Washington Faces Wolfpack In NCAA Opener
THIS WEEK: The NCAA Championships are at hand for the Husky men’s tennis team, which is making its 18th consecutive appearance in the postseason. Washington (16-8) travels to Malibu, Calif. to the four-team regional group hosted by No. 7-seed Pepperdine at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center, and opens up this Friday, May 11, with a match against North Carolina State (20-9). The Huskies and Wolfpack out of the ACC will be meeting for the first time ever on Friday at 11 a.m. The second match on Friday pits Pepperdine (23-6) against Horizon League Champion Green Bay (19-6). The winners of each match will then play on Saturday at 12 noon, with the winner moving on to the round of 16 next week in Athens, Ga. This is UW’s second trip to Malibu this year, as they lost a regular season dual to Pepperdine that was much closer than the final 7-0 score indicated. The Dawgs also defeated Cal Poly in a neutral match there on Mar. 23. Pepperdinesports.com will provide live scoring.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS • FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS
MALIBU, CALIF. • hosted by PEPPERDINE • RALPHS-STRAUS TENNIS CENTER
FRIDAY, MAY 11 - FIRST ROUND
Washington (16-8) vs. North Carolina St. (20-9) • 11:00 a.m. PT
(7) Pepperdine (23-6) vs. Green Bay (19-6) • 2:00 p.m. PT
SATURDAY, MAY 12 - SECOND ROUND
Winners of Matches 1 and 2 • 12:00 p.m. PT
WASHINGTON’S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Ever since Matt Anger took control of the Huskies in 1995, Washington has become a regular in the NCAA Championships. Anger’s first year marked UW’s first tournament bid, and they have returned every year since. Since 2001, Washington has reached the Round of 16 on five occasions, most recently in 2006. For six-straight years (2001-2006) the Huskies won at least one NCAA match, compiling an 11-6 record during that span. Washington has had major battles in the early rounds the past few years. In 2009, UW fought back from a 0-3 deficit to beat Texas Tech in the first round, 4-3. Last year, Washington defeated Cal Poly in the first round, 4-0, before losing at Stanford, 4-1, in the second round. The Huskies have also had to be tournament road warriors. Four of their five Sweet-16 trips came after winning regionals on the road, as they have only been selected to host one time. The Huskies have prevailed in regionals hosted by Harvard, Stanford, San Diego State, and Virginia Commonwealth. Overall, Washington is 16-17 in NCAA tournament play.
REGULAR SEASON REDUX: Washington played its way into the NCAA tournament for the 18th straight season this year despite returning only two players who had started more than five dual singles matches. Juniors Kyle McMorrow and Marton Bots brought the stating experience, but both were asked to move up the lineup, and both have risen to the challenge. Sophomore Max Manthou, redshirt freshman Nicholas Kamisar, and true freshmen Emmett Egger and Viktor Farkas have started virtually all season and helped the Huskies to a 16-8 record and No. 26 national ranking entering the tourney. The Huskies won their first four matches and beat Louisville in the first round of ITA National Team Indoor qualifying before falling at then-No. 10 Duke in the second round. UW suffered its only upset loss of the season, 4-3, at then-No. 50 Boise State, but bounced back with one of its best wins, a 6-1 victory at home against then-No. 28 Michigan. That began a seven-match win streak which included a victory in the Great Northwest Shootout, UW’s home tourney, where they defeated Tulsa and Louisville for a second time. The Dawgs struggled early in Pac-12 play, losing to the four California schools, before closing out with three wins over Utah, Arizona, and Oregon to earn the No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 tourney. The Huskies beat Arizona before losing a 4-3 heartbreaker to Cal. Washington was ranked as high as No. 13 during the year and McMorrow has been in the Top-25 in singles all season with a high of No. 9. The Huskies were 0-7 against Top-25 teams, though all those teams were ranked 14th or higher, and the Huskies defeated Michigan and Tulsa, two teams that have risen into the Top-25 now at 22 and 20, respectively.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association last released new rankings on April 24, but there was no movement for the Huskies on the team or individual front. As a team, the Huskies remain at No. 26. On March 6, the Dawgs jumped up to a season-high No. 13, then were ranked 17th over the next two weeks. The No. 13 ranking was the highest Washington has been ranked since the 2006 season, when they were 10th during the year before finishing 18th. The Dawgs began the season ranked 26th nationally after ending the 2011 season ranked 25th. In the newest individual rankings, junior Kyle McMorrow checks in at No. 22 in singles, as he has been in the Top-25 all year. He has been ranked as high as No. 9 this season, making him the fourth Husky ever to crack the Top-10 in the ITA singles rankings. In the fall preseason rankings, he checked in at No. 22. After a solid fall season with some big wins, he moved up to 15th at the start of January, then to No. 9 on Feb. 16. McMorrow joins a select group of Huskies to crack the ITA’s Top-10. Alex Vlaski reached a peak of No. 2 during the 2004 season, Robert Kendrick rose to No. 3 nationally in 1999, and Alex Slovic was ranked No. 9 in 2005. All played for current Husky Head Coach Matt Anger.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA STATE: The Wolfpack finished the regular season ranked 39th by the ITA with a 20-9 record. This is the fifth NCAA tournament appearance all-time for North Carolina State and the third under 10th-year head coach Jon Choboy. NC State made the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2007 for its best finish ever. This year, the Wolfpack made the ACC quarterfinals before falling to Duke. Their highest ranked win was over No. 36 VCU, but the Wolfpack also had a close 4-3 loss at home to No. 6 Duke, and a 4-3 loss at No. 31 Florida State. Their top singles player, Jaime Pulgar, is ranked 33rd nationally in singles. Pulgar is a senior and has gone 20-5 this dual season and was selected for the NCAA Singles Championship. In singles, the Wolfpack have been strongest at first, third, and fourth singles. Freshman Robbie Mudge has a 20-7 dual mark (11-3 at No. 3), and freshman Austin Powell has gone 16-6 (9-3 at No. 4). The Huskies and Wolfpack have never met.
SCOUTING PEPPERDINE: The Waves have hosted NCAA Regional play on six prior occasions, and are 10-2 at home in those matches. Pepperdine is the No. 7 overall seed, also ranked seventh in the last ITA poll, and heads into the tournament with a 23-6 record, having won the West Coast Conference tournament for the 42nd time. Pepperdine is also riding a 20-match winning streak dating back to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. One of the wins during that stretch was against the Huskies, where Pepperdine won, 7-0, in Malibu, although four of the six singles matches went three sets. Pepperdine captured the NCAA title in 2006. Waves players ranked in singles include WCC Player of the Year junior Sebastian Fanselow at No. 9. Junior Finn Tearney is ranked 28th and junior Mousheg Hovhannisyan is ranked No. 102. Fanselow is 28-7 this year and has won 15 in a row. Alex Llompart and Tearney are currently ranked 15th in doubles and made the NCAA field. Pepperdine now holds a 6-3 lead in the all-time series with UW.
SCOUTING GREEN BAY: The Green Bay Phoenix are making their first ever NCAA appearance after winning the Horizon League. The Phoenix were the No. 2 seeds, and beat No. 4 seed Cleveland State, 4-1, in the tournament final. Green Bay has a 19-6 record and 6-1 in league play, the 19 wins a school record. Senior Paul Swanson and freshman Michael Tenzer were both named to the First Team All-Horizon League. Mark Thomas is in his fourth year as coach.
DAWG BITES: Kyle McMorrow has posted 10 ranked wins this season, including five over current top-41 players and two over No. 7 Evan King of Michigan, and five of his losses this year have come to players currently ranked in the Top-10 in the nation ... McMorrow’s career dual record is up to 55-18, a .753 winning percentage ... the Huskies are 12-0 this season when winning the doubles point but just 4-8 when they don’t grab the early 1-0 lead ... Max Manthou had a team-best seven-match win streak in singles from Feb. 12 to Mar. 23 ... Marton Bots picked up his first career ranked win on Apr. 13, with a win over 50th-ranked Slim Hamza of Utah, then added his second in the Pac-12 tourney, as he beat 56th-ranked Nick Andrews of Cal at No. 2 singles ... Emmett Egger also has two ranked wins to his credit this year, and Max Manthou has one.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington headed to Ojai, Calif. for the first ever Pac-12 Team Championships, as the tournament had been only a singles and doubles format in the past. As the No. 5 seed, UW started off against No. 8 Arizona, and picked up a 4-0 win. The Huskies took the doubles point with a revamped lineup, that saw Kyle McMorrow and Marton Bots teaming up at No. 1 for a 8-3 win and Emmett Egger and Matt Stith earning a 8-2 win a second doubles. In singles, McMorrow, Bots and Egger all posted routine straight set wins to wrap things up. Max Manthou was also a game away from victory and Viktor Farkas was up a set as well. The next day, UW faced No. 4-seed California in the quarterfinals. The match went down to the wire, but Cal earned the doubles point, then split the three singles matches for a 4-3 win. Bots upset 56th-ranked Nick Andrews, 7-6 (4), 6-4, at No. 2 singles, and Egger scored a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win at No. 3 over Gregory Bayane. Nick Kamisar defeated Chase Melton, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 6 singles, but Cal clinched at No. 1, as 44th-ranked Ben McLachlan edged McMorrow, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3.
UP NEXT: Should the Huskies advance, the round of 16 matches will be held on May 18 in Athens, Ga. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. All remaining matches will be played there, with the final on May 22. The NCAA Singles Championship begins the next day, May 23, featuring Kyle McMorrow.
HEAD COACH MATT ANGER: The turning point in modern Washington tennis came with the hiring of Matt Anger, now entering into his 18th 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 since 2000. Under Anger’s watch, Washington has posted a winning record in all of his 18 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.