March 3, 2013
ATLANTA -- The Vols rebounded to finish the weekend tennis road swing on a positive note Sunday, shutting out Georgia Tech 4-0 at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Featuring a new doubles lineup, the eighth-ranked Vols (13-4) took the doubles point and rolled to take five first sets on their way to their 10th shutout of the season.
Sophomore Hunter Reese did not even finish his opening set by the time the match was over.
In singles, sophomore Mikelis Libietis rolled past No. 52 Juan Spir 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour on court 1. Senior Taylor Patrick beat Colin Edwards 6-4, 6-1 on court 6, and senior John Collins snapped his three-match winning streak to beat Anish Sharma 6-1, 6-1 on court 5 to clinch the Tennessee win.
Coming off a 4-1 SEC opening loss to Georgia on Friday, Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said the team made some adjustments in practice Saturday on Georgia Tech's courts. The Vols put together a solid effort across the lineup in singles and doubles, winning against the Jackets in less than three hours.
"We can't just be happy and content that the season is going OK, because our program is always striving to get better every day," Winterbotham said. "We see the improvement as a coaching staff, and we're so proud of these guys. Now they actually have to go out in these competitive situations and have the confidence to use what they've got.
"I thought today they did a good job of taking our time on the points we needed to take time and use the tools we have."
One of those adjustments was a change in the doubles lineup. Libietis and Reese, the Vols' No. 1 team a year ago, teamed up for the first time as sophomores on court 1. Jarryd Chaplin swapped places with Reese at court 3 with Brandon Fickey.
Chaplin and Fickey breezed through their match 8-2 against Edwards and Eduardo Segura. With the last two Vol teams up a break, Collins and Edward Jones clinched the doubles point 8-6 against Juan Spir and Garrett Gordon.
"Doubles point is a critical part of college tennis," Winterbotham said. "We've looked at it and thought maybe we should do things differently. Now we'll evaluate whether we need to change these teams up again."
After the doubles break, the Vols got ahead early across most of the courts, taking first sets in five matches. Reese was ahead in a first-set tiebreaker on court 2 when the match was clinched. The remaining matches were suspended.
The Vols return to SEC action next weekend with a road trip to Mississippi State and Mississippi.
Tennessee 4, Georgia Tech 0
1. #13 Mikelis Libietis, UT, def. #52 Juan Spir, GT, 6-1, 6-1
2. #33 Hunter Reese, UT, vs. Juan Melian, GT, 6-6 unf.
3. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, vs. Eduardo Segura, GT, 6-3, 3-3 unf.
4. Edward Jones, UT, vs. Nathan Rakitt, GT, 6-3, 2-4 unf.
5. John Collins, UT, def. Anish Sharma, GT, 6-1, 6-1
6. Taylor Patrick, UT, def. Colin Edwards, GT, 6-4, 6-1
1. Reese/Libietis, UT, vs. Rakitt/Melian, GT, 6-5 unf.
2. #34 Collins/Jones, UT, def. Spir/Gordon, GT, 8-6
3. Chaplin/Fickey, UT, def. Edwards/Segura, GT, 8-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (1,6,5).