No. 19 Huskies Back In Action At USC And UCLA

March 25, 2010

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THIS WEEK: Rested and refreshed after nearly a three-week layoff, the 19th-ranked Husky women's tennis team returns to action this weekend and will need to be rust-free as they head to Los Angeles to face 21st-ranked USC and 5th-ranked UCLA. Washington has played just two Top-25 opponents previously this season, having gone 1-1 in those two matches. The Huskies (9-2, 1-1 Pac-10) will head to face the Trojans first on Friday, March 26, at 1:30 p.m. The next day, March 27, the Huskies and Bruins will meet with first serve at 12 noon.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Huskies have been idle for two rankings periods in a row but continue to drift up or down a few spots, moving up one place this week to No. 19. This is the first year since 2005 that the Huskies have been in the rare air of the Top-20. New individual rankings were released last week with minimal movement again. Sophomore Denise Dy comes in at No. 6 nationally in singles, down just a bit from her season-high of No. 3. Junior Venise Chan also checks in at No. 15, just down from her season-high of No. 11. Despite not losing a match since the last set of rankings, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies slipped a few spots in the doubles rankings to No. 11 nationally from their peak of No. 6.

SCOUTING USC: USC will be nothing if not motivated on Friday to face the Huskies back on their home courts. Washington won for the first time ever at USC's Marks Stadium last season in the second round of the NCAA Championships, upsetting the Trojans who were the seventh-seed and the Pac-10 Champions. Venise Chan clinched the win in a third-set tiebreak against Maria Sanchez at No. 1 singles after coming back from 2-5 down in the third set. Sanchez has been on a roll this dual season and has risen in the rankings all the way up to No. 3. She is 21-5 overall in singles and 12-1 in dual play. Sophomore Allison Ramos has climbed to No. 20 in the rankings, while a pair of freshmen have made their mark as well with Danielle Lao coming in at No. 32 and Valeria Pulido checking in at No. 82. Sanchez is ranked twice in doubles, once with Pulido at No. 56 and once with Lyndsay Kinstler at No. 62. In the NCAA match, Samantha Smith had a huge win over Ramos at No. 4 singles while Aleksandra Malovic overcame Kinstler at the No. 6 spot. USC still leads the all-time series, 15-2.

SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins are playing at high level with a 14-2 record and a 1-0 mark in conference play with a sweep over Oregon. They will first play Washington State on Friday. UCLA also has beaten Stanford, California, and USC this season in non-conference matches. However UCLA did slip up in its most recent match, falling 4-3 to No. 9 Baylor. UCLA is led by its lone senior, Yasmin Schnack, who is ranked fourth nationally. Three more Bruins are ranked: No. 35 junior Andrea Remynse, 49th-ranked Georgia Tech transfer Noelle Hickey, and 96th-ranked freshman Pamela Montez. Schnack and Remynse also comprise the fifth-ranked doubles team in the nation. Last season in Seattle, the Huskies surprised the Bruins by taking the doubles point as Joyce Ardies and Denise Dy upset Schnack and Remynse at the No. 1 spot. But in singles, only Venise Chan earned a win, as she defeated Schnack in straight sets at No. 1 singles. UCLA won 5-2 with three-set wins at fifth and sixth singles. The Bruins hold an 18-2 edge in the series.

LAST TIME OUT: It's been a while now since UW's last match, as they took a break for finals week and spring break, but back in early March the Huskies opened Pac-10 play by hosting the Arizona schools. Against Arizona, UW took a 1-0 lead after doubles but then struggled early on in singles, losing four first sets. Venise Chan came through against 89th-ranked Natasha Marks at No. 1, and Joyce Ardies made quick work of Natalia Toporwoska at No. 5, losing just one game, but the Wildcats hung tough on the remaining courts. The most dramatic match was at No. 2, where Denise Dy suffered a foot injury early in her match, and was clearly in significant pain trying to move around the court. She lost the first set to Sarah Landsman, 6-1, but refused to quit and changed up her style of play by taking the pace off her shots and suddenly she won the second set, 6-0, still badly hobbled. Dy eventually clinched the win 6-4 in the third and Samantha Smith also came back from a set down to win at No. 4 as the Huskies won out, 5-2. Unfortunately Dy couldn't make a go of it the next day, and the Huskies were upset by Arizona State, 5-2, snapping a seven-match win streak. Chan won again at No. 1 singles, beating Nadia Abdala 6-3, 6-3, and Ardies battled for another with at fourth singles this time with Dy out. The Huskies had a set lead at fifth and sixth singles but ASU came back in both matches to hang on for the win.

UP NEXT: The Huskies remain on the road next week, heading to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks. That dual is set for Friday, April 2, at 1:30 p.m. The following week will be the last home appearance of the year for the Huskies, as they host Stanford and California on April 9-10.

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