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TENNIS VOLS DROP SEC OPENER TO LSU 4-3
Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers

March 2, 2007

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The tennis match between Tennessee and LSU wasn't for the faint of heart Friday night as LSU's Kevin Dessauer defeated UT's Derek Stephens in a third-set tiebreaker to propel the Tigers to a 4-3 win at the UT Outdoor Varsity Courts.

"The crowd was great and they were very vocal and supportive and gave us the homecourt advantage we're looking for," head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "I'd like our guys to feed off the crowd more. But, to a man, they competed extremely hard. You have to give credit to LSU, when the pressure increased they stepped up."

Stephens dropped the first set but battled back to win the second at No. 4 singles. In the third set, the UT sophomore found himself down 4-1 but came back to tie the set at four games apiece and eventually force a tiebreaker. Dessauer though got off to a fast start in the tiebreaker and outlasted Stephens winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2).

The Vols (6-3, 0-1 SEC) dropped the doubles point for only the second time this season as LSU (7-1, 1-0 SEC) won at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. Adam Hubble and Ben Rogers defeated the sixth-ranked duo of James Cluskey and Ken Skupski 8-4 at the No. 2 position to remain undefeated (8-0) in doubles during dual-match play.

Rogers quickly tied the match with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jan Zelezny. Rogers has a team-high seven singles wins during dual-matches.

Danny Bryan put LSU back in the lead with a come-from-behind win over Bobby Cameron at the No. 2 position. Cameron got off to a fast start winning the first set 6-2 but Bryan took control of the match in the second set and never relinquished it winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Kiril Tcherveniachki brought the Vols back again with a straight-set 7-6, 6-1 victory over Cluskey at No. 6 singles. The UT senior since falling in the deciding point against Illinois on Feb. 3, has not lost in singles.

Colt Gaston put the Tigers back in front when he outlasted Davey Sandgren at the No. 3 position. Gaston won the first set but Sandgren battled back in the second winning six games to one. In the third set, Gaston won the first three games but Sandgren came back and won the next three. With the match tied at four games apiece, Gaston won the final two games to win the match.

Kaden Hensel brought the Vols back for the final time defeating LSU's two-time All-America Ken Skupski at No. 1 singles. Hensel won in a tiebreaker in the first set and after dropping the second set, took control early in the third set and cruised to the win 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.

"I think as we go down the road this semester, the experience we're gaining will go along way to turning these 4-3 matches (two of Tennessee's three defeats have been 4-3) into victories," Winterbotham said.

Tennessee returns to action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. when it hosts Arkansas. The first 100 fans to attend will receive a free t-shirt. Everybody that attends also can enter a raffle to win an iPod or a pair of adidas shoes.

No. 20 LSU 4 No. 30 Tennessee 3
Singles
1.No. 29 Kaden Hensel (UT)def.No. 24 Ken Skupski (LSU)7-6, 3-6, 6-3
2.No. 62 Danny Bryan (LSU)def.No. 23 Bobby Cameron (UT)2-6, 6-1, 6-2
3.Colt Gaston (LSU)def.Davey Sandgren (UT)4-6, 6-1, 6-4
4.Kevin Dessauer (LSU)def.Derek Stephens (UT)6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2)*
5.Ben Rogers (UT)def.Jan Zelezny (LSU)6-2, 6-4
6.Kiril Tcherveniachki (UT)def.James Cluskey (LSU)7-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 5,2,6,3,1,4
Doubles
1.No. 25 Bryan/Gaston (LSU)def.No. 44 Cameron/Hensel (UT)8-5
2.Hubble/Rogers (UT)def.No. 6 Cluskey/Skupski (LSU)8-4
3.Dessauer/Zelezny (LSU)def.Sandgren/Thornton (UT)8-4
Order of Finish: 3,2,1

 

 

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