Desert Duals On Tap For Women’s Tennis
THIS WEEK: A pair of tough road matches this weekend give the Huskies a chance to get rolling in Pac-12 play, as UW swings down to Tucson and Tempe to take on the Arizona schools. Washington, ranked 36th, will face the 31st-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday, March 23, at 1:30 p.m., then head to a match with 30th-ranked Arizona State on Saturday at 12 noon. All three teams are looking for their first wins in Pac-12 play and every win against a Top-40 team is key at this point in the season with just over a month left in the regular season.
FRIDAY, MAR. 23 • TUCSON, ARIZONA
#36 Washington at #31 Arizona • 1:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, MAR. 24 • TEMPE, ARIZONA
#36 Washington at #30 Arizona State • 12 p.m.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Washington is ranked 36th nationally this week, staying put in today’s newest set of rankings. The Dawgs ended the 2011 season at 26th nationally and started 2012 one spot below that at No. 27 according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The only UW individual currently ranked is senior All-American Denise Dy. The senior All-American was ranked fourth in the nation in singles at the start of the fall. Although Dy had another impressive fall, reaching the ITA National Indoor semifinals, she slipped to 10th in the first 2012 singles rankings, then fell to 18th but has since moved back up to her current No. 11. Dy ended the 2011 spring season ranked eighth nationally, the second-best year-end ranking in school history. She has been ranked in the top-20 in every poll since 2010, her sophomore year, when she jumped from the fifties to No. 3 after a fantastic 2009 fall campaign.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats are 10-4 on the year and 0-1 in Pac-12 play after losing against Washington State, 6-1, last weekend in Pullman. Prior to that, Arizona had won four straight, and it is a perfect 7-0 at home. Sophomore Lacey Smyth leads the Wildcats at No. 1 singles and is ranked 79th. UA also has veteran seniors in Sarah Landsman and 85th-ranked Natasha Marks. Marks and Smyth are ranked 45th in doubles, and Marks and Kim Stubbe are 73rd. Last season the Huskies pulled out a 4-3 victory in Seattle, taking the doubles point and getting wins from Denise Dy over Marks and graduated seniors Venise Chan and Aleksandra Krsljanin. Arizona leads the all-time series, 20-8, but the Huskies have won four in a row.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Like the Wildcats, the Sun Devils suffered an upset loss in Pullman last weekend to start Pac-12 play, dropping their record to 8-3, and 0-1 in conference. ASU is now ranked 30th entering the weekend. In its previous match, ASU had a 4-3 win over St. Mary’s, which upended the Huskies in Seattle. Leading the Sun Devils is sophomore Jacqueline Cako, ranked No. 9 in the nation. She was a finalist at the ITA All-American Championships in the fall. Last year the Sun Devils defeated the Huskies, 5-2, in Seattle, despite wins at the top two singles spots from Denise Dy and Venise Chan. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series, 21-6-1, with UW last winning in 2008.
LAST TIME OUT: Freshman Riko Shimizu posted wins in both singles and doubles to lead the Dawgs, but ninth-ranked Cal was too deep and came away with a 6-1 win over Washington at the Nordstrom Tennis Center last Friday. Cal won the doubles point to start things off with wins from its two ranked duos at first and second doubles. Shimizu and fellow freshman Julija Lukac came back from 1-4 down to win at third doubles in a tiebreaker, 7-1, over Alice Duranteau and Cecilia Estlander. In singles, the Bears took five of the six first sets. Shimizu was the exception, and she defeated Stephany Chang, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 6 singles, winning the final four games. The clinching point came at No. 1 singles, which pitted Top-20 opponents Denise Dy and Zsofi Susanyi against each other. The 17th-ranked freshman saved three set points at 4-5 in the second set, and came back to beat 11th-ranked Dy, 6-3, 7-5. Capucine Gregoire was down a set and 2-4 in the second, but came back to force a tiebreak in the second set, but Alice Duranteau pulled it out, 7-5, to complete a 6-3, 7-6 win. The last match went to Cal, as freshman Lukac fell short at fifth singles to Estlander, 6-3, 6-4. The Bears got a great performance from 66th-ranked Anett Schutting at third singles, as she rarely missed en route to a 6-0, 6-1 win over senior Samantha Smith. And sophomore Andjela Nemcevic came up short against 100th-ranked Annie Goransson, 6-3, 6-3.
NO DY-NYING DENISE: One of the greatest Huskies in history, the incredible career of Denise Dy is in its final act, but the senior from San Jose is still piling up the wins and looking to leave the program with a flourish. The only Husky to reach three national semifinals (the 2009 ITA National Indoors, the 2010 ITA All-Americans, and the 2011 ITA National Indoors), Dy has been a force in tournament play, but has been even greater in dual match play with a team point on her racquet. Dy has a career dual match record in singles of 60-15, and since the start of her sophomore year it is an even more incredible 41-7, a winning percentage of .865. An All-Pac-10 First Team selection last year, Dy continues to draw near the 100 win plateau for singles, currently owning 96 victories. She would be the fourth Husky to join that club, along with Kristina Kraszewski (111), former doubles partner Venise Chan (101), and Dea Sumantri (100). She has made both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships each of the past two years, earning a top-16 seed in singles both times, and advancing to the doubles quarterfinals last year with Chan, matching the best finish ever by a Husky duo. Her 77 career doubles wins rank fourth all-time. Dy is looking to earn ITA All-America honors for the third year in a row. She picked up a singles All-America honor in 2010, and singles and doubles honors in 2011. Dy has been a fixture in the Top-12 of the national singles rankings for the past three years, with a career-best of No. 3 during her sophomore year, and highs of No. 4 as a junior and a senior.
UP NEXT: Washington has another tough road trip ahead as it will travel to Los Angeles to take on UCLA and USC on back-to-back days. On Friday, March 30, the Huskies will visit UCLA, which is the current No. 1-ranked team in the country and won this year’s ITA National Team Indoor Championship, for a 1:30 p.m. match. Saturday, March 31, will be a dual against the fourth-ranked Trojans at 12 noon.
HEAD COACH JILL HULTQUIST: Now in year seven 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. Washington has had unprecedented individual success over the past two seasons, as junior Venise Chan and sophomore Denise Dy eached made the semifinals of ITA national singles championships, and both earned All-America honors in 2010 in singles and again in 2011 in both singles and doubles. They became the first All-Americans for Hultquist and first for UW since 2004. Washington has now made four consecutive NCAA tournaments under Hultquist, reaching the second round the past two years after the 2009 round of 16 run. In 2008, 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 (10) and Maggie (8).