April 6, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- On a southern sun-drenched Sunday afternoon, Tennessee tennis saluted its pair of seniors by sweeping an SEC foe for the second time this season.
After defeating LSU on Friday, the No. 20 Vols secured a sweep of the two SEC schools by shutting out the No. 59 Razorbacks of Arkansas, 4-0, at Barksdale Stadium in the regular season home finale.
"We had productivity from places where we haven't been having productivity, so I was encouraged," said Associate Head Coach Chris Woodruff. "The mantra of the team is going forward. Today, if that's what we're measuring, then we were successful. I can see the unity needed to have success is definitely present."
Tennessee (15-9, 4-6 SEC) jumped out to a 1-0 lead after securing the first two doubles matches. On court two, the new-formed pairing of senior Jarryd Chaplin and Andrew Dromsky gained momentum midway through the set, increasing the lead to four before pulling away with an 8-4 victory over No. 71 Hall Fess and Pete Thomason.
Meanwhile, the No. 1 pair of Hunter Reese and Mikelis Libietis received a challenge from No. 37 Mike Nott and Manfred Jeske. After holding back and forth, the Vols's duo padded their lead late to pull out the 8-5 victory, as well as the doubles point.
Arkansas (12-15, 2-9 SEC) looked ready to claim the match on court three, with Jacob Herndon and Jovan Parlic jumping out to a 5-0 lead on senior Colton Norton and Bartosz Sawicki. The UT pair played in just their second doubles match together--and their first SEC match--and held off the Razorback attack by winning three straight games, holding off UA until the other two courts finished.
After honoring the careers of Norton and Chaplin, the Vols came out of the locker room and took five of the six first sets. In a fitting ending to his regular season home career, Chaplin won the first singles match to put UT up 2-0. The Australian swept Parlic 6-2, 6-1, and finished a perfect 4-0 on the weekend.
"I didn't sleep much last night--I couldn't stop thinking about it," said Chaplin. "When you reach this time and it's all over, it's pretty moving. I was really pleased and surprised with the way that I could bring some normalcy to my tennis game amidst all the emotions.
"My best memories in tennis have been at the University of Tennessee, so it's obviously sad in that regard."
The Vols took a 3-0 lead, thanks to a victory on court three from Brandon Fickey. The Knoxville native won his match over Fess, 6-4, 6-4, snapping a three-match losing streak since a win against Thiago Pinheiro at South Carolina. Fickey picked up his second SEC win of the season, as well as the 50th of his career.
"Every match is a new match, so I try to put the past behind me," said Fickey. "Even if I haven't been winning lately, I still feel like the work's there and now I just got to translate it onto the court, which I did today."
Soon after, No. 38 Mikelis Libietis sealed the match victory for UT and its seniors, sweeping Jeske 6-3, 6-3, and securing an undefeated weekend as well. The Vols led or were tied on the other three courts before Libietis finished the day for the Vols.
Tennessee heads on the road for the final time during the regular season. The Vols will visit the Heart of Dixie on Friday and Sunday, beginning with a trip to the Plains to take on Auburn before heading to Tuscaloosa to wrap up the season at Alabama.
"Everyone's taken this weight off their shoulders and played freely," said Chaplin. "It's been a fun energy to play these last two matches, so that's a little bit of a return to earlier in the season which is promising."
"We have found a sense of connectivity for LSU and Arkansas and we'll try to carry that same mindset into Auburn and Alabama," said Woodruff. "The best thing we can do now is go forward."
#20 Tennessee 4, #59 Arkansas 0
1. #20 Hunter Reese (UT) vs. Mike Nott (ARK) 6-3, 4-4, unfinished
2. #38 Mikelis Libietis (UT) def. Manfred Jeske (ARK) 6-3, 6-3
3. Brandon Fickey (UT) def. Hall Fess (ARK) 6-4, 6-4
4. Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. Jovan Parlic (ARK) 6-2, 6-1
5. Andrew Dromsky (UT) vs. Johan den Toom (ARK) 6-7 (2-7), 5-4, unfinished
6. Bartosz Sawicki (UT) vs. Santiago Munoz (ARK) 6-4, 5-6, unfinished
1. #1 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) def. #37 Manfred Jeske/Mike Nott (ARK) 8-5
2. Jarryd Chaplin/Andrew Dromsky (UT) def. #71 Hall Fess/Pete Thomason (ARK) 8-4
3. Colton Norton/Bartosz Sawicki (UT) vs. Jacob Herndon/Jovan Parlic (ARK) 3-7, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (4,3,2)