"It's what we've been waiting for, to get out and play some matches," said head coach Sam Winterbotham, now in his fifth year at Tennessee. "We've been training hard since we got here.
"They had a really good day today, and I was impressed with their energy playing back-to-back doubles. They had more energy in the second. You could tell the competitive spirit was out there. It's fun to start the season.
The Vols' lineup featured a return of the old and the addition of one new face: senior Boris Conkic and freshman January addition Jarryd Chaplin. Both contributed to a 4-0 performance by Tennessee in the first two positions.
Conkic, who took the fall semester off of school, has returned to the courts for Tennessee for his final season. The three-time All-SEC performer was ranked fourth nationally in doubles last season with senior John-Patrick Smith and sophomore Rhyne Williams, and he won matches with both teammates Thursday.
Smith and Conkic rallied to defeat Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk 8-6 in No. 1 doubles. In the second round of matches, Conkic and Williams teamed up to beat the same Louisville pair 8-2.
"We missed Boris during the fall, and it's great to have him back," Winterbotham said.
Chaplin joined the Vols this week from Sydney, Australia, and started his college career with two wins. The first was a 8-5 victory over Alejandro Calligari and Robert Hall with Williams on court 2. Chaplin and fellow Australian Smith earned an 8-4 win against Calligari and Hall.
"It's also really great to see Jarryd to get in and get two wins under his belt," Winterbotham said. "To get that first college win, singles or doubles, to see the nerves. The racket is not accelerating as it normally does. It was awesome it was great to see."
The Vols play Louisville again in singles competition Saturday, where Williams will put his No. 1 ranking to the test for the first time. The event does not count as team dual matches, but all matches count toward individual record and ranking.
Rainbow Warrior Challenge
Tennessee vs. Louisville
Round 1 Doubles
1. John-Patrick Smith/Boris Conkic, UT, def. Austen Childs/Viktor Maksimcuk, UL, 8-6
2. Jarryd Chaplin/Rhyne Williams, UT, def. Alejandro Calligari/Robert Hall, UL, 8-5
3. Edward Jones/Tennys Sandgren, UT, def. Simon Childs/Adam Donaldson, UL, 8-4
4. Matteo Fago/Bryan Swartz, UT, def. Arren Carter/Sumit-Prakash Gupta, UL, 8-4
Round 2 Doubles
1. Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams, UT, def. Austen Childs/Viktor Maksimcuk, UL, 8-2
2. Jarryd Chaplin/John-Patrick Smith, UT, def. Alejandro Calligari/Robert Hall, UL, 8-4
3. Matteo Fago/Tennys Sandgren, UT, def. Simon Childs/Sumit-Prakash Gupta, UL, 9-8
4. Arren Carter/Adam Donaldson, UL, def. Edward Jones/Bryan Swartz, 8-5