Men's Tennis Opens NCAA Run With Wisconson Rematch
May 8, 2008
2008 NCAA Men's Tennis Regional
Los Angeles, Calif. Los Angeles Tennis Center UCLA
Saturday, May 10
#32 Washington vs. #33 Wisconsin - 9 a.m.
#3 UCLA vs. Eastern Washington - 12 p.m.
Sunday, May 11
Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 - 1 p.m.
THIS WEEK: The Husky men's tennis team returns to the NCAA Championships for the 14th year in a row this weekend, heading to Los Angeles where they will face 33rd-ranked Wisconsin in the first round on Saturday at 9 a.m. The four-team regional also features host-school and third-seeded UCLA who will play Eastern Washington also on Saturday. The two winners will then meet on Sunday, May 11, at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla. In a bit of deja vu, the Huskies (14-9, 2-5 Pac-10) and Badgers (17-9, 8-2 Big Ten) met last year in the first round as well, with Wisconsin scoring a 4-3 upset to end Washington's season.
WASHINGTON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Ever since Matt Anger took control of the Huskies in 1995, Washington has become a regular in the NCAA Championships. Anger's first year marked UW's first tournament bid, and they have returned every year since. Since 2001, Washington has reached the Round of 16 on five occasions, most recently in 2006. For six-straight years (2001-2006) the Huskies won at least one NCAA match, compiling an 11-6 record during that span. Last season's loss to Wisconsin was the first time UW fell in the first round since 2000. The Huskies have also had to be tournament road warriors. Four of their five Sweet-16 trips came after winning regionals on the road, as they have only been selected to host one time. The Huskies have prevailed in regionals hosted by Notre Dame, Stanford, San Diego State, and Virginia Commonwealth. Overall, Washington is 14-13 in NCAA tournament play. Washington's difficult regular season schedule is reflected in the fact that UW has faced 13 teams in this year's tournament, with a 4-9 record. Washington has wins over Pepperdine, the 13th-seed, Alabama, Denver, and Eastern Washington.
SCOUTING WISCONSIN: The Badgers won 12 of their final 15 matches heading into the NCAA tournament. They were knocked out of the Big Ten tournament in the semifinals by Illinois, 4-1, in their most recent match. This is Wisconsin's fourth NCAA trip and second in a row. Wisconsin lost to Notre Dame, 4-0, last year in the second round after edging the Huskies. In the match against Washington, Wisconsin got wins from Mortiz Baumann at No. 1 singles, Jeremy Sonkin at No. 2, Nolan Polley at No. 3, and Lacheza Kasarov at No. 4. Derek Drabble and Michael Ricks won for Washington at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, and the Huskies swept doubles. Kasarov is the only starter from last year's match not to return this year. Baumann is back at No. 1 singles for Wisconsin, and has gone 11-10 in dual play. He also earned an NCAA Singles Championship bid. Marek Michalicka has gone 22-2 in dual play, mostly at No. 3 singles. In the ITA Rankings, Baumann is ranked 50th, while Polley is No. 104. Baumann and Polley are also ranked 49th in doubles. Greg Van Emburgh is in his third season as Badgers head coach.
SCOUTING UCLA: Pac-10 Champion UCLA is the tournament's No. 3 seed, after a 21-1 regular season. The Bruins defeated the rival Trojans of USC, 4-3, in the final Pac-10 match to clinch their fifth-straight conference crown. UCLA's only loss came in Seattle in February when it fell, 4-3, to top-ranked Virginia in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. UCLA visited Seattle again in March, when they defeated Washington, 6-1. The Huskies point came from junior David Chu at No. 6 singles, as he defeated Nick Meister. The No. 3 seed is UCLA's highest since 2001. The Bruins have won the NCAA title 16 times, second only to Stanford's 17, and they are the only school to compete in every tournament since the team format was adopted in 1977. Their last title came in 2005, which ended a 21-year drought. Seniors Harel Srugo and Mathieu Dehaine both earned NCAA Singles tourney bids. Srugo is ranked 23rd, while Dehaine is 40th. Freshman Holden Seguso is also ranked 61st, while Srugo and Meister are ranked 52nd in doubles. Last year the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Billy Martin is in his 15th season as head coach.
SCOUTING EASTERN WASHINGTON: The Eagles from across the state pulled off consecutive comebacks in the Big Sky Conference tournament to earn a trip to NCAA's. Eastern Washington (18-6), overcame a 3-0 deficit to Montana State and a 3-1 deficit to Sacramento State before rallying back for victory. They are currently riding an eight-match winning streak. The Huskies swept the Eagles, 7-0, in Seattle on March 14. Pannhara Mam, Nico Riego de Rios and Kyle Schraeder all earned first team All-Big Sky, and head coach Darren Haworth was named conference Coach of the Year.