April 13, 2002
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- The No. 8-ranked Tennessee Tennis team put on a show for the 300+ orange-clad attendees present for senior day Saturday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Vols did what no other SEC team has done in two years, when they upended top-ranked Georgia 4-3, to put a cap on a startling finish to their SEC regular season. The Vols also ended a 17-match win streak overall and 25-match streak in SEC play for the Bulldogs.
"This is great for us, to defeat the No. 1 team in the nation, who defeated us in last year's NCAA final, at home, on senior day is just amazing, you couldn't ask for anything better," UT head coach Michael Fancutt said. "Our goal all season has been to win the SEC and NCAA tournaments and this makes us know that we can do it. I definitely believe we are peaking at the right time."
Coach Fancutt has spoken all week about the importance of winning the doubles point, particularly against a team of Georgia's caliber. His insight would prove correct today, as the Vols (15-5, 8-3 SEC) grabbed the crucial point with wins in the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches. All three matches were tightly contested, but the Vols seemed to be able to find the answers. The Tennessee tandem of senior Andy Crews and freshman Mark Dietrich began the push for the Vols, when they were off the court first, with an 8-6 victory over Nicolas Boeker and Lesley Joseph in the No. 3 match.The Vols then clinched the all important 1-0 lead and caused an eruption in the enthusiastic crowd, when the undefeated senior duo of Peter Handoyo and Adam Carey defeated Georgia's 33rd-ranked pair of Brandon Wagner and Adam Seri 8-6 at No. 2. Georgia (22-2, 10-1 SEC) did avoid the sweep however, when their No. 18-ranked pair of Matias Boeker and Bo Hodge won the No. 1 match over Tennessee's 20th-ranked duo of Mario Toledo and Simon Rea 9-8.
"The doubles were crucial today, and us getting off the court fast with a win at No. 3 was a great way to start," Crews said. "I wanted to go out there and leave it all on the court and have no regrets. It paid off, we applied the pressure to them we had wanted."
The Vols were not ready to pat themselves on the back after grabbing the lead in the doubles segment. You did not have to watch the singles segment for too long to see that the Vols were the hunters on this day. The Big Orange raced out to first-set victories in four of the six matches and forced another match into a third set. The Vols' Peter Handoyo was the first to score in the singles segment, capping off a 9-2 record in SEC singles play, with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over No. 51 Lesley Joseph. Handoyo had also defeated Joseph in straight sets in January, on his way to an SEC singles title. Georgia would come right back however, when No. 5-ranked Matias Boeker defeated Tennessee's No. 20 Mario Toledo in the No. 1 match. The loss was only Toledo's third in his last 24 matches. At No. 5, Tennessee's Simon Rea forced the match to a third set after dropping the first frame, where he actually had the opportunity of serving for the match at 5-4, before falling to Georgia senior Adam Seri 7-5. With the score knotted at two, Tennessee senior Adam Carey gave the Vols the lift they needed, something he has done on several occasions during his fabulous Vol career. Carey captured his 105th victory as a Vol and handed Tennessee back the lead in his three set win over No. 69-ranked Bo Hodge in the No. 3 match.
The match came down to
the final two courts, No. 4 and No. 6. The Vols looked to have both matches
under control as both Wade Orr and Mark Dietrich were up a break in their final
sets. It would be Orr, who would put the finishing touches on the Vols win and
capture his third clinching point of the season, with a win over Nicolas Boeker
6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the No. 6 match. Mark Dietrich, like Rea, had the opportunity
to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but the freshman with the big
serve, could not put away Georgia's No. 21-ranked Brandon Wagner. Wagner would
go on to prevail, winning the match in a third-set tiebreak in what was too
little, too late for the Bulldogs.
"This shows us that we can beat anyone in the nation," Carey said. "This is definitely one of the best matches I have been involved with since I have been here. It just can't get any better than beating the No. 1 team in the nation on senior day."
The Vols will be back in
action Tuesday, as they take on Murray State at the UT Varsity Tennis Center
at 1 p.m. Admission is free. The Vols will also be hosting the SEC Tournament
Thursday thru Sunday. Times and matchups will be announced Sunday, April 14.
|#8 Tennessee 4, #1 Georgia 3|
|#1 (5) Matias Boeker (UGA) def. (20) Mario Toledo (UT) 6-3, 7-5|
|#2 (9) Peter Handoyo (UT) def. (51) Lesley Joseph (UGA) 7-5, 6-1|
|#3 Adam Carey (UT) def. (69) Bo Hodge (UGA) 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-4|
|#4 (21) Brandon Wagner (UGA) def. (99) Mark Dietrich (UT) 6-7 (7), 7-5, 7-6(5)|
|#5 Adam Seri (UGA) def. Simon Rea (UT) 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 #6 Wade Orr (UT) def. Nicolas Boeker (UGA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4*|
|#1 (18) M. Boeker/Hodge (UGA) def. (20) Toledo/Rea (UT) 9-8(1)|
|#2 Handoyo/Carey (UT) def. (33) Wagner/Seri (UGA) 8-6|
|#3 Crews/Dietrich (UT) def. N. Boeker/Joseph (UGA) 8-6|