Pac-10 Play Begins At Home For No. 18 Huskies

March 2, 2010

#18 Washington vs. #39 Arizona

#18 Washington vs. #44 Arizona State

THIS WEEK: Having fought their way to an 8-1 nonconference record and back into the Top-20 for the first time in five years, the Husky women's tennis team now heads into Pac-10 play for the next two months. If Washington is to be a factor in the conference race, it will need a strong start this weekend as the Arizona schools come to town. The Huskies will try and extend their six-match win streak and remain unbeaten at home. Already there are just four home matches left in the 2010 season. Up first this week are the 39th-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday, March 5, at 12 noon. Saturday, No. 44 Arizona State will be in for another 12 noon start. Both matches will be played outdoors on the Quillian Courts, weather permitting.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The ITA national rankings switched over to a computer-based formula this week, which typically sends teams making big leaps up or down, but the Huskies actually stayed put at No. 18, equaling their season-best. This is the first year since 2005 that the Huskies have been in the rare air of the Top-20. New individual rankings were released this week as well. Sophomore Denise Dy comes in at No. 7 in singles, down just a bit from her season-high of No. 3. Junior Venise Chan also checks in at No. 16, just down from her season-high of No. 11. Despite not losing a match since the last set of rankings, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies slipped a few spots in the doubles rankings to No. 9 nationally from their peak of No. 6. Dy is now one of just five players in the country ranked in the Top-10 in both singles and doubles.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats got a big boost when the newest set of rankings were released today, jumping eleven spots up to No. 39. Arizona is 8-2 heading into Pac-10 play, but lost its most recent match, a 5-2 setback at 41st-ranked Utah, which Washington defeated 6-1 earlier in the year. Arizona also edged BYU, 4-3, last weekend in Provo. The Huskies were 6-1 winners over BYU. Washington has taken the last two meetings against the Wildcats, which included a 4-3 win last year in Tucson. Denise Dy defeated current Arizona No. 1 Natasha Marks in three sets at No. 2 singles last year, and Samantha Smith and Aleksandra Malovic also had wins over current UA starters. Marks is currently ranked 89th in singles and sophomore Sarah Landsman is also ranked 106th. Both Landsman and Marks had singles wins at Utah. Vicky Maes is in her ninth season coaching the Wildcats.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils (4-2) took a hit in the newest rankings, dropping to No. 44 from No. 31, but that is more an indication of their lack of total matches as they have had a few rain-outs. Arizona State's only losses came to then-No. 10 Georgia Tech, 4-2, and then-No. 3 California in a 6-1 match where four singles matches went three sets. ASU only has one player ranked, but that is also a bit misleading. Junior Kelcy McKenna is 104th right now but is an All-American and former Top-10 player who won the ITA All-American Championships two years ago. Senior Nadia Abdala has played No. 1 singles and has been highly ranked in her career, as has junior Micaela Hein who plays third singles. In 2008, Washington upset then-No. 12 ASU in Seattle for the biggest win in its climb back to an NCAA tourney team. Last year, however, the Sun Devils scored a 5-2 win in Tempe. McKenna defeated Venise Chan, 7-5 in the third set, at No. 1 singles and Abdala overcame Dy in straight sets, though Lina Xu upset Hein at No. 3. Sheila McInerney has coached ASU for 26 seasons now.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington had its trip to southern California halved last weekend as Saturday's scheduled match at UC Irvine was rained out. The Huskies took out their pent-up energy the next day on 43rd-ranked Long Beach State, winning 6-1 for their first true road win this year. Starting at the top in singles, 14th-ranked junior Venise Chan was on her game in a 6-2, 6-4 win over Anais Dallara at No. 1 singles. Right behind her at the No. 2 spot, 4th-ranked Denise Dy split the first two sets with Jaklin Alawi but then rolled in the third for a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 win. Long Beach State's only point came at No. 3 singles where Lina Xu fell in three sets to Deborah Armstrong. But another three-setter went to UW at fourth singles where Samantha Smith scored comeback 4-6, 6-4, (10-8) win over Rachel Manasse. UW's two senior starters had straight set victories at the five and six spots. Joyce Ardies defeated Anna Jeczmionka, 6-2, 6-4 while Aleks Malovic fought through Sarah Cantlay 7-6 (4), 6-2.

CHAN A PLAYER FOR ALL WEEKS: 14th-ranked junior Venise Chan pocketed her second Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week of the season and the fourth of her career, it was announced this week. Chan was 2-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles over the week of Feb. 15-21 to help the Huskies to a pair of wins. Chan helped Washington take out No. 49 Sacramento State 4-3 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Meliuk at No. 2 singles. The next day Chan moved up to No. 1 singles and quickly dispatched Alessandra Ferrazzi of Minnesota, 6-1, 6-2, as the Huskies went on to beat the 52nd-ranked Gophers, 6-1. Her 9-7 win with Smith at No. 2 doubles also clinched the doubles point for the Dawgs. Chan also captured the first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the season on January 25. Chan was 2-0 in both singles and doubles as the 24th-ranked Huskies opened their dual season with 6-1 wins over BYU and Utah, including a 6-4, 6-4 win over 54th-ranked McCall Jones of BYU. Chan now owns four of Washington's six all-time Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, an award which started in 2006.

DY COLLECTS UW'S SECOND-STRAIGHT PAC-10 HONOR: Washington made it two-for-two in Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week awards to start the season as sophomore Denise Dy earned the first such honor of her career for the week of Jan. 25-31. Dy's win came one week after junior Venise Chan garnered the first honor of the 2010 season. Dy was rock solid for the 23rd-ranked Huskies on the road as Washington split a pair of matches against Top-20 opposition. Dy did not drop a set in singles or doubles during the weekend. Against the 18th-ranked Razorbacks, she dominated Stephanie Roy at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1. She and senior Joyce Ardies also scored an 8-6 win at No. 1 doubles over Anouk Tigu and Claudine Paulson. The next day against the 16th-ranked Gamecocks, Dy's No. 2 singles match was the only one of the six not to go three sets. She dispatched Dijana Stojic 6-1, 6-3 to set Washington on its way to the 4-3 upset. She and Ardies also won again in the top doubles match, handling Stojic and Ana Marija Zubori, 8-2.

UP NEXT: The Huskies have a lengthy break after this weekend, with nearly three weeks from this Saturday's match until their next dual, at USC on March 26. That match will see UW returning to the site of its biggest win in the past five years, as the Huskies upset the Trojans in the NCAA second round last season in Los Angeles. Washington will then play at UCLA on March 27.

CHAN AND DY ON FIRE IN THE FALL: The 2009 fall season will go down as one of the best in Husky history, as both Denise Dy and Venise Chan had multiple outstanding tournament runs. Dy showed sings of what was to come during the summer, when she won the Washington State Open, beating Arizona State All-American Kelcy McKenna in the final. Starting with the ITA Northwest Regional Championships, Dy really caught fire. In the quarterfinals, she upset reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Hilary Barte of Stanford. Next Dy beat Mallory Burdette, ranked 16th in the latest rankings, in a third set tiebreak. In the championship match, She took down fourth-ranked Jana Juricova of Cal, the 2009 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, in straight sets to become the first Husky ever to win the Regional title. That earned Dy a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships, where she joined Chan. At the Indoors, Dy beat three more Top-25 players, including Barte again, to reach the semifinals. She had a three-set win over Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State, who moved up to No. 4 in January. In the semis, Dy was unable to get past Juricova a second time, and the Cal sophomore then took the title. Chan's National Indoor run was also special, as she joined Dy in the quarterfinals, highlighted by a win over 20th-ranked Kristy Frilling of Notre Dame. Chan started her fall off with a semifinal run of her own, as she reached the final four at the ITA All-American Championships. Her run included wins over No. 23 Lenka Broosova of Baylor, and rival Pac-10 First Teamers Kelcy McKenna of ASU and Marina Cossou of Cal, both ranked in the Top-20. Chan's run was halted in the semis by Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi in a 7-5, 7-6 heartbreaker. Falconi would win the tournament and assume the No. 1 ranking after the fall. It was Falconi again that topped Chan at National Indoors.

HEAD COACH Jill Hultquist: Entering year five of her tenure, head coach Jill Hultquist has ushered in a rebirth of the women's tennis program. In just four 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. The turnaround was made official when the Huskies reached the NCAA Round of 16 in 2009 with a stunning upset of Pac-10 Champion USC. Hultquist was named the Northwest Region Head Coach of the Year for her efforts in 2009, as the Huskies went 18-8 and finished the season ranked 27th. Sophomore Venise Chan earned her first All-Pac-10 First Team honor and became the third Husky ever to end the year ranked in the Top-25, finishing 25th. One year prior, Hultquist guided the Huskies back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2005, and the Huskies climbed back into the ITA Top-40 after nearly a two-year absence. 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 trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2001. 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 (8) and Maggie (6).

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