Huskies Home For Key Matches With Pac-12 Newcomers
THIS WEEK: A key home weekend for the Husky women’s tennis team is at hand, as Washington looks to snap a recent skid against a number of highly ranked teams, and break into the win column in Pac-12 play. New conference members Colorado and 43rd-ranked Utah come to town, both also searching for their first wins in their new home conference. The duals loom very large for the Huskies as they try to make a postseason push in this final month of the regular season, chasing a fifth straight NCAA tourney bid. Colorado comes in on Friday, April 6, for a 12 noon match-up, then the Utes arrive for a Saturday match, again starting at 12 noon. Weather permitting, matches will be played outdoors at the Bill Quillian Stadium.
FRIDAY, APR. 6 • BILL QUILLIAN STADIUM*
#44 Washington hosts Colorado • 12:00 p.m.
Live Chat On GoHuskies.com
SATURDAY, APR. 7 • BILL QUILLIAN STADIUM*
#44 Washington hosts #43 Utah • 12:00 p.m.
Live Chat On GoHuskies.com
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Despite losing to two top-five teams last weekend, the Huskies rose four spots in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings today to No. 44. Washington was ranked in the Top-30 through February. 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, and is currently ranked 20th nationally. 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 COLORADO: Colorado is 7-9 on the season and winless in Pac-12 play at 0-5 coming off a 6-1 loss at Washington State in Pullman. In other Pac-12 matches, the Buffs were swept by Stanford, Cal, and USC, but took two points from top-ranked UCLA in a 5-2 loss. All of Colorado’s seven wins have come against unranked opponents. Seven of the eight Colorado players are freshmen or sophomores. Sophomore Kristina Schleich is the top singles player for Colorado, and she got the only point at WSU with a three set upset of 48th-ranked Liudmila Vasilieva at No. 1 singles. Freshman Julyette Steur went to third set super-tiebreaks against ranked players from Cal and Stanford, so she’s one to watch at third singles.
SCOUTING UTAH: The Utes are 8-8 on the year but still looking for their first Pac-12 win as well as they are 0-5 with a road loss at Washington State last weekend by a 5-2 count. Utah also fell to the four California Pac-12 schools, all at home, broken up by a 5-2 home win over BYU. The Utes will be at Oregon on Friday before making it up to Seattle. The Huskies have fared well against Utah over the past few years, winning 6-1 in Salt Lake City last year in a non-conference dual, and topping the Utes in the NCAA First Round in 2010. Senior Anastasia Putilina has led the Utes for several years, currently ranking 77th in singles. She was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year last year and made the NCAA Singles tourney. Freshman Natasha Smith is 7-3 in her last 10 matches in the lower half of Utah’s lineup.
LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies headed to Los Angeles for a tough weekend at No. 1 UCLA and No. 4 USC. UW faced the top-ranked Bruins first on Friday, putting up a good battle before eventually falling, 5-2, as UCLA remained unbeaten. In singles, freshman Julija Lukac won her third straight road match, upsetting 84th-ranked Chanelle Van Nguyen in a third set super-tiebreak, 3-6, 6-3, (10-8). Senior Samantha Smith also had a big upset at second singles in her return to her hometown, beating 87th-ranked Pamela Montez, 6-3, 6-2. Freshman Capucine Gregoire also narrowly missed a ranked win, falling to 116th-ranked Skylar Morton, 6-4, 3-6, (10-8). With a revamped doubles lineup, Andjela Nemcevic and Riko Shimizu got their first win together, beating Montez and Van Nguyen, 8-5, at third doubles, but UCLA got wins at first and second doubles. The next day, the Huskies struggled against the Trojans, falling 7-0 for the first time this season. Nemcevic played the day’s most competitive match, but was unable to upset 15th-ranked Zoe Scandalis at No. 1 singles, falling 6-3, 6-4.
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 60-16, and since the start of her sophomore year it is an even more incredible 41-8, a winning percentage of .837. 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-20 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 makes its final road trip of the regular season, heading across the state to face the rival Washington State Cougars on Sunday, April 15, at 11 a.m. UW then closes out the regular season on April 22 against the Ducks in Seattle.
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).