Men's Tennis Hosts Ranked Teams For Annual Shootout
Feb. 3, 2010
THIS WEEK: Washington men's tennis hits its home courts this weekend, hosting the annual Great Northwest Shootout. Joining the 26th-ranked Huskies at the Nordstrom Tennis Center will be Mississippi State and East Tennessee State. The three-day tournament is a round robin with one match per day. Friday, Feb. 5, Washington opens against the 67th-ranked Bulldogs at 5 p.m. The next day MSU takes on 60th-ranked East Tennessee State, then on Sunday the Huskies and Buccaneers close out the tourney with a 2 p.m. dual. Washington (5-1) will look to rally back quickly from its first loss of the season at No. 15 Illinois, but did earn its first win over a Top-25 opponent last week, beating No. 21 Boise State.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington ventured to Champaign, Illinois for the first time as a team to take part in one the ITA National Team Indoor Championship qualifying matches, of which there were fifteen four-team brackets held around the country. The Huskies were pitted against 21st-ranked Boise State in the first match. Washington came out and took the doubles point with wins at the second and third spots. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kyle McMorrow clinched it with an 8-4 win at No. 2 over BSU's Joli and Pogostkin. In singles, Nedunchezhiyan led the way with a 6-3, 6-4 upset win over James Meredith. Brad Bator had a win at No. 6, extending his win streak to nine, and Tobi Obenaus clinched with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 comeback win over Jeff Mullen. McMorrow closed out the 5-1 win with a third-set tiebreak win over Vicente Joli. 15th-ranked Illinois knocked off Virginia Tech, setting up a dual with UW with the winner advancing to the Indoor Round of 16. The Illini won a closely contested doubles point with an 8-6 win at No. 1 doubles. UW held a 7-6 lead at No. 2 at the time. That gave UI the momentum it needed, and Illinois went on to a 7-0 win. McMorrow, Obenaus, and Bator all went three sets in singles but fell just short.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs very nearly scored a massive upset in their opener, falling 4-3 to 10th-ranked Mississippi, so they will certainly provide a stiff test for Washington. Against the Rebels, MSU held a 3-0 lead, with a doubles win and wins from sophomore Louis Cant over 49th-ranked Tucker Vorster at No. 1 singles and a No. 3 singles win from 125th-ranked Artem Ilyushin. Mississippi State also features 42nd-ranked sophomore George Coupland. Since then the Bulldogs have posted a 4-0 win over DePaul, a 4-2 win at 61st-ranked Harvard, then a 4-2 setback against No. 62 BYU to sit at 2-2 for the season. Washington won the only previous meeting between the two schools.
SCOUTING EAST TENNESSEE STATE: The Buccaneers opened up with two very tough duals against 20th-ranked Louisville and 5th-ranked Tennessee. Louisville held off ETSU by a 4-3 count, but Tennessee managed to get a 7-0 sweep. Since then the Buccaneers have posted wins over William & Mary (4-3) and Elon (6-1). East Tennessee State currently has three ranked singles players, led by 51st-ranked freshman Jesus Bandres, who has actually played No. 3 singles early on for ETSU. Junior Grega Teraz is ranked 82nd while junior Charles Bottoni ranks 89th nationally. ETSU also has two ranked doubles teams: No. 39 Ofir Weintraub and Daniel Isaza, and 52nd-ranked Bandres and Sander Gille. The Buccaneers are the Atlantic Sun Conference Champions and lost in the NCAA first round last season. The Huskies have never faced ETSU.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington has been perched just outside the Top-25 since the end of the 2009 season. Washington ended last year ranked 26th, then debuted in the same spot in the January 5 rankings. UW stayed put in the last team poll, with new rankings coming out Feb. 4. In the fall preseason rankings, junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan was ranked 32nd nationally, but has dropped out for the time being, as Nedunchezhiyan had few matches against ranked opponents in the fall. Derek Drabble and Martin Kildahl ranked 11th in the preseason doubles rankings but were unable to compete in the fall as Kildahl was rehabbing a foot injury.
NEDUNCHEZHIYAN GARNERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Fresh off a 4-0 weekend in singles and doubles, Husky junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan was named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 18-24. Nedunchezhiyan helped the 26th-ranked Husky men's squad to a 7-0 win over Portland and a 6-1 win over UC Irvine. Playing in the No. 1 singles position, Nedunchezhiyan defeated Portland's Filip Zivkovic, 7-6 (5), 7-5, and UC Irvine's Fabian Matthews, 6-0, 6-3. In doubles play, Nedunchezhiyan partnered with freshman Kyle McMorrow and won both of their matches with ease in the No. 2 doubles spot. This is Nedunchezhiyan's third career Player of the Week award, and the seventh all-time for Washington.
UP NEXT: The Huskies have a week off before a major non-conference dual looms against 30th-ranked Notre Dame on Feb. 20. The Huskies will host the Fighting Irish at the Nordstrom for a 3 p.m. dual. Following that UW will hit the road for four consecutive matches in Eugene and Minneapolis.
HEAD COACH Matt Anger REACHES 250 WINS: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now entering into his 16th 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 the last decade. With Washington's win at Arkansas in the second match of the 2010 season, Anger passed another milestone with his 250th victory. Under Anger's watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 15 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 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 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. Starting with the Australian Open in 1985 through Wimbledon in 1987, no American won more Grand Slam singles matches. In that span, Anger reached the round of 16 at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1986.