No. 13 Huskies Visit No. 6 UCLA and No. 12 USC
March 30, 2005
- THIS WEEK: Riding a four-match win streak, the No. 13 Washington men's tennis team takes to the road for a pair of matches with major implications on the Pac-10 race. Friday, April 1, the Huskies (14-3, 2-0 Pac-10) visit No. 6 UCLA for a 1:30 p.m. conference dual, then battle No. 12 USC on Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m. The Huskies, Bruins and Trojans are all currently tied atop the conference standings at 2-0.
SCOUTING UCLA: The sixth-ranked Bruins are one of the top teams in the nation this year, as evidenced by their 17-2 record. UCLA is 2-0 in conference play after sweeping both Arizona schools last weekend. UCLA lost in last year's NCAA title match to Baylor. They are the only team in the country to boast two top-ten players in No. 7 Luben Pampoulov and No. 10 Benjamin Kohlloeffel. Three other Bruins are ranked in singles, including Kris Kwinta (50), Philipp Gruendler (64), and Alberto Francis (74). Pampoulov and Kohlloeffel are the No. 59 doubles team. Teams have found it tough getting even a point off the Bruins, who have shut out 12 of their 19 opponents, and won their first seven matches by 7-0 scores. The Huskies have only beaten the Bruins once back in 1998, and UCLA scored a 5-2 win last season in Seattle.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans are ranked one spot ahead of the Huskies at No. 12. USC is 10-8 on the season and 2-0 in Pac-10 play and will host the Oregon Ducks on April 1 before taking on the Huskies the next day. The Trojans opened conference play with a pair of 6-1 wins over Arizona and Arizona State. Sophomore Jamil Al-Agba is the top-ranked Trojan at No. 28, while senior Drew Hoskins ranks No. 62. Al-Agba and Johan Berg are the 36th-ranked doubles team. Last season in Seattle the Trojans pulled out a 4-3 win. USC leads the all-time series against the Huskies, 20-1.
LAST TIME OUT: It was a banner weekend for the men as they opened Pac-10 play with a pair of wins over No. 10 Stanford and No. 29 California. The 5-2 win was only the third win in the program's history over Stanford. In the Pac-10 opener against the Cardinal, the Huskies jumped on top by sweeping doubles play. Alex Slovic and Daniel Chu joined up at No. 1 doubles and routed the defending NCAA doubles champions, Sam Warburg and KC Corkery, by an 8-1 count. It was only the pair's fourth match as a tandem. The Huskies would carry the momentum forward, taking four of six singles matches, highlighted by 75th-ranked Christoph Palmanshofer's 7-5, 6-2 upset over 33rd-ranked KC Corkery at second singles. Slovic was a straight-set winner over No. 91 Phil Sheng, and Andy Kuharszky and Peter Scharler each snared three-set wins. Kuharszky's 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Eric McKean at No. 5 singles was the clincher. The marquee match-up at No. 1 singles with Alex Vlaski taking on second-ranked Warburg went the Cardinal's way after Vlaski was forced to retire due to cramping in a third-set tiebreak. However, Vlaski would come up huge the following day in UW's 4-3 win over Cal. The Huskies clinched the doubles point once again, when Vlaski and Palmanshofer prevailed in a tiebreak, 7-5, at the No. 2 doubles spot. Chu and Slovic remained red hot in doubles, this time upsetting the 11th-ranked duo of Patrick Briaud and Conor Niland, 8-4, one day after knocking off the third-ranked team. Slovic scored another convincing straight-set win at third singles over Briaud, but the Golden Bears swept the fourth, fifth, and sixth singles matches to take a 3-2 lead. Vlaski at No. 1 and Palmanshofer at No. 2 each needed to come through in tough third sets, and they did just that. Down 4-5 in the third set, Vlaski saved a pair of match points on his serve, and then saved three more in the tiebreak before defeating 19th-ranked Niland, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 and 11-9 in the tiebreak. Moments later, Palmanshofer capped the weekend with a third-set tiebreak win of his own, 7-2, over No. 59 Lennart Maack.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Huskies jumped six spots in the latest ITA Rankings released Tuesday on the strength of their weekend sweep of Stanford and California. Washington is now ranked 13th, their highest ranking this season. The most recent singles rankings, released March 22, find Alex Vlaski at No. 31, Alex Slovic right behind at No. 34, and Christoph Palmanshofer as the No. 75 singles player.
PLAYING LIKE SENIORS: The Huskies continue to be led in dual play by the likeliest of sources, their three seniors Alex Vlaski, Christoph Palmanshofer and Peter Scharler. The trio have posted wins in match after match in their final go-round with the Dawgs. So far the three have put together an excellent 37-9 combined dual record. Scharler and Palmanshofer are tied for the team lead in dual wins with 13 against just three losses each. Palmanshofer leads the team in overall wins with 19. Scharler has always been a force in dual play, ranking seventh on UW's career winning percentage list at .731. Senior Alex Vlaski is 11-3 in his senior campaign, with ten of those wins coming in straight sets. Vlaski has already defeated three top-20 opponents on the year and recently became the third Husky ever to amass 100 singles wins, joining former Huskies Chet Crile (1990-93) and Matt Hanlin (2000-03). His 102-28 career mark represents a .784 winning percentage which is the best in UW history. Vlaski needs six more wins to tie the career singles wins record currently shared by Hanlin and Crile at 108.
LIVE SCORING: Live scoring updates will be made available for Washington home matches in 2005 at www.gohuskies.com.
UP NEXT: The men return to Seattle for their final two home matches next weekend. Friday, April 8, UW takes on the Wildcats of Arizona for a 2 p.m. match. The home finale will take place Sunday, April 10 at 12 noon against Arizona State.
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