April 4, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Under rainy skies and eventually inside Goodfriend Tennis Center, the 20th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers put together a 4-1 victory over LSU on Friday.
The Vols (14-9, 3-6 SEC) featured a new lineup to start the day and grabbed the doubles point against LSU (11-11, 2-8) in the swirling winds at Barksdale Stadium.
Tennessee followed with a strong performance to start singles, taking four of six first sets. The match moved indoors halfway through singles because of rain and the Vols kept up the momentum. Hunter Reese cruised ahead at the top of the lineup, followed by straight-set wins by Jarryd Chaplin on court 4 and Mikelis Libietis on court 2.
Associate head coach Chris Woodruff said the mantra of the team through the last three matches of the SEC regular season and the postseason to follow is "going forward."
"In sports, you're not always going to be your best,' Woodruff said. "In actuality, no one's going to remember January, February and March. It's nice to be going then, but you want to be playing your best tennis this time of year.
"I think we have the right mindset. We had some good productivity today from people who haven't been playing their best. For me, it was encouraging to see."
The Vols host No. 57 Arkansas in the home regular-season finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. Chaplin and Colton Norton, the team's two seniors, will be honored
In doubles, the Vols sent a new lineup out to the courts. Libietis and Reese, ranked No. 1 in the country, stayed together on court 1. Chaplin and Andrew Dromsky played together for the first time at No. 2, and Bartosz Sawicki and Markus Kerner were also a brand-new pairing at No. 3.
Chaplin and Dromsky held serve fairly easily during most of the match and broke Chris Simpson and John Michael Busch in the final game to win 8-6. Libietis and Reese collected their 18th-consecutive SEC doubles victory at the top of the lineup a few minutes later, beatingTam Trinh and Eric Perez 8-5 to deliver the doubles point.
"During doubles, I did see some camaraderie out there and some trust," Woodruff said. "It was just kind of a shot in the arm, particularly for the guys who haven't played together. We worked some this week trying to find combinations. In certain aspects, we found that today."
There was a brief timeout for rain near the end of doubles play before resuming for the final games, but the courts became unplayable when the rain returned in ernest halfway through singles.
Reese found the edge once he needed once play moved inside Goodfriend Tennis Center, reeling off nine games in a row to pull away from 77th-ranked Chris Simpson 6-4, 6-0. The win was Reese's team-leading 25th of the season.
From there, three Vols were up a set and a break of serve on courts 2, 4 and 6. LSU posted its only point when Andrew Korinek beat Brandon Fickey 6-3, 6-1.
Chaplin beat Tam Trinh 6-2, 6-2 on court 4 to push the Vols' lead to 3-1. A few moments later, Libietis followed up with a victory of his own on court 1. He capitalized on his seventh match point of the final game, breaking Justin Butsch's serve to win 6-2, 6-3 on court 2 to clinch the 4-1 victory.
In the remaining matches that were suspended, Sawicki was a few points away from his first SEC victory, leading Eric Perez 6-4, 5-3. Dromsky was locked in the third set against Harrison Kennedy 4-6, 6-3, 1-1.
"In this league, to get a win is good," Woodruff said. "Going into Sunday, our morale, our energy and our spirit and our mindset needs to be excited. We need to accelerate down the finish with excitement. If we can do that down the stretch, I think the sky's the limit.
"I'm not saying we're going to have this unbelievable push and win this or win that. But I think if we can get everyone accelerating down the stretch, having fun, going for their shots, I think we'll be in a good place."
Tennessee 4, LSU 1
1. #20 Hunter Reese (UT) def. #77 Chris Simpson (LSU) 6-4, 6-0
2. #38 Mikelis Libietis (UT) def. Justin Butsch (LSU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Andrew Korinek (LSU) def. Brandon Fickey (UT) 6-3, 6-1
4. Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. Tam Trinh (LSU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Andrew Dromsky (UT) vs. Harrison Kennedy (LSU) 4-6, 6-3, 1-1, unfinished
6. Bartosz Sawicki (UT) vs. Eric Perez (LSU) 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
1. #1 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) def. #70 Tam Trinh/Eric Perez (LSU) 8-5
2. Jarryd Chaplin/Andrew Dromsky (UT) def. Chris Simpson/John Michael Busch (LSU) 8-6
3. Markus Kerner/Bartosz Sawicki (UT) vs. Andrew Korinek/Harrison Kennedy (LSU) 4-7, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,3,4,2)