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Vols Ranked Sixth to Start Tennis Season

Jan. 2, 2014


ITA NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS | SINGLES | DOUBLES

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its first national team rankings Thursday, and the Volunteers are starting the 2014 season where they ended 2013 at No. 6.

The Tennessee Vols are returning their top four starters from a squad that reached the NCAA team quarterfinals and won 26 matches last season.

New individual rankings were also posted, and junior Hunter Reese led the way in singles. He cracked the top-20 for the first time at No. 16 after a 12-6 fall season with two victories agains top-10 opponents.

In doubles, Reese and Mikelis Libietis retained their hold on the No. 1 ranking in the nation. They were 11-2 during the fall season, capturing the doubles title at the ITA All-American Championships, their first national title. They are entering their third season at the No. 1 position in the Tennessee doubles lineup.

Senior Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey debuted in the doubles rankings as well, checking in at No. 28. The pair won the USTA Clay Court Invitational in Orlando and have a 5-0 record.

Libietis, who fought illness and injury at times, fell to No. 34 in the singles rankings with a 7-3 record. He also represented Latvia in a Davis Cup tie, helping his home nation to a win over Finland.

Head coach Sam Winterbotham and associate head coach Chris Woodruff are now in their eighth season coaching together at UT. They earned ITA national coach and assistant coach of the year honors last season and have led the Vols to five top-10 finishes. Tennessee has reached the NCAA quarterfinals or better three of the last four years, including the team finals in 2010.

Last season, the Vols finished 26-9 overall and 8-4 in the SEC. Libietis was voted the ITA National Player to Watch and the SEC Player of the Year as he and Reese collected All-America honors for the first time. Libietis, Reese and Chaplin were named All-SEC.

Tennessee's season opens Jan. 18 at home against Tennessee Tech at 10 a.m. and Eastern Kentucky at 2 p.m. Admission is free to all regular-season matches at Goodfriend Tennis Center (indoors) and Barksdale Stadium (outdoors).

 

 

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