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Washington Live Blog | Live Video (O-Zone Subscribers)
EUGENE – After playing eight-straight dual matches on the road, the Oregon women’s tennis team returns home for the first time since Jan. 28 when it hosts No. 20 Washington this weekend.
Friday’s matchup is the Ducks’ (6-6, 0-4 Pac-10) first conference dual at home this season. The dual begins with doubles play at noon at the Student Tennis Center.
UO began league play two weeks ago and has played four road duals against four teams ranked in the top 31 nationally, including two current top 10 opponents. Oregon has dropped four-straight duals, but saw some success in its Arizona trip last week. The Ducks’ No. 2 doubles team of Trudie du Toit and Julia Metzger picked up a pair of victories, which included an upset win over No. 46 Ashlee Brown and Sianna Simmons of Arizona State on Saturday. In singles play, No. 100 Pavlina Smatova picked up her first Pac-10 win with a victory over Arizona’s Sarah Landsman while Pascale Neubert notched a victory over Arizona State’s No. 117 Michelle Brycki.
Washington is 8-6 on the season and dropped its first two Pac-10 duals at No. 15 USC and No. 17 UCLA last weekend. Five of Washington’s six losses have come at the hands of top-20 opponents. The Huskies have lost five of their last six duals, but sport two nationally-ranked singles players in No. 6 Denise Dy (21-5 overall, 12-1 in duals) and No. 27 Venise Chan (17-6, 12-1). Dy and Chan also form the No. 6 doubles team in the country with a 13-2 overall record and a 9-2 mark in dual play.
UW won last year’s meeting in Eugene, 5-2, with Smatova and Patricia Skowronski accounting for the Ducks’ scoring with singles victories.
A live blog will be provided for Friday’s dual and a live stream of select courts will be available courtesy of the O-Zone. Results and a complete recap of the competition will be available following the dual on GoDucks.com.
News and Notes:
Climbing the Ranks – Senior Pavlina Smatova moved into the top-100 for the first time this season in the latest (March 1) ITA singles rankings. Smatova, who is 15-10 overall and 7-5 in dual play, checks in at No. 100 nationally. The Plzen, Czech Republic native moved up six spots from her ranking on Feb. 14, when she debuted at No. 106.
Double Time – Pavlina Smatova and Patricia Skowronski have been a force in doubles play this season, amassing a 17-8 record overall and a 7-4 mark in dual play. The duo spent time in the ITA national rankings, reaching as high as 45th on Feb. 14.
Freshmen Anchors – The Ducks have had a three freshmen anchor the back half of their singles lineup. The trio of Rabea Stuckemann (11-10 overall, 6-6 in duals), Lana Buttner (8-9, 4-5) and Pascale Neubert (5-5) are a combined 24-24 this season. The trio has come up big in Oregon’s trip to Boulder, Colo., as Buttner pulled out a clutch three-set win against Colorado to send the Ducks to a 4-3 dual victory on Feb. 18 and all three won their singles matches against New Mexico on Feb. 19.
Pulling Rank – The Ducks have spent time in the ITA team rankings in every season under head coach Paul Reber after spending four weeks in the top 75 in 2010. UO has been ranked in the top 50 in three separate seasons under Reber, most recently during the 2008-09 campaign (45th). Oregon cracked the top 25 in 2007, reaching as high as 22nd and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.