March 25, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Tennessee Volunteers lost the doubles point Sunday. But this time, the Vols found a way to win the match.
The Vols rallied across all six courts in singles to beat Arkansas 5-2 at Billingsley Tennis Center to win their first match of the year after losing the doubles point.
Freshman Hunter Reese and senior Bryan Swartz provided straight-set wins on courts 2 and 6. The four remaining matches went three sets before junior Edward Jones put the Vols ahead 3-1 and freshman Brandon Fickey clinched the match by beating Matt Walters 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
The Vols (11-9, 3-3 SEC) evened their Southeastern Conference record at 3-3 with home and away wins this weekend, having held on for a 4-3 victory against LSU in Knoxville on Friday. Arkansas is now 14-7 overall and 1-5 in the SEC.
"That was big for us," Reese said. "We had a couple matches that kind of slipped away that we kind of -- maybe should have -- won. We really could be 6-0 right now, but we're not, so it was a really good effort to get two wins in the SEC and give us a chance.
"Our goal is to get one of the top four seeds for the SEC Tournament, and if we win out, we can put ourselves in a position to do that."
Tennessee's afternoon got off to a rocky start with its freshman duo losing for the first time since early Febuary. With four perfect returns in Mikelis Libietis' last service game, Arkansas' Walters and Hall Fess snapped Libietis and Reese's 9-match winning streak with an 8-6 win on court 1.
Arkansas clinched the doubles point with Michael Nott and Manfred Jeske defeated Fickey and Swartz 8-6 on court 3.
The Vols had been 0-5 in matches after losing the doubles point, but the rally was on for the Vols to start singles. No player was faster in that comeback effort than Reese. The redshirt freshman won his first SEC match on court 2, beating Gregoire Lehmann 6-2, 6-2.
Swartz, who was in the singles lineup for the first time since early February, delivered a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jovan Parlic on court 6.
From there, every match was went three sets. Jones collected his ninth win in 10 matches, beating Mike Ward 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on court 5 to make it 3-1. H
On court 3, Fickey had his chances early in the match. He was up 6-2, 4-1 in the second set when Walters began his comeback. Walters, from across the state in Jonesboro, Ark., kept the home crowd on his side and rode his way out to a second set win.
Walters served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but Fickey rattled off the last three games to take the final set and clinch the match at 7-5.
"I got off to an early start and quieted him a little, but I let a few points slip in the second set that I should have won and it got away from me there," Fickey said It was just about trying to regroup in the third set because that was a match we needed to win. It was a whole team effort today after losing doubles."
After the match was clinched, Jarryd Chaplin won on court 4. He beat Jeske 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4.
Libietis had to retire at 6-6 in the third set against Nikolas Zogaj so the Vols could catch a flight back to Knoxville. Libietis had trailed 5-1 in the third set but rallied.
Tennessee 5, Arkansas 2
1. #120 Nikolas Zogaj (ARK) vs. #51 Mikelis Libietis (TENN) 6-3, 1-6, 6-6 ret.
2. Hunter Reese (TENN) def. Gregoire Lehmann (ARK) 6-2, 6-2
3. Brandon Fickey (TENN) def. Matt Walters (ARK) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
4. Jarryd Chaplin (TENN) def. Manfred Jeske (ARK) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4
5. Edward Jones (TENN) def. Mike Ward (ARK) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Bryan Swartz (TENN) def. Jovan Parlic (ARK) 6-3, 6-3
1. Hall Fess/Matt Walters (ARK) def. #7 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (TENN) 8-6
2. Jarryd Chaplin/Edward Jones (TENN) def. Gregoire Lehmann/Nikolas Zogaj (ARK) 8-1
3. Michael Nott/Manfred Jeske (ARK) def. Brandon Fickey/Bryan Swartz (TENN) 8-6