March 13, 2011
NASHVILLE - The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers have not yet found their stride in terms of performance this year, but they have continually discovered new ways to win.
With a short-handed lineup again, the Vols took the doubles point and needed two three-set wins to defeat Vanderbilt 4-3 on the road Sunday to remain unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play.
After sophomore Tennys Sandgren won his 11th consecutive match and freshman Jarryd Chaplin won in three sets in reserve duty, senior Matteo Fago delivered once again for the Vols (14-1, 4-0 SEC). He clinched the match at 4-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Charlie Jones while playing at the No. 3 position for the fourth time this season.
"There's a lot more to come from us, but that's the great thing from my point of view," Tennessee coach Sam Winterbotham said. "We're going to be pretty scary once everyone starts firing on all cylinders. Right now, different guys are stepping up."
The Vols were forced to use their sixth different lineup this season for the match against Vanderbilt, with Chaplin and sophomore Taylor Patrick seeing playing time again for Tennessee. Both delivered, with Chaplin winning his first match at the No. 5 position and Patrick pushing his opponent to three sets and staying on court to help the Vols retain momentum.
With all the lineup changes the Vols have experienced this season and the fact they still managed to collect a victory on Sunday, Winterbotham believes that bodes well for the Vols down the road, perhaps in the near future.
"Something here in the next two weeks is going to click, and we're going to be better than we were last year," Winterbotham said. "Something's going to click. I feel like we're primed for that because we've scrapped our way through a bunch of adversity. We've scrapped our way through up and down performances. The effort is still there, the closeness is still there, the commitment is still there."
In doubles, Jones and Fago snapped their two-match losing skid by quickly beating Blake Bazarnick and Bryant Salcedo 8-2 on court 3. Sandgren and sophomore Rhyne Williams played at the No. 1 position for the first time and collected an 8-6 win against 49th-ranked Ryan Lipman and Adam Baker to clinch the point.
Once singles started, Sandgren led the way for the Vols. Vanderbilt tied the match 1-1 with sophomore Edward Jones losing 6-2, 6-1 to Salcedo on court 4. But just a few minutes later, Sandgren put the Vols ahead for good with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Baker while playing at the No. 2 position for the first time in his career.
Chaplin, who won a key match against Duke at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, played an important role again Sunday. He broke Bazarnik at 6-5 and served out the match for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 victory to put the Vols ahead 3-2.
"Jarryd won a great match and serves it out just as well as I've seen anyone serve it out in a match," Winterbotham said. "To be able to handle that pressure the way he did, it was fantastic."
A few minutes later, Fago secured the match on court 3 for the Vols. It was his 30th-career win in SEC dual match play.
After the match was clinched, Vanderbilt made the score 4-3 when Lipman defeated Williams 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-5.
The Vols are traveling again for a third and final leg of their current road trip. They face Baylor on Tuesday in Waco, Texas.
1. #36 Ryan Lipman (VU) def. #3 Rhyne Williams (UT) 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-5
2. #35 Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Adam Baker (VU) 6-3, 7-5
3. #41 Matteo Fago (UT) def. Charlie Jones (VU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
4. Bryant Salcedo (VU) def. Edward Jones (UT) 6-2, 6-1
5. Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. Blake Bazarnik (VU) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
6. Alex Zotov (VU) def. Taylor Patrick (UT) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
1. #55 Williams/Sandgren (UT) def. #49 Lipman/Baker (VU), 8-6
2. Jones/Zotov (VU) def. Smith/Chaplin (UT), 8-6
3. #52 Jones/Fago (UT) def. Bazarnik/Salcedo (VU), 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles: 4,2,5,6,3,1