Jan. 22, 2010
The No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers begin the dual match season Saturday by hosting East Tennessee State and Chattanooga at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Vols are kicking off the schedule with two matches on opening day. The match against ETSU begins at 10:30 a.m., and the Chattanooga match is set for 6 p.m.
The Vols have four players in singles and three doubles teams in January's ITA rankings. Leading the team once again is two-time All-America and All-SEC performer John-Patrick Smith. He is currently ranked No. 2 in singles after a 16-3 fall. In addition, he's ranked twice in the top 10 in doubles: No. 4 with junior Boris Conkic and No. 7 with senior Davey Sandgren.
No player on the Vols squad is entering the weekend with more momentum than Conkic, the newly crowned SEC Indoors champion. Conkic, ranked No. 68, won six matches over four days - including four against Georgia opponents - to walk away with the title Monday in Norcross, Ga. He is currently 12-4.
Freshman Rhyne Williams is no stranger to playing in his hometown, but Saturday marks his first match in Tennessee uniform. After a 13-3 fall, he is ranked No. 22 in singles. Senior Matt Brewer, also from Knoxville, earned his first career ranking at No. 52.
Junior Matteo Fago won four consecutive matches last week to win the backdraw of the National Collegiate Tennis Classic. He improved his season record to 13-5.
The Vols lead the all-time series 22-0 against ETSU and 11-1 against Chattanooga. ETSU, currently ranked 62nd in the ITA poll, had No. 20 Louisville against the ropes before losing 4-3 in its season opener Thursday. Chattanooga was swept by Vanderbilt 7-0 in its first match of the year.
Live scoring and an in-match blog will be available at UTSports.com.