Feb. 27, 2010
The Tennessee Volunteers have their first chance to defend their No. 2 ranking Sunday afternoon, taking on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Vols (10-1) moved from fourth to second in the ITA rankings after reaching the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship on Feb. 15. Wake Forest did not make the ITA Indoors field and dropped from 16th to 20th in the Feb. 23 rankings.
Sunday's match begins at noon with a live blog of the action available at UTSports.com.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Wake Forest 8-1, but the two schools have not faced since the 2002 NCAA Regionals. The Vols swept that meeting 4-0 on their way to the national semifinals.
The probable No. 1 doubles will feature a rematch from the fall in which the Vols top pairing came out the winner. Senior Davey Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith, ranked third nationally, defeated No. 12 Steve Forman and Iain Atkinson in the semifinals of the UVa Ranked Plus One Invitational. Sandgren and Smith are 21-3 together this season, including 3-0 against ranked opponents.
At No. 2 doubles, junior Boris Conkic and freshman Rhyne Williams rose six positions to sixth in last week's national rankings, thanks to a 17-2 record and an 8-match winning streak. Junior Matteo Fago and freshman Tennys Sandgren are off to a 5-1 start this spring at debuted in the rankings at No. 43.
Smith, now in his second year of occupying the Vols' top singles position, has remained second nationally all season with a 24-5 record. He has 93 career wins, good for eighth of the Vols' singles list. Of those victories, 55 have come against ranked opponents.
He will likely face his 18th ranked opponent of the season. Wake Forest freshman Tripper Carleton, who joined the team in January, has already risen to No. 73 in the rankings.
The Vols are still undefeated at the No. 2 position, a spot primarily held by Conkic, although Williams, Tennys Sandgren and freshman Edward Jones have also picked up victories there. Conkic is riding a 12-match winning streak and has not dropped a match in the spring season.
Williams has played all but one match at the No. 3 position and has an 8-match winning streak on the line. He has the second-best record on the team at 22-4. Tennys Sandgren has played a majority of matches at the No. 4 position with an 8-3 record since joining the Vols for the spring season.
Senior Matt Brewer is the fourth Vol in the national rankings, currently No. 86 with a 13-8 record.
Fago enters Sunday with a chance to become the third Volunteer to reach the 20-win milestone and set a new personal best for season wins in the process. He finished with 19 wins in both his freshman and sophomore years.
Whattabout the Demon Deacons?
Wake Forest (6-1) earned their sixth win of the season by defeating No. 34 Michigan on Saturday afternoon. The Demon Deacon's only loss came against Kentucky in the second round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Lexington, Ky.
UT Singles Records
1. #2 John-Patrick Smith (24-5)
2. #21 Boris Conkic (18-4)
3. #30 Rhyne Williams (22-4)
4. Tennys Sandgren (8-3)
5. #86 Matt Brewer (13-8)
6. Matteo Fago (19-7)
7. Davey Sandgren (12-8)
8. Edward Jones (14-10)
UT Doubles Records
1. #3 Davey Sandgren/Smith (21-3)
2. #6 Conkic/Williams (17-2)
3. #43 Fago/T. Sandgren (5-1)