Huskies Host Oklahoma And Boise State In Great Northwest Shootout
Feb. 4, 2009
THIS WEEK: Washington begins a four-match homestand with the Great Northwest Shootout this weekend, a three-day round robin tournament between the Huskies, Oklahoma, and Boise State at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Huskies are ranked 39th with a record of 4-2 and both losses coming to two of the top-three teams in the nation. The Shootout begins on Friday, Feb. 6, as the Huskies face the 71st-ranked Sooners at 4 p.m. Sunday's 12 noon match with Boise State looms especially large as the Broncos are ranked 30th. Oklahoma and Boise State will also play each other on Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission is free for all spectators.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA: The Sooners are only ranked 71st as a team but you would not know it to look at their individual rankings, as they have three players ranked in singles by the ITA. Junior Andrei Daescu is Oklahoma's top player, ranking 44th nationally and is a two-time NCAA Singles Championships participant. Senior Sergey Avdeyev is ranked 77th and sophomore Ionut Beleleu is ranked 121st. Oklahoma is 2-0 on the season, with wins over Texas-Pan American and Oral Roberts. The Sooners went 11-13 last season and 1-5 in Big-12 play, losing to Oklahoma State in the Big-12 Championships. Head coach Paul Lockwood has led the Sooners program since 1987 and has over 300 wins. Oklahoma won the only previous meeting between UW and OU.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE: The 30th-ranked Broncos have played a very difficult early schedule and sit at 3-3, having won their first three but lost three to follow. Boise State's early successes included a big road upset over then-No. 14 Pepperdine. Washington will already be Boise State's fourth Pac-10 foe of the year, as BSU defeated Oregon at home, 5-2, but lost at No. 4 UCLA, 6-1, and at home to No. 11 Stanford last weekend, 6-1. The Broncos hosted their ITA National Team Indoor Championship qualifying rounds, but fell to Stanford and to 29th-ranked Vanderbilt in the consolation match, 4-3. Senior Clancy Shields is a three-time All-WAC First Team member and is ranked 22nd in singles. Seniors Stanley Sarapanich and Kean Feeder are also ranked 85th and 90th in singles, respectively. Last year Boise State went 21-12 to reach the NCAA Championships, where they fell in the first round to Cal. Greg Patton is in his 13th season as Broncos head coach. The UW is 11-3 all-time against Boise State, most recently in 2004 when UW won 4-0 at the Nordstrom in the National Team Indoor Championships.
HUSKIES PUSH GEORGIA IN TEAM INDOOR QUALIFYING: Last weekend marked the 'ITA Kick-Off Weekend' where for the first time teams participated in qualifying brackets for the right to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships later this month in Chicago. The Huskies were given one of the most difficult tasks of any team in the field, having to fly across the country to Athens, Georgia to face the two-time defending NCAA Champion Georgia Bulldogs. But before they could even get a shot at 3rd-ranked Georgia, UW had to take care of No. 55 Indiana. Against the Hoosiers, Washington fell behind after losing the doubles point, but quickly asserted itself in singles, winning every match in straight sets for a 6-1 victory. Notably, sophomore Tobi Obenaus got a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles in his first singles match of the 2008-09 season. Saturday, Washington came out against Georgia--winners of 49 in a row at home--and took the top two doubles matches to take the lead. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Martin Kildahl defeated UGA's Malo and Schnugg, 8-4, at No. 1 and Patrik Fischer and Derek Drabble clinched the point with an 8-6 win over Vitulli and Varela at No. 2. Nedunchezhiyan had his biggest singles win of the season at No. 2, upsetting 35th-ranked Jamie Hunt, 6-2, 6-3, but that would prove to be UW's final point. The No. 4 singles match was the clincher, as Josh Varela came back from down a set to defeat Drabble, 6-7, 7-5, 6-2. Had things turned Drabble's way, Obenaus had a one set lead at No. 6 singles for the Huskies.
NEDUNCHEZHIYAN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Husky sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan has been named the Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, the conference office announced on Monday. Nedunchezhiyan picked up two big singles wins for Washington in Athens, Georgia over the weekend, as the Huskies competed in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Qualifying rounds. Washington (4-2) earned a 6-1 win over Indiana before falling, 4-2, against third-ranked Georgia. A native of Chennai, India, Nedunchezhiyan scored UW's only singles win on Saturday against the two-time defending NCAA Champion Bulldogs. He upset 35th-ranked Jamie Hunt, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 2 singles, and also won his No. 1 doubles match with sophomore Martin Kildahl to help the Dawgs clinch the doubles point. On Friday, Nedunchezhiyan was a 6-2, 6-3 winner as well, this time against Santiago Gruter of Indiana. Nedunchezhiyan is now 8-3 on the season and has a 5-1 record in dual matches. This is his second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor, and the sixth all-time for Washington.
UP NEXT: Washington continues nonconference play at home against Oregon and 40th-ranked Fresno State. The Huskies and Ducks will not play their Pac-10 counting match until April 18, but get an early test on Friday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m. at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The following Sunday, Feb. 22, the Huskies and Bulldogs will serve it up at 2 p.m.
2009 SEASON PREVIEW: After an influx of six newcomers last season, with nine players in their first or second year on the team, inexperience mixed with talent to produce an up and down season that ended in the first round of the NCAA Championships. This year, having lost only one starter, Andy Kuharszky, the Huskies as a whole are one year older and wiser and hope that their games will reflect that. Washington has seven returning players that started seven or more dual matches last year, led by senior Patrik Fischer, and sophomore Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. Fischer and Nedunchezhiyan held the top two singles spots last season, with Fischer earning All-Pac-10 Second Team honors and Nedunchezhiyan getting honorable mention. Veterans Derek Drabble and David Chu are back and should be entrenched in the singles lineup, along with sophomore Martin Kildahl, who came on strong at the end of 2008 and could find himself playing much higher in the order. For a complete season preview with head coach Matt Anger's thoughts on the season, visit www.gohuskies.com.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now in his 15th season as head coach. Since his arrival, the Huskies have been a model of consistency, and consistently excellent at that. The winningest coach in Washington history, Anger's teams have never once missed the NCAA Championships and have been a fixture in the Top-25 with five runs to the NCAA Round of 16 in this decade alone. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 14 seasons, and won its first ever Pac-10 title in 2005 as Anger was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Furthermore, several of Anger's players have seen tremendous individual success, with seven of the top eight winningest players in UW history competing during his tenure. Five different singles players have earned All-American honors under Anger, 10 different players earned year-end Top-50 rankings, and Alex Vlaski captured the 2003 ITA All-American Championships, the first national title for a Husky since 1924. In addition, Anger is the only active coach who over the past 10 years, has guided three different players to the NCAA Singles Semifinals. Anger played collegiate tennis at USC from 1982-84 and was a three-time All-American, while leading the team to a top-five finish three consecutive years. In 1983, he was a Pac-10 singles finalist and helped lead the Trojans to a third-place NCAA finish. The next season, Anger won the Pac-10 doubles championship, was a Pac-10 singles semifinalist, and helped USC win the conference team title. At the conclusion of his junior season, Anger entered the pro ranks and played on the pro tour for eight years (1984-91). He earned his highest ATP singles ranking of No. 23 in the world in 1986.