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Dawgs make loud statement in thrilling win over Kansas

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Sophomore Vanessa Wong returns a serve by Kansas. Wong won her match 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, clinching the win for Washington.

The Washington women’s team stayed resilient in an upset 4-3 win over No. 7 ranked Kansas. 

The Huskies (10-1) were locked in from the start on Friday, and it was apparent that the match would be tight, with the players valuing every point and staying mistake-free.

Sophomore Vanessa Wong led the way, beating Janet Koch 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles slot. Wong was able to control points with spinning, slicing approach shots and creative, consistent play at the net. Wong’s movement and volleys at the net kept Koch on the defensive, and stopped her from getting any rhythm when it mattered most.

“We had similar game styles, we both played the slice and moved each other around a lot,” Wong said. “I worked with the coaches during the match to come up with patterns that were working well, and I stuck to them. I’m definitely feeling tired, but everyone here is just really happy with the win.”

Wong’s victory clinched the fourth point for the Huskies, and secured their biggest win of the season. Wong is now 17-4 in singles and 9-0 in dual match play, the best mark on the team.

Only Nika Zupancic, Katarina Kopcalic, and Stacey Fung were able to take their opening sets, which allowed Kansas to gain traction and confidence on the courts. The Huskies, even after losing three of six first sets, were able to scrape back to secure wins in four of the five three-set matches played on the night.

Wong, Zupancic, Kopcalic, and junior Natsuho Arakawa all picked up three-set singles wins to give the Huskies their four points on the night.

“I can’t say enough about the heart and fight in our team,” head coach Robin Stephenson said. “We proved a lot to ourselves tonight, that we can have our backs against the wall and still find a way to beat anybody in the country. More than the level of tennis, I was so impressed with the resiliency of our team and the fight we showed when we needed it most, it gives us a ton of confidence moving forward.”

The Huskies will look to carry the good tennis forward as they open up conference play against Colorado on Friday, Mar. 8.

Reach Reporter Caden Conder at Twitter: @cadenmconder

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