Jan. 24, 2004
Tennessee opened the 2004 dual-match season with a 6-1 win over Memphis Saturday afternoon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. The No. 54-ranked Volunteers (1-0, 0-0 SEC) return to the courts Saturday at 6:30 p.m. to take on UT-Martin.
The doubles portion of the match was closely contested on all three courts. The Vol coaches paired veteran netter Simon Rea with freshman Ben Rogers, and the duo showed good chemistry on their way to an 8-5 win over Alex Jago and Sam Witatll at the No. 2 position. UT's top tandem of Wade Orr and Damien Spizzo dispatched the Tiger team of James Spence and Lee Taylor Walker to clinch the doubles point for the Vols shortly thereafter.
"Memphis is a tough team," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "They've beaten us in doubles the last two years. Even two years ago when we were SEC Champions and made it to the NCAA Final Four, we lost to Memphis in doubles that year. So beating them in doubles was good for us."
In singles action, Spizzo struck first for the Vols. In his Rocky Top debut, the junior transfer from Australia posted a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Spence to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead in the match.
"It was exciting," Spizzo said following his first dual match since the 2002 season. "I've been talking a lot with the coaches and practicing with all the players, but to actually get out there in a match situation and have the guys there beside me was a good feeling. I was happy to be out there representing the University of Tennessee. To get a win is a bonus."
Orr followed suit by defeating Alex Bucewicz in three sets. The Vol senior was shut out in the second set, but rebounded with a solid effort in the third stanza on his way to a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 win.
Minutes later, No. 64-ranked Rea toppled No. 48-ranked Walker to clinch the win for Tennessee.
"I thought Damien, Simon and Wade really led by example," Fancutt said. "They won their matches and played tough. I told the team over and over that the only way we can win championships is to work harder than everybody else and then get out and compete harder than everybody else. We've worked very hard the last couple of weeks, and I think we competed very well today. If we continue to do that, I think we can be a team that can win championships."
Oosthuizen and fellow freshman Kiril Tcherveniachki each netted singles wins at the Nos. 5 and 6 spots, respectively.
Rogers first home singles contest was a thrilling marathon match vs. junior Marten Tamla at the No. 4 position. The Kingsport native won the first set in a tiebreaker, but dropped the second set 6-4. The deciding set also went the distance, with Tamla eventually edging out the young Vol rookie in another tiebreaker.
Tennessee leads the all-time series vs. Memphis 6-0 dating back to 1964.