Seniors Go Out On Top With 4-3 Win Over Ducks
SEATTLE – With a combined 164 singles wins between them coming into today, seniors Denise Dy and Samantha Smith still craved one more apiece in the final home match of their careers. Both four-year starters have dealt with significant injury issues this season, but both called on their experience and resolve to earn wins today that helped the 55th-ranked Huskies (8-11, 2-7 Pac-12) end the regular season with a 4-3 victory over Oregon at the Bill Quillian Stadium.
Dy, Smith, and Adrijana Pavlovic were honored by Head Coach Jill Hultquist during the match, right after UW had lost a closely contested doubles point to fall behind, 0-1, to 66th-ranked Oregon. Washington then responded after the break with wins in five of the six first sets in singles, and went on to pick up the needed four victories to get their second win of conference play.
Hultquist does not believe that the win will be enough to get UW into its fifth-straight NCAA tournament, saying “This was our NCAA victory. It’s been a tough year for the girls, even going into this match we had Dy back but not for doubles and that was tough losing the doubles. But both Dy and Sam have been battling big time injuries, so it was good that they could play through it. Samantha has done a good job managing her injury, doing everything right.”
Washington started the year 6-2 but then was hit by a rash of injuries. Dy missed several matches and continues to struggle due to her wrist. Freshman Capucine Gregoire was knocked out several weeks back with a season-ending rib fracture. Freshmen Riko Shimizu and Natali Coronel also missed stretches with ankle and foot injuries, and Coronel retired from today’s match.
Smith soldiered on despite an injury to her lower back. She had to retire from a couple of matches this season, but always made the start, and Coach Hultquist noted to the crowd today that Sam never missed a match in her four-year career.
Today, Smith was the first Husky to get on the board in singles, as she played tenacious defense against Trudie du Toit and managed her way to a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles.
Dy, the three-time All-American, had been stuck on 96 career singles wins since Feb. 26. She finally broke that drought today with a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles over Julia Metzger. Dy remains ranked 22nd in the nation despite her injury struggles due to the quality wins she picked up in the fall. She’ll earn a third consecutive NCAA Singles bid and could rest her wrist for three weeks until that time.
Along with the seniors, it was a pair of freshmen getting the other two victories that propelled the Huskies. Shimizu was dominant at No. 6 singles, leading Rabea Stueckemann, 6-0, 5-0, before the Duck got her first two games, but Shimizu got the next one to close it out. The clinching ball went to freshman Julija Lukac, who won the final three games in her second set to knock off Sofia Hager, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 4 singles.
The Huskies will travel down to Ojai, Calif. next week for the Pac-12 Championships, which begin this Thursday. Unlike the men, which are switching to a team tourney, the women maintain the singles and doubles tourney this season.
Washington Women’s Tennis
Bill Quillian Stadium – Seattle, Wash.
April 22, 2012
No. 55 Washington 4, No. 66 Oregon 3
1) Nemcevic/Shimizu (UW) def. Skowronski/Hager (UO), 9-7
2) Metzger/du Toit (UO) def. Lukac/Coronel (UW), 8-6
3) Neubert/Stueckelmann (UO) def. Smith/Pavlovic (UW), 8-6
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
1) (22) Denise Dy (UW) def. Julia Metzger (UO), 6-2, 6-4
2) Patricia Skowronski (UO) def. Andjela Nemcevic (UW), 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), (10-7)
3) Samantha Smith (UW) def. Trudie du Toit (UO), 6-1, 6-1
4) Julija Lukac (UW) def. Sofia Hager (UO), 6-2, 6-4
5) Pascale Neubert (UO) def. Natali Coronel (UW), 6-3, 3-4, ret.
6) Riko Shimizu (UW) def. Rabea Stueckemann (UO), 6-0, 6-2
Order of finish: 3, 6, 1, 4, 5, 2