March 5, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers started off Southeastern Conference play Friday with their seventh shutout of the season, defeating Auburn 7-0 at Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The Vols (12-1, 1-0 SEC), with three freshman picking earning wins in the lineup, swept an SEC opponent in conference play for the first time since doing so against Kentucky in 2008. Tennessee defeated South Carolina 4-0 earlier this year.
"Any win in the SEC is a quality win, especially going on the road," associate head coach Chris Woodruff said. "For some of these guys, it's their first conference match, and the stakes are pretty high. I was happy to see them on all six courts playing and competing well."
Like the first 12 matches of the season, the Vols again won the doubles point. They had struggled to take early leads in singles during Sunday's 4-3 comeback win against Wake Forest, but that was not an issue Friday. The Vols won first sets on all six courts against Auburn (3-5, 0-1).
"To see that, it's a testament to our team," Woodruff said. "They have a goal in mind: they want to win this league. It's going to take all 13 of our players to make that happen."
The fast start made for a quick finish for the Vols. The team won in straight sets on five courts.
Junior Boris Conkic wrapped up his match first, defeating Tim Hewitt 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 position. Freshman Tennys Sandgren followed a few minutes later on court four with a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Lucas Lopasso to snap a two-match losing streak.
Freshman Rhyne Williams gave the Vols a 4-0 lead when he defeated No. 89 Alex Stamchev on court three. Williams improved to 23-5, with eight of those wins against ranked opponents.
Juniors John-Patrick Smith and Matteo Fago and senior Matt Brewer picked up victories at the Nos. 1, 6 and 5 positions respectively. Brewer preserved the shutout and ended the match by winning a 10-point tiebreaker 10-8 against Andreas Mies.
Smith and senior Davey Sandgren were dealt their first loss of the spring season Friday, snapping their 12-match losing streak by falling 8-5 to seventh-ranked Puetz and Stamchev. Fago and freshman Edward Jones, playing together for just the second time this season, evened up doubles with an 8-6 win over Tim Hewitt and Lucas Lopasso.
Conkic and Williams, ranked fifth nationally, posted their 10th consecutive win to clinch the doubles point for Tennessee. They improved their record to 19-2 this season.
The Vols continue their SEC opening weekend Sunday against Alabama at 2 p.m. Eastern. A live, interactive blog of the action will be rolling on UTSports.com, beginning approximately 15 minutes before the start of the match.
1. #4 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #26 Tim Puetz (AU), 6-3, 6-4
2. #32 Boris Conkic (UT) def. Tim Hewitt (AU), 6-1, 6-2
3. #51 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. #89 Alex Stamchev (AU), 6-4, 6-2
4. Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Lucas Lopasso (AU), 6-3, 6-2
5. #88 Matt Brewer (UT) def. Andreas Mies (AU), 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8)
6. Matteo Fago (UT) def. Oliver Strecker (AU), 6-4, 6-2
1. #7 Puetz/Stamchev (AU) def. #2 D. Sandgren/Smith (UT), 8-5
2. #5 Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Alexander Sajonz/Andreas Mies (AU) 8-4
3. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones (UT) def. Tim Hewitt/Lucas Lopasso (AU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,4,3,6,1,5)