25th-Ranked Huskies Open Season Hosting #21 BYU

Jan. 18, 2006

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- THIS WEEK: Washington's women's tennis team begins the 2006 dual match season this weekend, with new Head Coach Jill Hultquist at the helm. The 25th-ranked Huskies (0-0) will be tested from the start, as 21st-ranked BYU (1-0) visits the Nordstrom Tennis Center this Saturday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m.

SCOUTING BYU: The 21st-ranked Cougars of Brigham Young opened their season with a 6-1 win over Utah State. They will face Washington State on Friday before traveling west to Seattle. The defending Mountain West Conference champions finished last season with a 22-4 mark and a No. 22 national ranking. BYU fell to Baylor in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. The Huskies gave the Cougars their worst loss of 2005, beating them 6-1 at BYU in the second match of the season. The Huskies hold a 4-2 all-time series edge over BYU. The Cougars are led by their lone senior, Olga Boulytcheva who is ranked 33rd in singles. Junior Lauren Jones ranks 95th.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In the first ITA team rankings released January 10, the Huskies debut at 25th, the same spot they finished in 2005. The Huskies are currently without any players ranked in the individual rankings.

HULTQUIST TAKES REINS: Jill Hultquist begins her first season at the helm of the Washington women's tennis program in 2005-06. Hultquist, a former standout on the pro tour and in the collegiate ranks, returned to Washington after serving as an assistant coach with the Huskies from 1997-2002. This is the first collegiate head coaching position for Hultquist, who becomes the fourth head coach in program history. 'Jill was an accomplished player, is an exceptional teacher and as a previous member of our staff demonstrated leadership and coaching skills that are a perfect match for the University of Washington,' Washington Athletics Director Todd Turner said at the time of her hiring. 'We're very pleased to have her leading our women's tennis program.' Hultquist was an assistant under McCain at Washington for five years and played an integral role in guiding the program to new heights. During her first tenure at UW, Hultquist helped lead the Huskies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a school record trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. In fact, it was Hultquist who served as the acting head coach for the team during its Elite Eight run, as McCain was unable to travel to Stone Mountain, Ga., due to the impending birth of her first child. Hultquist was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2001, an honor she shared with Georgia's Debbie Beck. She was also selected as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001. Before joining the coaching ranks at Washington, Hultquist played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987-1997, winning more than 20 doubles titles. She ranked as high as sixth in the world in doubles and 64th in the world in singles.

THE SCHEDULE: As is usually the case, the Huskies will have a difficult schedule when they take to the courts in January. The Huskies will play their first eight dual matches at home. Non-conference home opponents during that stretch include BYU, Portland, New Mexico, San Diego State and San Diego. UW will have the luxury of playing Pac-10 duals against Cal and Stanford at home. The Huskies' don't take to the road until March 10-11 when they face USC and UCLA in Los Angeles. In fact, the Huskies only take two trips outside of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to its trip to Southern California, Washington will travel to the state of Texas to face the University of Texas (April 1) and TCU (April 2). At Texas, Husky players will face their former coach Patty McCain, while Hultquist will coach against her good friend after coaching side-by-side for five years. McCain left Washington after eight years at the helm of the program following the 2005 season. Based on the initial ITA Team Rankings, 16 of UW's 18 different opponents are ranked, including seven different top-20 teams. The Huskies have four current top-10 teams on their `06 slate: #1 Stanford, #3 Texas, #5 USC, and #6 Northwestern.

UP NEXT: Washington has an off-week before hosting Portland and New Mexico the following weekend. The Huskies play the Pilots on Friday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m., then face the #48 Lobos on Sunday, Feb. 5 with a 10 a.m. start.

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