Huskies Shock No. 12 Sun Devils, 4-3
April 5, 2008
SEATTLE - Freshman Venise Chan sent the Nordstrom Tennis Center crowd into elation today, prevailing in a gut-wrenching third set tiebreak at No. 1 singles to send the 49th-ranked Washington women's tennis team to a 4-3 upset of 12th-ranked Arizona State.
The Huskies (12-8, 2-5 Pac-10) celebrated senior day with their first win over a Top-25 opponent in three years, and senior Tara Simpson contributed with wins in both singles and doubles. UW's second senior, Allison Rainey, has been unable to compete for several weeks now do to illness, but was on-hand and honored by her teammates in-between singles and doubles.
'It was the best moment of my college coaching career thus far, and a great ending to senior day' said third-year head coach Jill Hultquist. 'It was topsy-turvy and the momentum swung one way and then the other, and that's part of the beauty of college tennis. For Tara and Allison to have this last match here was a great moment, and all seniors should be so lucky to have a day like this.'
Trailing 3-2 with two matches remaining, sophomore Joyce Ardies wrapped up a hard-fought, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles over Micaela Hein. Right as Ardies won, Chan was in the midst of playing a match point, leading 5-3 in her third set against 31st-ranked Nadia Abdala. But Abdala would win the point, and come back to hold serve, saving a total of four match points in that game alone. With momentum back in her corner, Abdala broke Chan's serve and held to go up 6-5. Now serving to stay in the match, Chan had to save a match point for Abdala, but came through and sent the match to a tiebreak.
The two players stayed on serve in the tiebreak until 3-3, when Abdala won a point off Chan's serve for a 4-3 lead. What followed were two stunning passing shots from Chan, one cross court and one up the line, to take a 5-4 lead. Abdala took the next point, but then hit a forehand long to give Chan her fifth match point. After another long rally, Abdala sent another shot long and Chan was mobbed by her teammates. All told, the final score was 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5).
'I was pretty nervous,' Chan admitted afterwards. 'Coach (Damon Coupe) told me to trust myself and move forward with my shots because I was kind of falling back. I tried to do that and to forget about the score and just play one point at a time. All the fans cheering made a big difference.'
The Huskies lost the doubles point but Ardies and Simpson got one of their biggest wins together, defeating Nadia and Laila Abdala, 8-6, at No. 1 singles. The Abdalas are ranked 28th in doubles. The match was on serve throughout until the Huskies broke for a 6-5 lead, then held serve twice to close out. Arizona State came through in the second and third matches, both by 8-3 scores.
Simpson was then the first player done in singles, defeating Laila Abdala, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles. It was her 73rd career singles win, moving her into a tie for eighth-place all-time at Washington with Zuzana Stunova (1997-00).
'Today kind of encompassed everything the last four years have been about. Each person on the team fought hard and we won a huge match for each other. Venise, a freshman, won that match for her team, and that is so hard for a freshman to do. Everyone said they won for the seniors, and that means everything. I was inspired in my play today by all my wonderful friends who came and showed support.'
Not to be overlooked are the efforts of freshman Kelsey Anonsen, who got her first career win at No. 5 singles. Anonsen survived a challenging first set against Wendy Pilecka, 7-5, and then cruised, 6-0, in the second set to tie the overall match at 2-2.
Arizona State got wins at No. 2 singles, where 26th-ranked Kelcy McKenna defeated sophomore Aleksandra Malovic, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, and at No. 6 singles, where Ashlee Brown topped Husky freshman Aleksandra Krsljanin.
The Huskies will now have a week off before traveling to Pullman to end the regular season with the second match against Washington State on April 19.
Washington Women's Tennis
4/5/08 - Nordstrom Tennis Center
No. 49 Washington 4, No. 12 Arizona State 3
1. Ardies/Simpson (UW) def. (28) N. Abdala/L. Abdala (ASU), 8-6
2. McKenna/Hein (ASU) def. Chan/Anonsen (UW), 8-3
3. Pilecka/Lauren Megale (ASU) def. Malovic/Wong (UW), 8-3
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
1. (41) Venise Chan (UW) def. (31) Nadia Abdala (ASU), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5)*
2. (26) Kelcy McKenna (ASU) def. Aleksandra Malovic (UW), 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
3. (119) Tara Simpson (UW) def. Laila Abdala (ASU), 6-3, 6-1
4. Joyce Ardies (UW) def. Micaela Hein (ASU), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
5. Kelsey Anonsen (UW) def. Wendy Pilecka (ASU), 7-5, 6-0
6. Ashlee Brown (ASU) def. Aleksandra Krsljanin (UW), 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: 3, 6, 5, 2, 4, 1
* Clinching match