No. 23 Huskies Advance On Oregon This Friday

March 30, 2010

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THIS WEEK: The 23rd-ranked Husky women's tennis team heads back out on the road this Friday, April 2, to take on the Oregon Ducks in Eugene. The match is of critical importance to a Husky squad that is looking to snap its first losing streak of the season, albeit all to top-25 teams. The Huskies (9-4, 1-3 Pac-10) and Ducks (6-12, 0-4 Pac-10) will hit the first ball at 1:30 p.m.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In the new rankings on March 30, the women slipped a few spots to No. 23, aftering being as high as 16th this season. 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 and sophomore Denise Dy moved back up into the top-five in the country to No. 4 nationally in singles, down just a bit from her season-high of No. 3. Dy beat two more top-50 players last weekend to give her ranking a slight boost from her previous No. 6 spot. Junior Venise Chan also checks in at No. 17, just down from her season-high of No. 11. In the doubles rankings, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies remain in the top-15 nationally, coming in at No. 14 this week, and have been as high as No. 6.

SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks are unranked but have been ranked as high as 71st this season. Oregon just picked up its sixth win of the year with a sweep of Montana State. That snapped a rough patch that saw the Ducks lose 11 matches in a row, though there were a couple close calls including a 4-3 loss to 23rd-ranked Indiana. The Ducks have no seniors on their roster, and are led at No. 1 singles by a freshman, Julia Metzger, who has been in the top-100 this season. Oregon is 0-4 in Pac-10 play and was swept by UCLA, USC, and Arizona State, then had a 5-2 loss at Arizona. Last season the Huskies posted a 6-1 win over the Ducks in Seattle in the regular season finale. In that match, Lina Xu and Joyce Ardies both posted 6-0, 6-0 wins at third and fifth singles, respectively. Washington leads the all-time series, 57-7.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington had a tough time down in Los Angeles, falling in a heartbreaker at USC in a match they were on the verge of winning, then losing 6-1 at fifth-ranked UCLA. On Friday, despite losing the doubles point, the Huskies were in position to beat USC on their home courts for the second-straight time. However, USC's third-ranked Maria Sanchez fought off match points and came back to top Venise Chan 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 at No. 1 singles, and at No. 5 singles, Joyce Ardies lost 7-5 in the third set to Sarah Fansler after owning a 4-1 lead. That gave the Trojans the 5-2 win. On the plus side, sophomore Denise Dy came back from a foot injury and immediately found her rhythm again, trouncing 20th-ranked Alison Ramos, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2 singles. Aleksandra Malovic was also a 6-1, 6-2 winner at No. 6 over Leyla Entekhabi. Saturday, Washington may have showed some effects from the tough loss, as they lost five of six matches in straight sets. Dy was the only victor, as she came from a set down to beat 49th-ranked Noelle Hickey, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0, taking the third-set super-tiebreak 10-3 to improve to 22-3 overall this year. Chan had another tough setback, dropping a 6-3, 6-4 match to No. 4 Yasmin Schnack at first singles.

DAWG BITES: Denise Dy and Venise Chan have been ranked in the Top-20 of the singles rankings throughout the dual season; currently only Washington, Florida, California, and Baylor have two players in the top-20 ... Dy is the third Husky woman to earn a top-five singles ranking, joining Kristina Kraszewski (career-high No. 1) and Dea Sumantri (career-high No. 5) ... with a winning percentage of .880 (22-3), Dy currently ranks second in Husky single season history behind Teri Agee's 21-1 mark (.955; 1980-81) ... with 22 doubles wins this season, Joyce Ardies is tied for 10th in single-season history, and she has moved up to sixth on the career list with 65 doubles wins ... over the past two seasons, and based on the March 30 singles rankings, Venise Chan has defeated every player ranked second through eighth at least once, with wins also against women ranked 15th, 18th, and 19th, giving her wins over half of the nation's Top-20 players ... Denise Dy has nine wins this season alone over women currently in the Top-50.

UP NEXT: Washington closes out its home schedule next week with its two toughest home matches of the year, as 12th-ranked Stanford and 11th-ranked California visit Seattle. The Huskies will recognize the contributions of seniors Joyce Ardies, Aleksandra Malovic, and Lauren Summers on Saturday, April 10, against Cal at 12 p.m. But first comes a dual on Friday, April 9, against Stanford at 12 noon as well. Make sure to come out and show your appreciation for three players that helped return UW to the NCAA Championships and the Top-25!

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.

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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