. With 27 singles wins and NCAA's ahead of her, Chan stands a good shot at becoming the fifth Husky ever to win 30 matches in a season, and could threaten the single season record of 32 wins set in 2000-01 by Claire Carter if she makes a good run at NCAA's. Her 27 wins currently ranks ninth on UW's single season list. That total could have climbed even higher, however a slight muscle strain kept Chan out of the Pac-10 Championships at the end of April. Despite not having played since April 19, Chan still owns a 10-match win streak. In fact, she has not lost a set in singles play since March 7. During the streak, Chan enjoyed perhaps her best week of the year when she went 4-0 in singles and doubles play against UCLA and USC, with every win coming against a ranked singles player or doubles team. Chan swept UCLA's 16th-ranked Yasmin Schnack and USC's 33rd-ranked Sarah Fansler at No. 1 singles, marking her second Pac-10 weekend sweep this season. Earlier in the year, Chan beat Jana Juricova of Cal and Hilary Barte of Stanford on back-to-back days. It is still the only dual match loss for Barte, who went 19-1 at No. 1 and was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, while Juricova was named Freshman of the Year. From November 7 to February 28, Chan won 14 out of 15 matches. Four of the players were ranked at the time, and two more have since entered the rankings. Based on the current singles rankings, Chan has defeated the No. 7, No. 11, No. 15, and No. 16 singles players. With a 20-3 record at No. 1 singles, Chan was voted to the All-Pac-10 First Team this week, just the third Husky ever to earn the honor.
ARDIES, MALOVIC COME FULL CIRCLE: Washington's two most experienced players on its young roster are juniors Joyce Ardies and Aleksandra Malovic. The pair joined the team in trying times, when the Huskies were coming off a three win rebuilding season, but now are enjoying their second straight winning season and experiencing their greatest level of individual success as well. Both players have been invaluable at anchoring the bottom part of the singles lineup. Ardies currently boasts a 26-7 singles record and is 18-4 in dual matches, mostly at the No. 5 spot. She has blown past her previous season-bests of 16 wins as a sophomore and 14 as a freshman. Malovic has also posted double digit dual match wins for the first time, with a 16-7 record so far mostly at sixth singles. With 23 total wins, Malovic has also easily surpassed her previous best wins total and has pushed her career record over .500 for the first time. Malovic had the best showing of any Husky at the Pac-10 Championships, winning her first three matches to make the semifinals of the Invitational draw. The two have also come through in the clutch this year, with Malovic clinching UW's 4-3 win over Arizona, and Ardies scoring the knockout punch against Illinois, another 4-3 decision. Ardies has quickly formed a dynamic doubles partnership with freshman Denise Dy. The two are 9-1 so far at No. 1 doubles and upset 2nd-ranked Schnack and Remynse of UCLA on April 3rd. They debuted at No. 36 in the ITA doubles rankings on April 14 and look to be a potentially great team down the road.
HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Entering year four of her tenure, head coach Jill Hultquist has ushered in a rebirth of the women's tennis program. In just three years, Hultquist took a 3-17 team and restored stability, added depth and an influx of talent, and brought the Huskies back to national prominence and back to the NCAA Championships. Last season Hultquist guided the Huskies back to NCAA's for the first time since 2005, and the Huskies climbed back into the ITA Top-40 after nearly a two-year absence. Hultquist brought in freshman Venise Chan, who went straight to the top of the singles lineup and reached the NCAA Singles Championship, helping to change the tenor of the program. Hultquist is the fourth head coach in program history, and succeeded Patty McCain, whom Hultquist worked with as an assistant for five seasons from 1997-2002. During her first tour of duty at UW, Hultquist helped lead the Huskies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a school record trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. In fact, it was Hultquist who served as the acting head coach for the team during its Elite Eight run, as McCain was unable to travel to Stone Mountain, Ga., due to the impending birth of her first child. That run included a Sweet-16 victory over fifth-ranked Tennessee. Hultquist was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2001. She was also selected as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001. Before joining the coaching ranks at Washington, Hultquist played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987-1997, winning more than 20 doubles titles. She ranked as high as sixth in the world in doubles and 64th in the world in singles. Hultquist teamed with McCain on the doubles circuit, and among their victories was a win over Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinals of the 1988 U.S. Open. They also advanced to the finals of the 1989 Australian Open. Hultquist reached the mixed doubles finals of the French Open in 1995 and competed in the Olympic Games for Canada in 1984, 1988 and 1996. A native of Toronto, Canada, Hultquist and her husband Rich have two children, Jack (7) and Maggie (5).