Huskies Off To Florida To Begin NCAA Tourney Run

May 12, 2010

2010 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships
Gainesville, Florida - Linder Stadium

Friday, May 14
First Round
Washington vs. Utah - 11 a.m. ET
(3) Florida vs. South Carolina State - 2 p.m. ET

Saturday, May 15
Second Round
Friday winners at 3 p.m. ET

THIS WEEK: The culmination of eight full months of work is at hand as the NCAA Championships begin this weekend for the Washington women's tennis team. The Huskies face a cross-country trip to Gainesville, Florida where they will be the second-seeded team in a four-team regional hosted by Florida, which is seeded third in the overall 64-team field. Washington, ranked 29th in the last ITA poll, will take on 40th-ranked Utah in the first round this Friday, May 14, at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Florida will then play South Carolina State and the winners will meet on Saturday, May 15, at 3 p.m. Eastern.

This will be a homecoming of sorts for UW head coach Jill Hultquist who starred at Florida during her playing days, earning four All-America honors from 1983-87 and was inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame in 1999. With an identical roster from one year ago, the Huskies will be looking for a repeat of last year's regional performance where they defeated San Diego State in the first round before upsetting 7th-seeded USC, 4-3, to advance to the Round of 16. The winners of each of the 16 regional sites advance to the final rounds of team play, held May 20-25 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia.

WASHINGTON IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Huskies have returned to perennial participants in the NCAA tourney after a two-year absence in 2006 and 2007. Washington is now making its third-straight appearance and 12th in the last 14 years. From 1997-2005, the Huskies made nine consecutive tournament runs, going from one-and-done status early on to reaching the NCAA Quarterfinals in both 2001 and 2004, and the Round of 16 in 2003. Washington's 2001 run was stopped one match short of the Final Four by Florida, in the only previous meeting between the two teams. Just two years after missing the tourney in 2007, Washington was back in the Round of 16 last year thanks to an upset over No. 7 USC. Washington has won six of its last seven NCAA first round matches and is 12-11 overall in tournament play. Washington has played nine teams in the field this year, 12 if you count the head-to-head tourney format of the Michigan Invitational where they faced Michigan, Miami, and Tennessee. The Huskies have three wins over current NCAA tourney teams including Sacramento State (4-3), South Carolina (4-3), and Utah (6-1).

SCOUTING UTAH: Washington has already faced the Utes once this year and came away with a 6-1 win at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on January 24. The Huskies also bested Utah by a 7-0 score last season in Salt Lake City. The first meeting this year was UW's second match of the season. Washington swept doubles and won five of six singles matches. Denise Dy defeated Anastasia Putilina, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Putilina is now ranked 95th in singles. The Utes went 17-7 for the season and won the Mountain West regular season conference title but were upset by San Diego State in the MWC tourney semifinals, so Utah had to earn an at-large bid. The loss to SDSU ended a 10-match winning streak for Utah. The Utes also had wins this year over Pac-10 teams Washington State and Arizona. Head coach Mat Iandolo was named MWC Coach of the Year and Putilina and junior Evgenia Kryuchkova both earned All-MWC honors in singles. This is Utah's first NCAA appearance since 1998.

SCOUTING FLORIDA: The Gators are currently ranked third in the nation and picked up the No. 3 overall seed. Florida posted a 24-2 record this season and won the SEC regular season and tournament titles. Florida has been led all year by a pair of freshmen, Lauren Embree and Allie Will. The Gators have been one of just four teams along with the Huskies to have two singles players ranked in the top-20. In the latest rankings, Will is ranked No. 8 and Embree is No. 9, though Embree has played No. 1 singles all season. Florida boasts a lot of depth as well, as Marrit Boonstra is ranked 65th, Anastasia Revzina is ranked 102nd, and Caroline Hitimana is No. 107. Will and Boonstra are ranked fifth in the nation in doubles, and Embree appears three times in the top-30 with three different partners. Embree and Will both earned NCAA singles bids with Embree a No. 9-16 seed and Will the No. 7 seed. Will is 43-3 on the season with a 23-match win streak, and one of her wins accounted for one of Denise Dy's four losses on the year. The two played in the All-American Championship qualifying, with Will earning a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win. Embree meanwhile is 28-5 and has a 13-match win streak. Embree was named SEC Player of the Year and Will as Freshman of the year while head coach Roland Thornqvist won Coach of the Year honors. The Gators have not lost since the ITA National Indoor Championships in February where they went 1-2 with losses to Northwestern and UCLA. Florida has won four NCAA Championships, most recently in 2003.

SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA STATE: It would take a monumental upset for the Huskies to face the Bulldogs of South Carolina State in the second round, however SCSU is no stranger to the NCAA tournament, as they will be making their sixth-straight appearance. The Bulldogs won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for the sixth year in a row and own a 16-5 record heading into the tourney.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington is ranked 29th heading into the NCAA Championships but has been as high as 16th this season and was ranked in the Top-25 all year until April 13. This is the first year since 2005 that the Huskies have been in the rare air of the Top-20. All of Washington's six losses have come to teams currently ranked in the Top-25, with UW's top win coming over No. 18 South Carolina. The final individual rankings of the regular season have Denise Dy ranked 10th in the nation in singles and Venise Chan at No. 15. Dy has been ranked as high as No. 3, the second-highest ranking ever for a Husky, while Chan has been ranked as high as No. 11 this year. In the doubles rankings, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies remain in the top-25 nationally, coming in at No. 21, and have been as high as No. 6.

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 .857 (24-4), Dy currently ranks second in Husky single season history behind Teri Agee's 21-1 mark (.955; 1980-81) ... with 26 doubles wins this season, Joyce Ardies is tied for the Washington single-season record, and she has moved up to sixth on the career list with 67 doubles wins; she also moved into a tie for ninth on the singles wins list with 73 with her win at WSU ... over the past two seasons, and based on the March 30 singles rankings, Venise Chan had 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 eight wins this season alone over women currently in the Top-50 ... all told, Dy has 13 wins over ranked opponents at the time of the match, while Chan has 10 such wins ... the Huskies are a perfect 10-0 when winning the doubles point but 1-6 when losing it ... Ardies was chosen as the Northwest Region recipient of the ITA Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship.

CHAN AND DY PILE UP ALL-PAC-10, ALL-AMERICA HONORS: For the first time since 2004, the Huskies will have multiple entries in the individual NCAA Championships later this month. Junior Venise Chan and sophomore Denise Dy will both be among the top 16 seeded players in the 64-player draw, thus clinching their first All-America honors. Each were awarded a 9-16 seed in the singles draw, satisfying one requirement to earn All-America honors, though nothing will be made official until season's end. They will become UW's fifth and sixth All-Americans, and first since Dea Sumantri in 2004. In addition to the singles bids, Dy and senior Joyce Ardies earned a spot in the NCAA Doubles Championships as well. It will be the first NCAA appearances for Ardies and Dy, and the third-straight singles appearance for Chan. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 26-31 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 20-25). That announcement came on the heels of the All-Pac-10 team, which featured Chan on the First Team once again and Dy on the Second team. Chan joins Kristina Kraszewski as the only Huskies to earn multiple All-Pac-10 First Team honors. Dy was the highest-ranked of all Second Team selections and posted an 8-2 record against the other women voted to this year's All-Pac-10 team.

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: Now in 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).