Seattle hosting nation's top college tennis players this weekend
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association event, a possible preview of the NCAA Championships in May, features 15 of the nation's 17 top-ranked men's teams.
Special to The Seattle Times
At a glanceIntercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championship
At Nordstrom Tennis Center
9 a.m. (3) Tennessee vs. (14) Georgia
Noon (2) USC vs. (15) Duke
3:30 p.m. (4) Ohio State vs. (13) Texas Tech
6:30 p.m. (1) Virginia vs. (16) Washington
At Seattle Tennis Club
9 a.m. (6) UCLA vs. (11) Louisville
Noon (7) Stanford vs. (10) Florida
3:30 p.m. (5) Texas vs. (12) Kentucky
6: 30 p.m. (8) Illinois vs. (9) Texas A&M
Winners advance to second round Saturday at NTC, losers to STC.
Tournament seeding in parentheses
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A prime showcase for college tennis, the National Men's Team Indoor Championships, opens Friday at two Seattle sites with Washington hosting the elite 16-team tournament.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association event, a possible preview of the NCAA Championships in May, features 15 of the nation's 17 top-ranked men's teams, including No. 1 Virginia and the nation's top-ranked player, Rhyne Williams of Tennessee.
Washington, ranked No. 29 and the field's lowest seed, will face top-seeded Virginia in a first-round match Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Nordstrom Tennis Center. As host, UW is the only participant that did not have to win qualifying matches to earn a spot in the tournament.
UW's Nordstrom Tennis Center and the Seattle Tennis Club will host four matches per day (9 a.m., noon, 3:30 p.m. and 6:30) through Sunday. The Nordstrom Center will host championship-bracket play on Saturday and Sunday plus the championship match at noon on Monday.
The field includes three Pac-10 powers: No. 2 USC, No. 6 UCLA and No. 7 Stanford. The Cardinal roster includes defending NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn.
Washington is hosting the tournament for the sixth time, its first since 2008. UW coach Matt Anger is excited to have so many top teams in town.
"It's a thrill to be playing any of them because you know you're playing against one of the best teams in the country," he said. "At the same time, it's no easy task."
Unbeaten Virginia features five players ranked among the top 25 in Division I men's singles, including second-ranked Alex Domijan.
UW sophomore Kyle McMorrow, the 2010 Pac-10 freshman of the year, will face Domijan on Friday. McMorrow, playing in the No. 2 spot in UW's lineup, is 8-0 in dual matches this season and ranks No. 42 in men's singles, a career best.
Washington's No. 1, 66th-ranked senior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, will play Virginia's No. 1, 15th-ranked Michael Shabaz.
"This is high-level tennis," Anger said. "Every team here plays three matches against some of the best teams in the nation, so everyone gets a good idea of where they stand."
Where does UW stand? The Huskies won their first six matches before losing a pair on the road last weekend, 4-3 to No. 22 Michigan and 5-2 to 44th-ranked Vanderbilt.
"In the last two years, based on final standings, we only have one loss (to a team) outside the top 20, and yet we haven't knocked off a top-10 team," Anger said. "We've been solid at home but a little tentative on the road. I think we're more capable now of beating top teams than we have in the past two years."
The 18th-ranked UW women, meanwhile, will compete in the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships on the same dates in Charlottesville, Va. They face fourth-ranked North Carolina on Friday.
Under sixth-year coach Jill Hultquist the Huskies feature two top players, sixth-ranked Denise Dy and No. 26 Venise Chan. To qualify for the field, UW had to defeat two top-20 foes (No. 16 Texas, No. 14 Florida State) in late January in Tallahassee, Fla., winning 4-3 both times.
Last weekend the Huskies topped 16th-ranked Mississippi 4-3 on Saturday and No. 41 St. Mary's 5-2 in their first home matches of the season.
• This is the first time UW has reached the women's ITA indoor field since 2005.
• In women's doubles, the junior-senior combo of Dy and Chan ranks No. 9 nationally. On the men's side, the team of McMorrow and Nedunchezhiyan ranks 24th.