Jan. 24, 2004
Tennessee finished off its season-opening doubleheader with a 7-0 thrashing of UT-Martin Saturday night at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. The Vols combined to lose only 12 games in the singles portion of the match.
Tennessee (2-0, 0-0 SEC) began the day by posting a 6-1 victory over No. 69-ranked Memphis. The Big Orange coaching staff then opted to give some Vol veterans the night off in an attempt to gauge the progress made by the team's six underclassmen. Freshman Johnny Thornton made his home debut against UT-Martin, while four other underclassmen took part in singles competition vs. the Skyhawks.
"It was a good first day for the team," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "Everybody played today, and they played well. It was really inspiring to see the young guys play well."
The Volunteers swept the doubles point in impressive fashion, surrendering only five games in three matches. Wade Orr and Damien Spizzo made short work of UT-Martin's Lucas Tregansin and Daniel McGuire, posting an 8-1 win at the No. 2 position. The freshmen team of Matt Berry and Ockie Oosthuizen also lost only one game during a dismantling of Ben Hatchwell and Oltion Mollaymeri at the No. 3 spot. Moments later, Simon Rea and Ben Rogers put the finishing touches on their 8-3 win over Adolfo and Gustavo Anzola to complete the doubles sweep.
The singles scoring was initiated by Vol sophomore Rawl Martin, who dominated McGuire 6-0, 6-0 in their match at the No. 4 slot. Rea then put Tennessee up 3-0 with a straight set victory over Gustavo Anzola at No. 1 singles.
The four remaining Volunteer singles players had a combined two contests of dual-match experience under their belts.
Rogers won the race to clinch the Volunteer victory when he ousted Tregansin 6-0, 6-1. The win marked the Kingsport native's first as a Volunteer.
"It's a big weight off my shoulders," Rogers said. "I had a tough match this morning (against Memphis), and I thought I should have come away with a victory then. I just felt like I really needed to get that first win today, and I did."
New Zealand native Kiril Tcherveniachki was a winner at the No. 2 spot, and Berry chipped in a victory in his contest at No. 5.
Thornton rounded out the scoring for the Vols, defeating Skyhawk sophomore Adolfo Anzola in straight sets and thus winning his Rocky Top debut.
"It's just great to be representing the Big Orange and being able to be a part of this," Thornton said moments after his match. "It's like a dream. I'd do anything for UT. I've cheered for Tennessee my whole life, and to be a part of this athletic program is just great."
Fancutt voiced optimism about Thornton's improvements since joining the squad in the fall.
"Johnny Thornton worked hard during the fall and has gotten better and better," Fancutt said. "He did a lot of things well today that we've been working on. When you're working with young players on specific things and practicing them over and over, it's really satisfying to see them go out and do it in a pressure-match situation."
The Vols are back in action Friday, Jan. 30, when they play host to Georgia Southern at noon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.