Huskies Travel to Stanford for NCAA First and Second Rounds
May 12, 2004
- THIS WEEK: Washington's men's tennis team makes its 10th-straight NCAA appearance this weekend with first and second-round play at the four-team regional hosted by Stanford. The 23rd-ranked Huskies take on No. 64 New Mexico in first-round action on Saturday, May 15 at 9 a.m. at the Taube Tennis Center in Palo Alto, California. The ninth-ranked Cardinal of Stanford face Pacific in the region's other first-round match. The winners square off on Sunday, May 16 at noon for the right to advance to the 16-team NCAA finals held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Washington (14-8, 4-3 Pac-10) has won its regional each of the past three years, advancing to the final 16-team NCAA Tournament field on each occasion.
THE FIELD: Washington's first-round opponent, the Lobos of New Mexico are ranked 64th after going 17-6, and winning both the Mountain West Conference regular season and tournament titles with a 5-0 conference record. 22nd-ranked senior Divan Coetzee leads the Lobos and was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. New Mexico is making its first NCAA appearance since 1999 when they lost in the first round. Overall, the Lobos have made nine team appearances in the tournament. Their first appearance was in 1991 and they made the field every year through 1999. The Huskies are 4-2 all-time against New Mexico, and swept the Lobos 7-0 in the first match of the 2003 season. Two of New Mexico's losses came at the hands of Boise State and Harvard, both teams that Washington defeated in the National Team Indoor tournament. Should Washington face the Pacific Tigers in the second round, they will be able to draw on a 7-0 sweep of the Tigers in the second match of this season, where the Dawgs did not drop a set at any position. UW is 5-0 all-time versus Pacific. The Tigers are 15-9 overall and earned the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAAs by defeating UC Santa Barbara, 4-1, in the conference championship. Pacific has reached the tournament three of the past five years. The host Stanford Cardinal currently rank ninth in the nation after going 16-7 overall and 5-2 in Pac-10 play for a third-place finish. No team has captured more NCAA team championships than Stanford, who has won 17 titles, the last one coming in 2000. Stanford is 85-10 in NCAA Championship dual play. This marks the final NCAA Tournament run for Stanford's legendary Head Coach Dick Gould, who led Stanford to each of their championships. Pac-10 Tourney Champion and Player of the Year Sam Warburg leads the Cardinal and ranks eighth in singles. Sophomore KC Corkery is ranked 65th, and freshman James Wan sits at No. 102. Stanford has three different doubles teams in the rankings led by Corkery and Warburg at No. 8, followed by Corkery and James Pade at No. 32 and Carter Morris and Warburg at No. 35. UW is 2-27 all-time against Stanford, and suffered a 6-1 defeat in Palo Alto earlier this season.
VLASKI, SLOVIC AND CHU SELECTED FOR NCAA INDIVIDUAL TOURNEY: Washington junior Alex Vlaski, along with freshmen Alex Slovic and Daniel Chu, have been selected to compete in the singles and doubles portion of the NCAA Championships, May 26-31, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Vlaski, a 2003 All-American, was selected as a 9-16 seed for the 64-player singles bracket and will also team with Chu as a doubles pair in the 32-team bracket. Slovic will join Vlaski in the singles competition. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted following the conclusion of the team championships, May 22-25. Vlaski is making his third-straight appearance in the NCAA singles competition, advancing to the second round as a freshman before making it to the semifinals as a sophomore. Vlaski suffered a three-set semifinal defeat to the eventual 2003 NCAA Champion, Amer Delic of Illinois. This year marks Vlaski's first NCAA doubles selection. Slovic and Chu will also be making their first NCAA appearances in Tulsa.in the prestigious tournament, Vlaski defeated three players ranked in the top-20 of the ITA rankings en route to the title.
VLASKI AND SLOVIC EARN PAC-10 FIRST TEAM HONORS: Washington's Alex Vlaski and Alex Slovic were both named to the Pac-10 All-Conference First Team with Slovic also being named the Co-Freshman of the Year as well. The Huskies were the only member to place two individuals on the first team. Vlaski was named to the first team for the second-straight year. He was selected to the second team as a freshman and named the Freshman of the Year in 2002. He ranks 10th in the latest ITA Rankings but has been as high as No. 2. Vlaski leads the team with 27 singles wins to 6 losses and is 18-3 in dual play. Slovic is the only freshman on this year's first team. He brings the Freshman of the Year award back to Washington which Vlaski earned in 2002. Slovic is currently ranked 25th, which makes him the second-highest ranked freshman in the country. He has amassed a 25-6 record in his rookie campaign, with an 18-3 dual match record. He also leads the Huskies with 21 doubles wins against only 8 defeats. This marks the second consecutive year that Washington placed two members on the Pac-10 First Team. 2003 featured Vlaski and Matt Hanlin on the first team. Slovic becomes the fifth Husky overall to earn first-team honors. Eric Drew and Robert Kendrick both earned first-team spots in 1999. The Pac-10 awards are selected by a vote of the conference coaches.
WASHINGTON'S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY (9-9 all-time record): The Huskies have reached the Round of 16 in each of the past three years, a feat matched by only three other schools in the country: UCLA, Texas A&M and Duke. Each Round of 16 appearance marked the best ever finish in school history. In Washington's only previous NCAA appearance at Stanford, the Huskies shocked the Cardinal, 4-3, in the second round to win the regional. Last year the Huskies fell, 4-2, in the Round of 16 to eventual NCAA Champion Illinois.
Year Round Opponent UW Result Score Venue
1995 First UC Irvine L 3-4 Los Angeles, Calif.
1996 First Arizona State L 3-4 Las Vegas, Nev.
1997 First UC Irvine W 4-0 Malibu, Calif.
Second UC Santa Barbara L 1-4 Malibu, Calif.
1998 First UC Santa Barbara W 4-2 Los Angeles, Calif.
Second UCLA L 2-4 Los Angeles, Calif.
1999 First Minnesota W 4-1 Athens, Ga.
Second Georgia L 3-4 Athens, Ga.
2000 First San Diego State L 3-4 Malibu, Calif.
2001 First Hofstra W 4-0 Boston, Mass.
Second Notre Dame W 4-1 Boston, Mass.
Rd. of 16 UCLA L 1-4 Athens, Ga.
2002 First Tulane W 4-2 Stanford, Calif.
Second Stanford W 4-3 Stanford, Calif.
Rd. of 16 Auburn L 3-4 College Station, Texas
2003 First American W 4-0 San Diego, Calif.
Second San Diego St. W 4-3 San Diego, Calif.
Rd. of 16 Illinois L 2-4 Athens, Ga.
UW AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: April 22-25, Washington sent a contingent of players to Ojai, California to compete in the individual Pac-10 Championships. The tournament featured the 32-player singles main draw, a 32-player singles invitational draw, a 16-team main doubles draw and a 16-team invitational doubles draw. In the main singles draw, junior Alex Vlaski reached the semifinals for the third-straight year by winning his first three matches, but fell in a third-set tiebreak to USC's Adriano Biasella in the semis. Biasella prevented Vlaski from winning his first Pac-10 crown with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win. In the second round, Vlaski staged a miraculous comeback over another Trojan, Jamil Al-Agba. After losing the first set 7-5, Vlaski trailed 5-2 in the second set and 5-1 in the third set but rallied to win both sets to take the match 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2). Alex Slovic, Daniel Chu and Christoph Palmanshofer also competed in the main singles draw, however only Palmanshofer advanced past the first round, where he defeated Stanford's 61st-ranked KC Corkery, 6-3, 6-2. Freshman Michael Ricks had a successful weekend in the Invitational draws, notching two wins in the singles bracket and two more in the doubles bracket with partner Chris Floyd.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: UW moved up slightly in the rankings from 24th to 23rd in the final ITA Rankings. The Huskies have been as high as tenth this season when they started the year winning seven of their first eight duals. Heading into the NCAA Championships, All-American Alex Vlaski earns a No. 10 rank, and freshman Alex Slovic maintains his current career-high ranking of 25. Slovic is currently the second-highest ranked freshman in the country. On the doubles front, Vlaski and freshman Daniel Chu own a No. 19 ranking, while Vlaski and Slovic remain ranked at 42nd despite not playing a match together since February.
INDIVIDUAL NOTES...Alex Vlaski: Junior All-American Alex Vlaski (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) continues on his way to a potential national championship as the anchor of the Huskies' singles lineup. Unfortunately, his bid for his first Pac-10 singles crown fell just short in the semifinals, where 31st-ranked Adriano Biasella prevailed in a third-set tiebreak. Vlaski had beaten Biasella in straight-sets only two weeks prior to their semifinal face-off. Always facing the opposition's top gun, Vlaski has amassed an exceptional 19-4 record against ranked foes this season including eight wins over players in the top-25, and four over top-10 players. His overall record stands at 27-6. Vlaski's 90 wins put him in fourth place on UW's career singles wins list. This fall, Vlaski 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.
Alex Slovic: Vlaski is not the only left-handed 'Alex' from Yugoslavia that has been dominating the singles courts this season. Freshman Alex Slovic (Pancevo, Yugoslavia), a childhood friend of Vlaski's, has made an immediate major impact on the collegiate tennis world. In the latest ITA Rankings, Slovic shot up to a new career high of 25. Slovic now sits as the second highest-ranked freshman in the nation. Slovic is tied with Vlaski for the most dual wins with 18 and second to Vlaski in total wins at 25 overall. The freshman already owns nine wins over ranked opponents and earlier this season recorded an 11-match winning streak, the 11th win coming in an upset of then-33rd-ranked William Barker from Rice in a third-set tiebreaker on Feb. 28. Slovic has dominated most of his competition, winning 24 of his 25 matches in straight sets. His win against Barker was the first three-set win in his career.
Daniel Chu: Washington has received significant contributions from freshman this year and a large part of that has been thanks to Daniel Chu (Vancouver, B.C.). Chu began dual play with a seven-match winning streak, during which he earned a big win over Harvard's No. 77 Cliff Nguyen in UW's 4-2 victory in the National Team Indoors. Chu won 12 of the first 15 matches of his college career. In UW's dual versus UCLA, Chu upset 82nd-ranked Chris Lam in straight sets for one of the Huskies' only two points. Chu notched four wins in Pac-10 play, all but one at the No. 3 singles spot. Chu's 18-12 record ties him for third on the team in total wins. He spent the early season mainly at fourth singles, going 8-2, before moving up to No. 3 singles where he has gone 4-6.
Christoph Palmanshofer: The junior Palmanshofer (St. Georgen, Austria) is one of the Huskies's most dangerous veterans. His biggest win came in the first round of the Pac-10 Championsips where he upset Stanford's No. 61 KC Corkery in straight sets. Palmanshofer started strong this year, reaching the semifinals of the ITA NW Championships and defeating No. 89 James Pade of Stanford in the quarters. The junior won seven of his first eight matches and nine of his first 12, playing in the third singles position for the first eight dual matches. He was ranked as high as 61st early in the season. Palmshofer snapped a three-match losing streak with a three-set comeback win over Jonathan Kinsella of Arizona State to clinch the win for the Huskies on March 8. Palmanshofer picked up three wins in Pac-10 play, each win coinciding with a Husky team victory. Palmanshofer has compiled a 15-12 record this year.
Peter Scharler: Peter Scharler (Salzburg, Austria) has been the third member of Washington's powerhouse singles trio. With his stellar play at No. 5 singles, Scharler has given the Dawgs a reliable source of points lower in the lineup to complement Vlaski and Slovic at the top. Scharler has had win streaks of seven and five matches this year, and owns wins in 13 of his last 15 matches. Four of his last five wins have come in three sets. He has also moved up to fourth singles three times this season, winning each match. The junior is 16-3 in dual play overall this season, placing him behind only Vlaski and Slovic's 18 wins.
DOUBLES PLAY: After getting off to a 6-5 start in the doubles point, Head Coach Matt Anger made a lineup switch that has since produced a mark of 7-2. Alex Vlaski and freshman Daniel Chu have already earned themselves a No. 19 national ranking despite only playing 12 matches together. Vlaski and Chu showed instant chemistry by upsetting TCU's 10th-ranked duo of Rafael Abreu and Fabrizo Sestini in their first match together. Since that initial victory, the tandem has also knocked off the No. 8 team, Alberto Francis and Krzysztof Kwinta from UCLA, as well as two different pairs, both ranked 12th, from Cal and USC. Chu and Vlaski are 8-4 overall. In the No. 2 spot, Alex Slovic and senior Nick Weiss won their first eight matches together and are currently 9-3. The duo picked up their highest-ranked win in the first round of the Pac-10 Championships when they upset Stanford's No. 24 team of Carter Morris and Sam Warburg, 9-8 (10). Christoph Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler are 4-3 so far in the No. 3 spot. The lineup switch snapped a four-match doubles point losing streak. UW's overall record stands at 13-8 in the doubles point. Slovic leads the Huskies with 21 doubles wins, followed closely by Weiss and Vlaski with 20. Weiss has shown great versatility by picking up his 20 wins with four different partners. When the Huskies win the doubles point they are 11-3. When they lose the doubles point their record stands at 3-5.
FINAL PAC-10 STANDINGS: The men finished in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-10 standings with a 4-3 record. USC and UCLA shared the conference title with 6-1 records, followed by Stanford who finished 5-2. Arizona finished fifth at 3-4, California was sixth with a 2-5 record, and Oregon and Arizona State tied for seventh place with 1-6 marks. The Huskies' four wins came over each of the four teams beneath them in the standings.