Feb. 19, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Tennessee Volunteers' bid for their first win against a top-20 opponent began slowing down once the match hit the four-hour mark at Boar's Head Sports Club.
The Vols grabbed a close doubles point and Taylor Patrick won at the bottom of the lineup, but Pepperdine turned the tide by taking four three-setters to beat Tennessee 4-2 in consolation at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
The match ended Tennessee's 0-3 stay at the national tournament.
The doubles point was close from the start. Freshman duo Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reesee beat Finn Tearney and Alex Llompart 8-5 on court 1, but Pepperdine equalized the score with a 9-8 win by Hugh Clarke and David Sofaer against Jarryd Chaplin and Peter Nagovnak.
Like Saturday, everything came down to Edward Jones and Brandon Fickey on court 2. Against UCLA, Jones and Fickey lost in a tiebreaker, but this time the story was different as Tennessee's No. 2 team beat Sebastian Fanselow and Jenson Turner 9-8 (4).
The Vols started off solidly in singles, taking three of six first sets, including Fickey against No. 26 Tearney on court 2. Patrick extended Tennessee lead to 2-0 with a quick 6-1, 7-5 victory against Turner on court 6, snapping a five-match losing streak.
Once Patrick left the court, all five remaining matches went three sets as Libietis, Chaplin and Reese rallied to win their second sets on courts 1, 3 and 4.
Tearney rallied to beat Fickey 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to put Pepperdine on the board. The Waves tied the match a few minutes later as Fanselow broke Libietis early in the third set to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on court 1.
From there, Pepperdine took the lead when Llompart defeated Chaplin on court 4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. Mousheg Hovhannisyan, ranked No. 58 nationally, clinched the match for Pepperdine by beating Reese 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 on court 3.
Jones was serving at 5-5 in the third set on court 5 against No. 78 Hugh Clarke when the match ended. Jones had match points at 5-4 also served for the match in the second set.
The road gets no easier for the Vols as the team heads to the annual Blue-Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala. In the team's first outdoor event, the eight-team event is stacked with solid teams including Auburn, Mississippi State, Boise State, Clemson, Cornell, Alabama and Texas Tech.
Tennessee won the Blue Gray last time the Vols were able to play in the event in 2009.
Pepperdine 4, Tennessee 2
1. #31 Sebastian Fanselow, Pepp., def. #81 Mikelis Libietis, UT, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
2. #26 Finn Tearney, Pepp., def. Brandon Fickey, UT, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. #58 Mousheg Hovhannisyan, Pepp., def. Hunter Reese, UT, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2
4. Alex Llompart, Pepp., def. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2
5. Edward Jones, UT, vs. #78 Hugh Clarke, Pepp., 6-3, 6-7, 5-5 DNF
6. Taylor Patrick, UT, def. Jenson Turner, Pepp., 6-1, 7-5
1. #41 Libietis/Reese, UT, def. #53 Tearney/Llompart, Pepp., 8-5
2. Fickey/Jones, UT, def. Fanselow/Turner, Pepp., 9-8
3. Clark/Sofaer, Pepp., def. Chaplin/Nagovnak, UT, 9-8
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,2,1,4,3).