Women's Tennis Opens Dual Play Saturday At Home

Jan. 21, 2010

THIS WEEK: The 24th-ranked Huskies are set to make their home debut this weekend with a pair of dual matches against BYU and Utah. Washington has not played in Seattle since April of 2009, having spent the fall season on the road and opening up 2010 at the Michigan Invitational last weekend. Since their last home appearance, the Husky women made an NCAA run to the Round of 16, upsetting 7th-ranked USC in the process, and this fall sophomore Denise Dy jumped more than fifty spots up to No. 3 in the national rankings while junior Venise Chan also moved up to just outside the Top-10 at No. 11. Washington will begin the new decade seeking its third-straight NCAA appearance. First up for UW is BYU, with first serve scheduled for 10 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 23, in the Nordstrom Tennis Center. Utah visits on Sunday, again at 10 in the morning. Admission is free for all spectators with free pizza for fans between doubles and singles.

HUSKIES RETURN FROM MICHIGAN WITH KEY WINS: Washington opened its 2010 season in Ann Arbor, Michigan last weekend as the 20th-ranked Wolverines hosted a four-team tournament that also included 7th-ranked Miami and 11th-ranked Tennessee. Over three days, the teams played one group in singles and another in doubles and kept points for individual wins rather than team scores. Venise Chan played three highly-ranked opponents at No. 1 singles, earning wins over 36th-ranked Denise Muresan of Michigan and 7th-ranked Laura Vallverdu of Miami in a third-set tiebreak. Vallverdu was the 2009 NCAA Singles Runner-Up. Chan's only loss came in three sets to 6th-ranked Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee. Denise Dy was 2-0 at the No. 2 singles position, including a win over 99th-ranked Bianca Eichkorn of Miami. Other big wins came from Samantha Smith at No. 5 against Miami and Aleksandra Malovic at No. 4 versus Tennessee.

SCOUTING BYU: The Cougars are ranked 64th to start the season and will open against the Cougars of Washington State on Friday before making their way to Seattle. Last season BYU went 12-10 overall and fell in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament. Joey Johnson is entering into his first season at the head of the program. Sophomore McCall Jones is one of the top players in the MWC, and ranks 54th nationally in singles. She and fellow sophomore Megan Price are also ranked 18th nationally in doubles. Last season the Huskies beat the Cougars in Provo, 6-1. Venise Chan overcame Jones in straight sets and Chan and Denise Dy beat Jones and Price 9-7 at No. 1 doubles. Washington leads the all-time series, 6-4.

SCOUTING UTAH: The Huskies and Utes met just a year ago with Washington earning a sweep in Salt Lake City. It was close early in singles, however, as four of the first sets won by UW went to 7-5 or 7-6. Utah is ranked 62nd to start the season. Sophomore Missy Harris, a transfer from Montana State, had the best fall record for Utah at 9-2. Utah will open the season against Washington State first on Saturday. Sophomore Anastasia Putilina played No. 1 singles for Utah against UW last year and gave Venise Chan a run before falling 7-5, 6-4. Last season Utah finished at 10-13 though they advanced to the Mountain West Conference semifinals before losing to TCU. Mat Iandolo is in his third year coaching the Utes. The all-time series stands at 5-5.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington debuted at 24th in the first ITA team rankings released January 5. That was up three spots from where the Huskies finished the 2009 season. The real news of the last set of rankings though was the outstanding new career-high rankings for both Venise Chan and Denise Dy. Chan, already ranked 16th in the preseason, climbed to 11th following her impressive fall. Dy, meanwhile, rocketed up the rankings from 58th to 3rd after a string of huge wins during fall tournament play. Dy already has wins over both the No. 2 and No. 4-ranked players in the country. Adding to the good news was the doubles ranking for Dy and senior Joyce Ardies. They moved up to No. 11, another career-high for both. Lina Xu and Samantha Smith also earned their first career doubles ranking, checking in at No. 44. Dy's No. 3 singles ranking is the highest for a Husky since Kristina Kraszewski earned the No. 1 spot back in 2000.

UP NEXT: Washington has one of its biggest weekends of the year, as it travels to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships qualifying rounds. The Huskies will take on host-school No. 19 Arkansas on Jan. 29 and the winner of that match will face the winner of No. 20 Michigan and No. 17 South Carolina on Jan. 30 for the right to move on to Madison, Wisconsin where the final 16 teams will compete.

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