Huskies Open Dual Season Against WCC Foes
Jan. 22, 2008
THIS WEEK: The No. 37 Huskies kick off the 2008 dual season this week in the friendly confines of the Nordstrom Tennis Center, where they were a perfect 12-0 in 2007. Washington will begin its quest for a 14th-consecutive NCAA Championships bid this Thursday, Jan. 24 with a 1:30 p.m. matinee match-up with Gonzaga. The next day, Jan. 25, the Huskies will battle another West Coast Conference foe in the Portland Pilots at 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free for fans.
SCOUTING GONZAGA: The Bulldogs of Gonzaga are unranked and began their dual season with wins over Whitworth and Lewis & Clark College. Gonzaga finished 11-16 last season and eighth in the West Coast Conference tournament. The 11 wins was the most for the team since 1999. Sophomore Roman Dojcak is a returning All-WCC player and played No. 1 singles for the Zags in their last match. Last year the Huskies swept Gonzaga in Seattle without dropping a set in singles. Washington is a perfect 8-0 against Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are coached by Peter MacDonald, now in his third year.
SCOUTING PORTLAND: The Pilots got off to a fine start with two wins last weekend, sweeping Weber State, 7-0, and downing Idaho, 6-1. Portland swept the doubles point in both matches. Senior Joel Kincaid is the PIlots' top singles player, and Filip Zivkovic and Charlie Yemm comprise Portland's top doubles team. Zivkovic was an All-WCC doubles player last season. Portland earned sixth place in last year's West Coast Conference tournament, compiling a 13-8 record overall. Washington has dominated the series historically, with a 46-0 record vs. the Pilots. Last year in Seattle, the UW recorded a 7-0 win and did not drop a set, although five sets went at least to 6-4. Aaron Gross coaches the Pilots for the 11th season.
FALL RECAP: Three tournaments highlighted Washington's fall schedule, and the Huskies could be pleased with the results at each event. The centerpiece of the fall schedule was the ITA Northwest Regionals, which UW hosted at the Nordstrom. Senior Andy Kuharszky showed just how far he's come since he lost in the first round of the same tournament as a freshman, as he marched through to the final. Kuharszky came points away from the title, but lost in a third-set tiebreak to Stanford's Richard Wire. Patrik Fischer had the most consistent fall, reaching the singles final at the Bulldog Classic in Fresno, and the semis of the Chandler Cup in Berkeley. Junior David Chu led the team with 10 wins in the fall, while Kuharszky, Fischer, junior transfer Ryo Sekiguchi, and freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan all had at least seven singles wins.
2007 IN REVIEW: The Huskies reached the NCAA Championships for the 13th-straight year in 2007, but were upset by Wisconsin in the first round, 4-3, in South Bend, Ind. and finished 16-7. It was only the second time in the last seven years that UW failed to make the Round of 16. Washington tied for third in the Pac-10 Conference standings for the second year in a row. Since the Pac-10 Northern and Southern divisions merged into one on 1998, the Huskies have finished third or better only three times, all in the past three seasons. Despite the premature end to the team's run, senior Alex Slovic took a wildcard entry into the NCAA Singles tourney, and put on an amazing run to the semifinals by beating three Top-20 players. His run ended in three sets to Georgia's John Isner, a current young star on the ATP tour. Slovic earned his first career All-American honors for the effort, and finished as UW's career leader in combined singles and doubles wins with 184. He and fellow departed senior Daniel Chu finished tied with the all-time doubles wins record at 83. The Huskies finished the season ranked 35th in the nation, with Slovic ranked 25th nationally. Andy Kuharszky's 16-7 dual match record led the team, and the doubles team of Patrik Fischer and now-graduated Michael Ricks were a team-best 21-9 overall and 14-7 in dual matches.
FOLLOW ALONG LIVE: Much the same as in years past, GoHuskies.com will provide live video and live scoring updates for those Husky fans unable to make the trip to the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The video streams will focus on the No. 1 singles match and also cover the No. 3 singles match when possible. Links to streaming video can be found by going to the men's tennis schedule on GoHuskies.com, and clicking on that day's match.
UP NEXT: In preparation for the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships, the Huskies scheduled a very tough road trip early in the season. The trip comes next week, with Washington visiting fourth-ranked Baylor on Friday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. PT. Baylor will be one of the teams participating at the Team Indoors in February. Two days later, UW will be in College Station, Texas to face the No. 25 Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT.