Huskies Hit The Courts In San Diego
April 8, 2009
THIS WEEK: The UW women's tennis team takes its last road trip of the regular season this week, venturing down to San Diego for two non-conference duals against San Diego State and the University of San Diego. The Huskies (12-7, 1-5 Pac-10) will look to build on impressive efforts against UCLA and USC last week as the postseason draws nearer. Washington, ranked 35th, is 11-1 this season against non-conference foes. Friday, April 10, the Huskies will visit the 42nd-ranked Aztecs for a 2 p.m. match. The next day UW will be back in action bright and early with a 10 a.m. start time for its dual with the No. 54 Toreros.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs will provide a tough road challenge for Washington, as they are 15-4 on the year and have been ranked as high as 25th though they have now dropped to 42nd. SDSU and UW have several common opponents. The Aztecs beat Hawai'i, 4-3, and Sacramento State, 5-2. Washington swept Hawai'i but fell, 4-3, to Sacramento State. SDSU lost to Cal, 6-1, and was swept by USC, where the Huskies fell to the Bears by a 5-2 margin and were just edged by the Trojans, 4-3. The two teams are familiar with each other as Washington has played in SDSU's fall tournament the past two years. This year's SDSU Fall Classic was won by Venise Chan, and Husky players went 4-0 in head-to-head match-ups with the Aztecs. Last year in Seattle, Washington topped San Diego State, 6-1, with Chan defeating SDSU's No. 1 player, senior Holly Bagshaw, in straight sets. Bagshaw and Julia Trunk are ranked 58th in doubles. The all-time series is even at 6-6.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO: The Toreros are feeling good after snapping a four-match losing streak with a 5-2 victory over Washington State this past Sunday in Pullman. The win improved San Diego to 10-7 for the year. San Diego is led by two freshmen near the top of its lineup. Juliette Coupez plays No. 1 singles and has gone 16-11 on the year with Maja Sujica at No. 2 against the Cougars. Despite playing No. 3 singles, senior Tammy Kevey is ranked 121st in singles by the ITA. Another freshman, Marite Raygada, has posted a 16-1 record in dual match play, including wins over players from USC, Mississippi, and Arizona. One of USD's most impressive wins was a 7-0 sweep of 35th-ranked Sacramento State as they started the year 5-0. Prior to beating the Cougars, San Diego was edged, 4-3, by Oregon. The Toreros lead the all-time series, 14-7, and won the last meeting between the teams in 2007 by a 5-2 count.
LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies measured themselves against perennial Pac-10 powerhouses UCLA and USC last week, and while they were unable to come away with an upset, the Huskies still showed they are closing the gap. Washington stole the doubles point from 12th-ranked UCLA on Friday, April 3, as new doubles duo Joyce Ardies and Denise Dy upset the 2nd-ranked team of Yasmin Schnack and Andrea Remynse at No. 1 doubles to go along with a win from Venise Chan and Aleksandra Malovic at No. 2 doubles over 30th-ranked Carling Seguso and Stephanie Wetmore. Chan posted another upset in singles, defeating 16th-ranked Schnack, but UCLA prevailed in the other five matches, with two going into third sets. Saturday against the Trojans, Washington split the singles matches with USC, but the Trojans escaped, 4-3, thanks to a 2-1 doubles point win. Chan took out another Pac-10 heavyweight, as she handled 33rd-ranked Sarah Fansler, 6-2, 6-2. After USC clinched, Ardies and Malovic continued fighting in their singles matches and both eventually came out on top in third-set super-tiebreaks.
ANOTHER BIG WEEK FOR CHAN: Last week, sophomore Venise Chan put together perhaps her best overall weekend in a season that has been full of impressive victories. Chan went 4-0 in singles and doubles play against UCLA and USC, with every win coming against a ranked singles player or doubles team. She swept UCLA's 16th-ranked Yasmin Schnack and USC's 33rd-ranked Sarah Fansler at No. 1 singles, marking her second Pac-10 weekend sweep this season. Earlier in the year, Chan beat Jana Juricova of Cal and Hilary Barte of Stanford on back-to-back days. It is still the only dual match loss for Barte, who is 18-1. Chan is now 23-5 overall on the year and 16-3 at No. 1 singles, and currently owns a six-match win streak with four of the wins coming against ranked players. From November 7 to February 28, Chan won 14 out of 15 matches. Four of the players were ranked at the time, and two more have since entered the rankings. Based on the current singles rankings, Chan has defeated 13 players, a big reason she has entered the Top-25 for the first time in her career this season. After starting the dual season ranked 81st, Chan hit a career-high No. 21 on March 3, and could crack the Top-20 with wins in San Diego this week. Her 23 singles wins already have surpassed her freshman year total, with four dual matches, the Pac-10 Championships, and NCAA's still ahead of her. Chan is seeking to make her second consecutive NCAA Singles Championships this year.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: After their close defeats to UCLA and USC, the Huskies dipped a bit in this week's ITA Rankings, going from 31st to 35th. The team has been ranked as high as 23rd this season. UW's No. 23 ranking on March 3rd was its first time back in the Top-25 since the first poll of the 2006 season. In the most recent individual polls, sophomore Venise Chan climbed into the Top-25 for the second time this season, reaching No. 24. Freshman Denise Dy slipped a few spots to No. 78. Chan's season-high No. 21 ranking a few weeks back made her UW's first Top-25 player since three-time All-American Dea Sumantri, who peaked at No. 5 in 2005. Chan began the dual season ranked 81st, jumped up to No. 53 in the next set of rankings, and now has surpassed her previous career-high No. 30 ranking set last season. Dy started the dual season ranked 112th before climbing to a season-high No. 59 ranking back on March 3. Dy has seven wins over ranked players. Chan and Dy have also been ranked as high as No. 28 as a doubles tandem, but have dropped to 60th now as they have not paired up in recent matches.
ARDIES, MALOVIC COME FULL CIRCLE: Washington's two most experienced players on its young roster are juniors Joyce Ardies and Aleksandra Malovic. The pair joined the team in trying times, when the Huskies were coming off a three win rebuilding season, but now are enjoying their second straight winning season and experiencing their greatest level of individual success as well. Both players have been invaluable at anchoring the bottom part of the singles lineup. Ardies currently boasts a 22-7 singles record and is 14-4 in dual matches, mostly at the No. 5 spot. She has easily surpassed her previous season-bests of 16 wins as a sophomore and 14 as a freshman. Malovic has also posted double digit dual match wins for the first time, with a 13-6 record so far mostly at sixth singles. With 17 total wins, Malovic has also passed her previous season-high win total with at least four dual matches still to play. Both women are coming off gutsy three-set wins over USC last weekend, which should boost their confidence even higher. The two have also come through in the clutch this year, with Malovic clinching UW's 4-3 win over Arizona, and Ardies scoring the knockout punch against Illinois, another 4-3 decision. Ardies has quickly formed a dynamic doubles partnership with freshman Denise Dy. The two are 5-1 so far at No. 1 doubles and upset 2nd-ranked Schnack and Remynse of UCLA on April 3rd. Their only loss came to USC's 5th-ranked team by an 8-6 margin.
UP NEXT: The Huskies end the regular season in the comforts of home against their two Northwest rivals, Washington State and Oregon. Saturday, April 18, the Dawgs host the Cougars for a 12 noon match, followed by a 12 noon showdown with 56th-ranked Oregon on Sunday, April 19. Matches will be played outdoors on the Bill Quillian Courts. The Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. begin the following week.
HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Entering year four of her tenure, head coach Jill Hultquist has ushered in a rebirth of the women's tennis program. In just three years, Hultquist took a 3-17 team and restored stability, added depth and an influx of talent, and brought the Huskies back to national prominence and back to the NCAA Championships. Last season Hultquist guided the Huskies back to NCAA's for the first time since 2005, and the Huskies climbed back into the ITA Top-40 after nearly a two-year absence. Hultquist brought in freshman Venise Chan, who went straight to the top of the singles lineup and reached the NCAA Singles Championship, helping to change the tenor of the program. Hultquist is the fourth head coach in program history, and succeeded Patty McCain, whom Hultquist worked with as an assistant for five seasons from 1997-2002. During her first tour of duty at UW, Hultquist helped lead the Huskies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a school record trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. In fact, it was Hultquist who served as the acting head coach for the team during its Elite Eight run, as McCain was unable to travel to Stone Mountain, Ga., due to the impending birth of her first child. That run included a Sweet-16 victory over fifth-ranked Tennessee. Hultquist was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2001. She was also selected as the ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001. Before joining the coaching ranks at Washington, Hultquist played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987-1997, winning more than 20 doubles titles. She ranked as high as sixth in the world in doubles and 64th in the world in singles. Hultquist teamed with McCain on the doubles circuit, and among their victories was a win over Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinals of the 1988 U.S. Open. They also advanced to the finals of the 1989 Australian Open. Hultquist reached the mixed doubles finals of the French Open in 1995 and competed in the Olympic Games for Canada in 1984, 1988 and 1996. A native of Toronto, Canada, Hultquist and her husband Rich have two children, Jack (7) and Maggie (5).