BATON ROUGE, La. — With chants of “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” from his teammates down the stretch, senior Jack Schipanski delivered Tennessee’s 4-3 victory over LSU on Saturday.
Schipanski clinched the Vols’ three-match winning streak to end the regular season, taking control of court 5 in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Julian Saborio in the deciding match.
“What a total team effort this whole weekend,” Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. “Different guys stepped up. I could not be more proud of Jack. He’s just overcoming adversity and played a huge clinching match today, but the truth is, the whole team gave great effort. We won in spots we needed to today. The coaches are so proud of how hard this team continues to fight.”
The Vols (13-14, 3-9 SEC) won the doubles point for the second time in SEC play and picked up straight-set victories from the steady heart of the lineup.
Sophomore Srdjan Jakovljevic defeated Gabor Csonka 6-3, 6-3 on court 3 and Jones beat Nikola Samardzic 6-2, 6-4 on court 4 to push the Vols ahead 3-1.
LSU (9-16, 3-9) climbed back to tie the match 3-3, leaving Schipanski and Saborio to decide the team result. By that time, Schipanski was already ahead 4-1 and returning in the third set.
Schipanski, one of three Australians on the team, was greeted with Aussie cheers from his teammates lined up on the side of the court. The senior was no stranger to the situation; it was his third career 3-all decider and he had been on both sides of the result.
“Today, the support of the guys, the Australian chants, made it fun,” Schipanski said. “They were loud, and they drowned out the LSU crowd. It gave me a lot of energy.”
Schipanski stayed ahead in his service games late in the set, going up 5-2. Saborio missed a backhand slice long on match point as senior Vol won his first SEC singles match of the season.
Tennessee closes the weekend with three victories, having defeated Alabama 4-2 and Charlotte 4-3 on Thursday at home. The Vols host the SEC Championships for the third time in program history April 26-30 at Barksdale Stadium.
“Getting two matches in a row Thursday was important for us,” Schipanski said. “It was a long trip to get here, but you’re with the team the whole way and can get the right mindset. Going into the SEC tournament, we’re in a great spot. We’ve been close with a lot of teams but not quite there. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd at home.”
Tennessee 4, LSU 3
1. #41 Jordan Daigle (LSU) def. #35 Timo Stodder (UT) 6-4, 6-2
2. #71 Justin Butsch (LSU) def. Luis Valero (UT) 6-4, 6-2
3. Srdjan Jakovljevic (UT) def. Gabor Csonka (LSU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Scott Jones (UT) def. Nikola Samardzic (LSU) 6-2, 6-4
5. Jack Schipanski (UT) def. Julian Saborio (LSU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Rafael Wagner (LSU) def. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) 6-2, 7-6(5)
1. #71 Valero/Stodder (UT) def. Daigle/Butsch (LSU) 6-4
2. Schipanski/Jones (UT) def. Csonka/Saborio (LSU) 6-4
3. Moreno/Samuelsson (LSU) def. Jakovljevic/Bhat (UT) 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,2,3,4,6,5)