Huskies Face Cal, Compete In Pac-10 Individual Championships This Week
April 25, 2006
The 20th-ranked Washington men's tennis team (18-4, 5-1 Pac-10) has a busy week on tap when it wraps conference dual play with a makeup match versus No. 23 California (14-6, 4-2) Wednesday, April 26, at 11 a.m. in Ojai, Calif., and remains in Ojai for the Pac-10 Individual Championships Thursday, April 27, through Sunday, April 30. A win over the Golden Bears would ensure the Huskies a share of the Pac-10 team title for the second-consecutive season. Stanford and UCLA - which have completed Pac-10 dual play - are currently tied for first in the conference standings with 6-1 records, with Washington just a half-game behind with a 5-1 mark. The Pac-10 individual single and doubles champions will be decided by the tournament this weekend which will be played at Libbey Park in Ojai, in conjunction with the 106th Annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. The Huskies' top doubles team of Alex Slovic and Daniel Chu advanced to last year's Pac-10 final.
RACE FOR THE TITLE:
With a win Wednesday against Cal, the Huskies can clinch a share of the Pac-10 title for the second consecutive year. In 2005, the Huskies secured their place in Washington history when they earned a share of their first Pac-10 title with UCLA. Since the Pac-10 north and south divisions merged in 1998, UW had never finished higher than fourth in the conference and no school other than Stanford, USC, or UCLA had claimed the conference crown.
Wednesday's result for Cal will not impact its position in the Pac-10 standings, as it enters the week with a firm hold on fourth place with a 4-2 record. This week's match is a makeup aft er the initial meeting in Berkeley was rained out in March. In Cal's last outing, the Golden Bears lost a tight match to No. 16 Stanford 5-2. Fourth-ranked Conor Niland was able to turn in a victory in the first singles position extending his win streak to 19 - currently the longest streak in the nation. In last year's matchup, Washington was able to pull out a thrilling 4-3 victory. The Huskies were down 2-3, however Alex Vlaski was able to save several match points to win his match in a third set tiebreaker pushing the team score to 3-3. Christoph Palmanshofer clinched the match in the second singles position with a 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(2) win over Lennart Maack.
The eight Pac-10 teams that sponsor men's tennis will converge on Ojai for the conference singles and doubles tournament beginning Thursday. The 32-player men's singles main draw shall consist of four student-athletes from each school, and the 16-team doubles draw shall consist of two doubles teams from each school. An invitational draw for both singles and doubles will also be played. Pac-10 competition will be held in conjunction with the 106th Annual Ojai Valley Tennis tournament. The Pac-10 men will compete at Libbey Park in Ojai for all rounds. Matches begin at 8 a.m. with two rounds of singles on opening day. One round of singles and two rounds of doubles will be played on Friday. Semifinals and finals will be held at a time yet to be determined. Last year's singles winner was Stanford's Sam Warburg and the doubles winners were Stanford's KC Corkery and Sam Warburg. The Huskies were represented in both the singles and doubles finals, as then-senior Alex Vlaski fell in singles to Warburg and Alex Slovic and Daniel Chu fell in the doubles final to Corkery and Warburg.
In the Pac-10 singles main draw, Washington will be represented by Alex Slovic, Pierre Metenier, Jean-Noel Insausti and Daniel Chu. In the opening round on Thursday, Metenier will face UCLA's Phillip Gruendler at 8 a.m., Slovic will face Arizona State's Wes Miller at 9:30 a.m., Chu will face Arizona's Claudio Christen at 11 a.m. and Insausti will face Oregon's Markus Schiller at 12:30 p.m. Competing in the invitational singles draw will be Mike Ricks, David Chu, Klaus Jank and Andy Kuharszky. On Thursday, Chu will face Oregon's Hugh McDonald at 8 a.m., Jank will face Oregon's Fernando Freitas at 9:30 a.m., Ricks will face Arizona's Francois VanderMerwe at 11 a.m. and Kuharszky will face Oregon's Eric Pickard at 12:30 p.m. The doubles main draw begins Friday, with Daniel Chu and Slovic facing Cal's Tyler Browne and Conor Niland and Jank and Kuharszky facing Arizona State's T.J. Bellama and Jonathan Kinsella. Both matches will take place at 9 a.m. In the invitational doubles draw, David Chu and Andy Gerst will face Arizona's Nathan Cochrane and Francois VanderMerwe and Insausti and Ricks will face Oregon's Fernando Freitas and Hugh McDonald. Both matches will take place at 2:30 p.m.
Complete draws and results for the Pac-10 Individual Championships can be found at www.ojaitourney.org.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS:
Junior Alex Slovic is the only Husky ranked in either doubles or singles. Slovic begins this week ranked 58th in singles, a drop from his previous ranking of 33rd. As a team, the Huskies dropped from No. 18 to No. 20 despite their win over Oregon, Saturday.
SWEEPING AWAY THE DUCKS:
The Dawgs extended their conference win streak to five matches with a 7-0 win over Oregon, April 22. The competition was held at Washington's Bill Quillian Stadium, marking the first home outdoor match for the Huskies this season. Washington was victorious in all three doubles positions and on all six singles courts. UW did not drop a set to Oregon en route to the team's 111th all time win over the Ducks.
The Huskies have won five-straight dual matches, the last loss being their only Pac-10 loss thus far - to Stanford, April 1 (7-0)...UW's victories over Arizona and Arizona State in the desert marked the first-ever road sweep of those schools...UW also swept USC and UCLA for the first time in program history when they posted back-to-back 4-3 wins against the LA schools in Seattle (April 14-15)...Three of UW's four losses have come to Top-10 opponents: No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 3 Illinois and No. 7 UCLA (rankings at time of match)...senior Pierre Metenier has won five straight singles matches, with four of those five coming in three sets...junior Daniel Chu has won his last four straight matches and 13 of his last 16.
ANGER REACHES 200-WIN MARK:
Washington's win over UCLA, April 15, had special signifance to Husky head coach Matt Anger. It marked the 200th career victory for the 12th-year head coach. Anger was already UW's winningest coach, entering the season with an overall record of 183-87. His current record stands at 201-91.
SLOVIC MOVING UP CAREER LISTS:
Junior Alex Slovic is having another outstanding season, leading the team with a singles record of 23-12 while also compiling a doubles mark of 22-6. With still one more season to play for Washington, Slovic is already moving up a few UW career lists. He ranks third in doubles winning percentage (.759/66-21), tied for sixth in doubles wins (66), eighth in combined doubles and singles wins (137), ninth in singles winning percentage (.724/71-27) and 10th in singles wins (71). Slovic has played all season in the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. In singles, he has eight wins over ranked opponents and two of his last three wins have come over ranked opponents.
CHU EXCELLING IN DOUBLES:
Junior Daniel Chu leads the team with 25 doubles victories, good for second on Washington's all-time list for doubles wins in a season. Robert Kendrick holds the school record with 28 doubles wins during the 1998-99 season. Much of Chu's success has come partnered with Alex Slovic. The pair has an overall record of 22-6, including a 16-5 mark in the No. 1 spot in dual matches. Slovic and Chu won the 2005 ITA Northwest Regional title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Indoor Championships this past fall. The pair will look to make a repeat trip to the Pac-10 doubles final this week. Chu also went 3-3 playing doubles with his younger brother David in fall tournaments.
Much of the Huskies' success this year can be credited to the addition of French transfers Pierre Metenier and Jean-Noel Insausti. The pair joined the team in January and made contributions immediately, stepping into the second and third positions in the singles lineup. Insausti is 16-4 in singles this season, going 6-0 in the No. 2 position and 10-4 at No. 3. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after picking up back-to-back third-set tiebreak wins versus USC and UCLA, including an upset over No. 78 Mathieu Dehaine to clinch UW's win over then-No. 7 UCLA. Insausti has also impacted the doubles lineup, pairing with Mike Ricks to solidify the third position in the lineup, going 11-9 overall. Metenier is 11-5 overall in singles, including a 10-4 mark in the No. 2 slot. He enters this week having won five straight singles matches, including an upset over UCLA's Haythem Abid on April 15.
Washington will learn its postseason fate when the 2006 NCAA Championship Bracket is announced, Wednesday, May 3, on ESPNews at approximately 5:30 p.m. PT. The Huskies have earned NCAA berths the last 11 straight seasons and advanced as far as the Round of 16 four times in the last five seasons.