Feb. 26, 2011
The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers host Wake Forest for their first outdoor match of the season Sunday at Barksdale Stadium.
The match starts at 1 p.m., and in the event of inclement weather, the match will be moved inside Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Those attending the match are asked to park in nearby lot N-15, which can be accessed from Terrace Avenue off Volunteer Boulevard. Parking in any other lot could result in a ticket.
A live interactive blog of the match will be available on UTSports.com.
The Vols (9-1) are coming off their second consecutive trip to the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle. Working through the 16-team tournament largely without 46th-ranked sophomore Tennys Sandgren, who was out with an illness until the finals, the Vols defeated Southeastern Conference rival Georgia, followed by UCLA and Duke to reach the title match.
Tennessee lost 4-0 to Virginia in the finals Monday after dropping an incredibly close doubles point for the first time in 22 matches.
Wake Forest (3-3), ranked 35th, defeated LSU 4-3 at home on Sunday.
Vols Rise to Second
Tennessee moved up from third to second in the national team rankings, the ITA office released Tuesday. The Vols replaced Southern California at the No. 2 spot after the Trojans were upset by Duke in the first round of the tournament.
Virginia, now the four-time defending National Indoors champion, is still ranked No. 1. Ohio State reached the semifinals and is ranked No. 3.
Tuesday marked the final time the ITA rankings will be conducted using a polling method. Starting next week, the rankings will be determined by a computer formula in which teams are ranked according to their "best" wins against ranked teams and are penalized by any losses.
On the individual scale, the Vols have five players nationally ranked in singles: sophomore Rhyne Williams at No. 1, senior John-Patrick Smith at No. 17, Sandgren at No. 46, senior Matteo Fago at No. 68 and senior Boris Conkic at No. 118. New individual rankings will be released Tuesday.
Conkic and Smith were named to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships All-Tournament Team for their unbeaten performance at the top of Tennessee's doubles lineup, the national college tennis organization announced Friday.
Conkic and Smith were selected as the tournament's best No. 1 doubles team after going 3-0 in the four-day national event and extending their winning streak to eight matches as a pairing. Both players were named to the all-tournament team in doubles last season as well, Smith with Davey Sandgren and Conkic with Rhyne Williams.
Scouting Wake Forest
Nearly the entire Wake Forest squad has been hampered to some extent by a wave of illness that has swept through the roster the first month of the season. The Demon Deacons started the season ranked 22nd nationally and fell to 37th after losses on the road to Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State.
Wake Forest does not have a team currently ranked in doubles, but they do have two ranked singles players: Jonathan Wolff at No. 67 and Tripper Carlton at No. 123. Carleton has played the last two matches at the top of the Demon Deacon lineup.
When Last They Met
Following the National Indoors last year, the Vols rallied from the brink of an upset to beat Wake Forest 4-3 in Winston-Salem, N.C. After winning the doubles point, Tennessee fell behind 3-1 via three straight-set losses in the middle of the lineup. Smith and Matt Brewer came away with three-set victories on courts 1 and 5, and Fago sewed up a 6-2, 6-2 win against Danny Kreyman on court 6 to seal the comeback.
It was one of only four times during the whole 2010 season that opponents picked up three or more team points against the Vols.
During the National Indoors, Conkic became the fourth player in UT history to record 100 career wins in both singles and doubles. He enters Sunday's match with a 100-29 record in singles and a 100-21 doubles record. His .775 singles winning percentage ranks fifth all-time.
After going 2-0 at No. 4 singles and 3-0 at the top of the doubles lineup with Smith, Conkic earned SEC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
11 & Counting
Conkic has an 11-match winning streak on the line against Wake Forest. He has strung together a personal-best 12-match winning streaks twice in his career, once as a sophomore and again as a junior. He has a 14-1 record this spring, tops on the team.
Sandgren missed most of the National Indoors because of illness, but he is back on the courts with a six-match winning streak. He and Conkic are the only Vols still unbeaten in dual matches. Sandgren is 6-0 and Conkic is 8-0.
Smith Approaches History
Maybe it is the same old story, but Smith is now closing in on another milestone: Tennessee's all-time career doubles wins record. Smith has 128 victories, two wins away from tying Byron Talbot (1985-88) for the lead. Talbot won 131 doubles matches, a record 102 of those wins coming with Shelby Cannon.
Smith, on the other hand, has experienced success with numerous teammates in doubles. He won 80 matches with Davey Sandgren, and the two spent a considerable amount of time ranked No. 1 nationally while appearing in two finals at the NCAA Doubles Championships. Smith and Conkic were ITA All-American Championship winners in 2009 and are now ranked eighth.
As a freshman, Smith was ranked as high as fourth with Kaden Hensel.
Chalk It Up As Experience
Freshman Jarryd Chaplin made his dual match debut last week at the National Indoors in place of Tennys Sandgren, picking up his first singles and doubles victories in team competition. Chaplin, a January addition from Sydney, Australia, delivered a key three-set win against Duke's Luke Marchese at No. 6 singles in the Vols' 4-2 semifinal victory.
Chaplin also teamed up with Williams in doubles at the No. 2 position for three days during the tournament, going 2-1.
Countdown From 8
Fago has 92 career singles wins, putting him just eight wins away from becoming the third active Vol to record 100 career singles victories. Smith has 136 wins (fourth all-time) and as mentioned, Conkic has 100 (eighth all-time). The senior from Ceprano, Italy, has a 20-6 record this season.
Good to Be Home
The Vols have won their last 27 matches in Knoxville, dating to a non-conference match against Kentucky on Feb. 21, 2010. Since seniors Conkic, Fago and Smith joined the program, the Vols are 47-2 in home dual matches. Smith has won 26 consecutive matches in Knoxville, the longest active streak on the team.
Tennessee played six outdoor matches last season, winning all of them and getting shutouts in three of those contests.