No. 11 Huskies Continue Homestand Against No. 72 Pacific and No. 61 BYU

Jan. 27, 2004

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THIS WEEK: The 11th-ranked Washington men's tennis team (1-0, 0-0 Pac-10) continues its opening five-match homestand this weekend with dual meets against the 72nd-ranked Pacific Tigers at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan 30, and the 61st-ranked BYU Cougars at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31. Both matches take place at UW's Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center. Washington is coming off a 7-0 sweep of Santa Clara where they did not drop a set at any position.

THE OPPONENTS: The Tigers of Pacific have yet to play a match this season after going 17-7 last year. In their 2003 matchup, Washington picked up a 6-1 road win to cap their season opening 14 match win streak. Washington has never lost to Pacific in four meetings. The 61st-ranked BYU Cougars are 1-1 this year after amassing a 13-9 record in 2003. Senior Erik Nyman leads BYU at No. 80 in singles and teams with Richard Dasek to form the 43rd-ranked doubles team. Jose Lechuga and Nima Roshan post a 22 doubles ranking. The Huskies are 4-4 against Brigham Young all-time but did not face them in 2003.

FALL SEASON BRINGS NATIONAL TITLE FOR VLASKI: The major highlight for Washington this fall was the play of junior Alex Vlaski, who became the first Husky national champion since 1924 by winning the ITA All-American Singles Championship. As the fourth seed in the prestigious tournament, Vlaski defeated three players ranked in the top-20 of the ITA rankings en route to the title. In the finals, Vlaski matched up against the nation's top-ranked player, Benedikt Dorsch from Baylor, and prevailed 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 firmly establishing himself as one of the nation's very elite collegiate players. The fall also marked the debut of another future Husky standout from Yugoslavia, freshman Alex Slovic. A childhood friend of Vlaski's, the two teamed together to win the ITA Regional doubles crown, earning a berth in the National Indoor Championships.

HUSKIES MAINTAIN NO. 11 RANK: The Huskies currently reside just out of the top ten in 11th place in the latest ITA Rankings. The ranking is up one spot from where the Huskies closed out the 2003 season at No. 12, their highest ever final national ranking. Washington junior Alex Vlaski finds himself as the second ranked player in the nation after his strong fall season, behind only Jeremy Wurtzman of Ohio State. Vlaski's ranking is the highest ever for a Huskiy singles player. Vlaski also teams with freshman Alex Slovic to earn a No. 11 doubles rank, the second-highest ranking for a doubles pair in UW history surpassed only by Eric Drew and Robert Kendrick who garnered the No. 9 spot in 1999. Two other Huskies appear in the current singles rankings with Slovic beginning his career at No. 53 while junior Christoph Palmanshofer comes in at No. 61.

2004 SCHEDULE: Washington's 2004 slate features 13 opponents ranked in the preseason top-75 and five top-25 schools including matchups against No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 UCLA, No. 12 California, No. 19 USC and No. 22 Rice. The Huskies will also face No. 27 San Diego, No. 37 Fresno State, No. 38 Arizona, No. 45 Arizona State, No. 60 Oregon, No. 61 BYU, No. 63 UC Santa Barbara and No. 72 Pacific.

2003 RECAP: The 2003 season saw Washington solidify its position as one of the nation's top programs. With a dual record of 16-5, the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the third straight year, a school record and something only three other schools - UCLA, Duke and Texas A&M - can currently claim. The Huskies started 2003 on fire by winning their first 14 matches, propelling them to a season-high ranking of seventh, before injuries slowed the men to a 2-5 finish in Pac-10 play. The win streak was the longest in school history. Individually, Alex Vlaski's sophomore campaign was arguably the best in Husky history, as he advanced to the NCAA semifinals and earned All-American honors and a Washington record final singles ranking of No. 6.

UP NEXT: Washington next hosts the prestigious USTA/ITA National Team Indoors for the third time since 1999. The field features 16 of the very best teams in the nation including all of the 13 highest ranked schools. The tournament runs from Feb. 5-8 at the Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center and the Seattle Tennis Club.

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