Jan. 31, 2010
The fifth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers shut out Utah 7-0 Sunday afternoon at Goodfriend Tennis Center to advance to the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Vols (3-0) have earned shutouts against all three of their opponents this season after sweeping both East Tennessee State and Chattanooga last week.
Tennessee faces South Carolina on Monday at 2 p.m. for the championship. Earlier in the day, South Carolina qualified for the finals by defeating Virginia Commonwealth 4-2 in a match that lasted approximately five hours.
The winner of Monday's match received an invitation to play in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., from Feb. 12-15.
On Sunday, the Vols got out to an early lead thanks, once again, to its doubles teams. Junior Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams cruised to an 8-0 victory in the No. 2 position over Timmy Allin and Jason Smits.
It took senior Davey Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith a little while to pull away from Phillip Eilers and Alex Golding, but they picked up a break near the end of the match and won 8-5 to clinch the doubles point for UT. Sandgren and Smith, one of the most successful pairs in UT history, now have 54 career wins.
Williams also played a quick singles match, picking up a quick 6-1, 6-2 win over Golding at the No. 3 position. Williams, ranked 22nd nationally, improved his record to 17-4.
Just a few minutes later, freshman Tennys Sandgren wrapped up a 6-1, 6-2 win over Jason Smits. Almost as soon as Sandgren finished his shaking hands with Smits, Conkic finished his No. 2 match 6-1, 6-2 against Benito Suriano. Conkic has now won eight consecutive matches to start the spring season.
"Anytime you can jump out and get ahead in these matches, it just builds momentum," head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "We did a great job of that today."
Even though the match was won with Conkic's straight-sets win, the two schools played out the match. Smith recorded his 20th singles win of the year with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Phillip Eilers. Smith now sits at 89 wins, one shy of cracking into the Vols' top 10 in career wins.
The last time the Vols have started off the season with three 7-0 victories was in 2007, Winterbotham's first season as head coach at UT.
The Vols must quickly for a very familiar opponent: South Carolina. Tennessee holds a 26-18 advantage in the all-time series and won last year's Southeastern Conference matchup at home 4-1.
"They're extremely talented," Winterbotham said. "We know them very well. They know us very well. It should be a good match."
1. John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Phillip Eilers (UTAH) 6-0, 6-2
2. Boris Conkic (UT) def. Benito Suriano (UTAH) 6-1, 6-2
3. Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Alex Golding (UTAH) 6-1, 6-2
4. Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Jason Smits (UTAH) 6-1, 6-2
5. Matt Brewer (UT) def. Timmy Allin (UTAH) 6-4, 6-3
6. Matteo Fago (UT) def. Stephen Jacobs (UTAH) 6-3, 6-1
1. John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (UT) def. Phillip Eilers/Alex Golding (UTAH) 8-5
2. Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Timmy Allin/Jason Smits (UTAH) 8-0
3. Max Stevens/Edward Jones (UT) vs. Stephen Jacobs/Benito Suriano (UTAH) 7-6, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (3,4,2,1,6,5)
#43 South Carolina 4, #48 Virginia Commonwealth 2
1. Diego Cubas (USC) def. Thibaut Charron (VCU) 6-1, 6-4
2. Pedro Campos (USC) def. Krisztin Krocsko (VCU) 6-2, 7-5
3. Tim Johannsen (VCU) def. Ivan Machado (USC) 7-6, 6-1
4. Filip Svensson (VCU) def. Johannes Pulsfort (USC) 6-3, 6-2
5. Alexander Kostanov (USC) def. Max Wennakoski (VCU) 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
6. Camill Salomon (VCU) vs. Ivan Cressoni (USC) 7-6, 6-2, 3-3 (did not finish)
1. Thibaut Charron/Tim Johannsen (VCU) def. Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (USC) 8-5
2. Ivan Cressoni/Pedro Campos (USC) def. Krisztin Krocsko/Camill Salomon (VCU) 8-4
3. Johannes Pulsfort/Alexander Kostanov (USC) def. Filip Svensson/Oscar Perman (VCU) 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,2,1,3,5)