UW One Of Four Top-30 Teams To Compete In Illinois
Jan. 27, 2010
ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFYING
Friday, Jan. 29, 12 p.m.
#26 Washington vs. #21 Boise State (in Champaign, Ill.)
Saturday, Jan. 30, Time TBD
#26 Washington vs. #15 Illinois/#27 Virginia Tech (in Champaign, Ill.)
THIS WEEK: It's a big week for the Husky men's tennis team, as the Dawgs travel to Illinois to compete in a challenging four-team draw, attempting to qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The 26th-ranked Huskies (4-0) will face two Top-30 teams, starting this Friday with 21st-ranked Boise State. Depending on the outcome, Washington will then take on either the 15th-ranked Fighting Illini, or 27th-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday.
This quartet of teams is one of 15 groups in competition this weekend, with the winner of each moving on to Charlottesville, Va., the site of the finals of the National Team Indoors. Should UW advance they would be in Virginia from Feb. 12-15. But first up are the Broncos at 12 noon on Friday.
LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies ran their record to 4-0 with solid victories over Portland and UC Irvine last week at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. Last Thursday, Washington swept aside the Pilots, without dropping a set in singles or doubles. At No. 1 doubles, Martin Kildahl and Derek Drabble knocked off the 32nd-ranked tandem of Evan Schleining and Filip Zivkovic, 8-6. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan held off the talented Zivkovic at No. 1 singles, 7-6 (5), 7-5. No other set in singles went beyond 6-4. Junior Alex Rosinski stepped in at No. 6 singles for a 6-2, 6-3 win over Jackson Martin. Two days later, the Huskies outclassed the Anteaters of Irvine, 6-1. UW was excellent in doubles, with no match going farther than 8-3. Nedunchezhiyan was very strong at No. 1, defeating Fabian Matthews, 6-0, 6-3. Kyle McMorrow clinched the win with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Sam Gould at second singles. Derek Drabble and Brad Bator also finished off 2-0 singles weeks with straight set wins.
NEDUNCHEZHIYAN GARNERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fresh off a 4-0 weekend in singles and doubles, Husky junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan was named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 18-24. Nedunchezhiyan helped the 26th-ranked Husky men's squad to a 7-0 win over Portland and a 6-1 win over UC Irvine. Playing in the No. 1 singles position, Nedunchezhiyan defeated Portland's Filip Zivkovic, 7-6 (5), 7-5, and UC Irvine's Fabian Matthews, 6-0, 6-3. In doubles play, Nedunchezhiyan partnered with freshman Kyle McMorrow and won both of their matches with ease in the No. 2 doubles spot. This is Nedunchezhiyan's third career Player of the Week award, and the seventh all-time for Washington.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE: The Broncos currently sit at 21st in the ITA rankings. They've played just once, pulling out a 4-3 win over the Oregon Ducks. Scheduled duals against UCLA and Pepperdine were rained out. The Ducks took the doubles point from BSU but the Broncos earned four singles wins to avoid the upset. Sophomore James Meredith has stepped into the top singles spot and is ranked 35th nationally in singles. He was the 2009 WAC Freshman of the Year. Vicente Joli is BSU's only senior and got a win at No. 2 singles vs. Oregon. Last season the Broncos went 24-9 and made the NCAA Round of 16. They edged the Huskies, 4-3, in the Great Northwest Shootout last year, but lost four seniors that started in that match. UW's Martin Kildahl defeated Meredith in three sets at No. 3 singles. The Huskies lead the all-time series, 11-4.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS: The Fighting Illini have been one of the most consistently successful teams of the past decade. Illinois has been to eight-straight NCAA Rounds of 16, including in 2009 when Illinois went 23-9 before losing a tough 4-3 decision to Georgia in the Sweet-16. Leading Illinois is 43rd-ranked sophomore Dennis Nevolo, who was an NCAA singles and doubles competitor last year. Nevolo and senior Marek Czerwinski are the No. 2-ranked doubles team in the country. Illinois opened its 2010 season with a 6-1 loss at home to 2nd-ranked Virginia. Junior Abe Souza got UI's only win, upsetting the 16th-ranked singles player in the country. Washington and Illinois last met in 2008 at the National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle, with the Illini earning a 4-1 win. Illinois leads the series, 4-1.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies should not be overlooked at all this weekend, as they proved with a 5-2 upset of 14th-ranked Kentucky in their season-opener Wednesday. Virginia Tech is ranked 27th and went 15-8 last season, making it to the NCAA Second Round before losing to Georgia. Senior Yoann Re made the NCAA Singles tourney last year, and just knocked off Kentucky's 8th-ranked Eric Quigley at No. 1 singles to seal Tech's win. Sophomore Luka Somen also had a three-set upset win at second singles over the 39th-ranked player. 75th-ranked sophomore Patrick Daciek also plays fourth singles for the Hokies. Washington is 2-0 all-time against Virginia Tech.
FALL SEASON REVIEW: Washington got some good news to begin the fall as junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan earned a preseason No. 32 singles ranking and senior Derek Drabble and junior Martin Kildahl were ranked 11th nationally in doubles. However, Kildahl was recovering from foot surgery and would be unable to compete and back up the ranking until 2010 rolled around. Still, Nedunchezhiyan started off the year playing in the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships, where he lost his opener then went 1-1 in the consolation bracket. The first full team event for the Dawgs was Northwest Regionals. Washington had its most success in doubles, where juniors Alex Rosinski and Tobi Obenaus made the semifinals, and Nedunchezhiyan and new freshman Kyle McMorrow reached the quarters. Drabble made the Round of 16 in singles, as did McMorrow in his first college action. The Huskies showed their expected singles depth as Obenaus and Matt Stith both made the consolation semis. Washington hosted the inaugural PNW Intercollegiates to end official fall action, and dominated several local rivals including Oregon, Portland, Gonzaga, Idaho, and Boise State. Nedunchezhiyan captured the top singles flight over his teammate Drabble in the final. Junior Brad Bator made his fall debut by sweeping through to the title of the second flight, beating teammate Skyler Tateishi for the win.
UP NEXT: Washington hosts the Great Northwest Shootout at the Nordstrom next weekend, welcoming in Mississippi State and East Tennessee State for three days of high-level tennis. Friday, Feb. 5, the Huskies and Bulldogs will match up at 5 p.m., then MSU and ETSU will play Saturday, followed by the Huskies meeting the Buccaneers on Sunday, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. East Tennessee is currently ranked 60th and Mississippi State is 67th.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger REACHES 250 WINS: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now entering into his 16th season as head coach. Since his arrival, the Huskies have been a model of consistency, and consistently excellent at that. The winningest coach in Washington history, Anger's teams have never once missed the NCAA Championships and have been a fixture in the Top-25 with five runs to the NCAA Round of 16 in the last decade. With Washington's win at Arkansas in the second match of the 2010 season, Anger passed another milestone with his 250th victory. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 15 seasons, and won its first ever Pac-10 title in 2005 as Anger was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Furthermore, several of Anger's players have seen tremendous individual success, with seven of the top eight winningest players in UW history competing during his tenure. Five different singles players have earned All-American honors under Anger, 10 different players earned year-end Top-50 rankings, and Alex Vlaski captured the 2003 ITA All-American Championships, the first national title for a Husky since 1924. In addition, Anger has guided three different players to the NCAA Singles Semifinals. Anger played collegiate tennis at USC from 1982-84 and was a three-time All-American, while leading the team to a top-five finish three consecutive years. In 1983, he was a Pac-10 singles finalist and helped lead the Trojans to a third-place NCAA finish. The next season, Anger won the Pac-10 doubles championship and helped USC win the conference team title. At the conclusion of his junior season, Anger entered the pro ranks and played on the pro tour for eight years (1984-91). He earned his highest ATP singles ranking of No. 23 in the world in 1986. Starting with the Australian Open in 1985 through Wimbledon in 1987, no American won more Grand Slam singles matches. In that span, Anger reached the round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1986.