Feb. 1, 2003
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee improved its record to 4-0 on the season, with 7-0 sweeps over Murray State and UT-Martin in a doubleheader at UT's Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center Saturday.
"I'm happy with the way the team seems to be coming along," Tennessee head coach Michael Fancutt said. "We seem to be getting better and stronger with each match we play. We're starting to come into a tough part of the schedule now, and these matches are helping us to work on our doubles teams and getting the team to work together as a whole."
The Murray State Racers, coached by former Tennessee All-America Mel Purcell, were the Vols' first opponents of the day. Tennessee, currently ranked 13th in the nation, began the match by winning all three doubles contests, despite a strong effort from Murray State's Adam Maskill and Masimba Muskwe at the No. 1 position. The Racer duo made things exciting before finally falling by a score of 9-8 to Tennessee's Mark Henderson and Simon Rea.
The close-played contest provided little optimism for the Murray State team however, as the Racers soon learned that their top singles player, Thiago Gondim, aggravated a hip injury in his No. 2 doubles match, and would be forced to sit out singles competition. Purcell was thus forced to move each of his remaining five players up one spot in the lineup and default the No. 6 singles match.
Halfway to victory before the singles portion of the match even began, the Vols cruised, led my Mark Dietrich at the No. 1 spot.
"That was actually the first time that I had played No. 1 singles, so I wanted to get off to a good start at that position," Dietrich said. "I got off to kind of a slow start, but later on in the day I picked it up and really focused on beating these guys."
For Purcell, returning to Big Orange Country brought back memories of his playing days as a Vol, when he and Fancutt were teammates leading Tennessee to an SEC team title in 1980.
"It's good to see Michael. Mike and I were good buddies in college, and we've stayed good friends up to this point," Purcell said. "This match is good for [my team] because it gives my guys a chance to know they can compete against SEC-caliber players. It's also great to see this great facility, and I'm just glad to know that I was a part of building this program up to where it is now."
Purcell and Rodney Harmon won the NCAA doubles championship in 1980, and the pair remains the only duo to accomplish that lofty feat at Tennessee.
In the Vols' second dual match of the day, they faced in-state rival UT-Martin. Once again, Tennessee came out strong and swept the doubles competition. That display set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, as Fancutt's squad refused to surrender a set to the Skyhawks while completing the sweep.
Freshman Rawl Martin played with excitement and emotion in his singles contest, dominating UT-Martin's Adolfo Anzola 6-0, 6-0.
"I felt really good out there," Martin said. "I think coach Fancutt and [associate head coach Chris Mahony] have done an unbelievable job helping me get better every match. I'm just really looking forward to tougher matches down the road and playing a lot more matches for Tennessee."
So far this season, the two Vol freshmen, Martin and Vincent Perna, have yet to lose in either singles or doubles in dual match competition, and their five doubles victories leads all UT tandems this season.
"[The team is] getting a little more confident, and it's great for the young
guys on the team to get some wins under their belt and feel good about themselves,"
"These wins obviously show that the coaches and the training staff did a good job of getting us fit for the spring," Dietrich said. "And mentally, I think we're a very, very sound team."
Tennessee will face its first ranked opponent of the season Saturday, Feb.
8, when No. 71 ETSU visits the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center for a 2 p.m.
|Tennessee 7, Murray State 0|
|1) No. 56 Mark Dietrich (UT) def. Adam Maskill (MS), 6-2, 7-6(5)|
|2) No. 27 Simon Rea (UT) def. Zakaria Bahri (MS), 6-4, 6-3|
|3) Wade Orr (UT) def. Masimba Muskwe (MS), 6-2, 7-5|
|4) Mark Henderson (UT) def. Richemn Mourad (MS), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|5) Vincent Perna (UT) def. Craig Jacobs (MS), 6-2, 6-1|
|6) Rawl Martin (UT) def. Default (MS), Walkover|
|1) Henderson/Rea (UT) def. Maskill/Muskwe (MS), 9-8(1)|
|2) Dietrich/Orr (UT) def. Gondim/Mourad (MS), 8-3|
|3) Martin/Perna (UT) def. Bahri/Jacobs (MS), 8-1|
|Tennessee 7, UT-Martin 0|
|1) No. 56 Mark Dietrich (UT) def. Marten Tamla (UTM), 6-4, 6-2|
|2) No. 27 Simon Rea (UT) def. Gustavo Anzola (UTM), 6-1, 6-0|
|3) Wade Orr (UT) def. Lucas Tregansin (UTM) 6-3, 6-3|
|4) Mark Henderson (UT) def. Oltian Mollaymeri (UTM), 7-6(3), 6-3|
|5) Vincent Perna (UT) def. Daniel McGuire (UTM), 6-2, 6-2|
|6) Rawl Martin (UT) def. Adolfo Anzola (UTM), 6-0, 6-0|
|1) Henderson/Rea (UT) def. G. Anzola/Tamla (UTM), 8-2|
|2) Dietrich/Orr (UT) def. McGuire/Tregansin (UTM), 8-5|
|3) Martin/Perna (UT) def. A. Anzola/Mollaymeri (UTM), 8-3|