March 7, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After Friday's sweep of Auburn, the second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers enter Sunday's match against Alabama just three shutouts away from the school record.
The Vols (12-1, 1-0) have seven shutouts in their 12 victories so far in 2010. The UT record is 10, set in 1965. The Vols finished 15-4 and 7-1 in the SEC that season.
This year's squad has already matched the record for consecutive shutouts, posting five in a row to begin the season to tie the 1964 mark.
Whattabout the Crimson Tide?
No. 25 Alabama (6-6, 0-1) opened SEC play with a 4-2 home loss to Georgia. Earlier in the season, the Crimson Tide joined UT as one of the six conference schools in the 16-team field at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
Tennessee has won four consecutive matches against Alabama since 2007, and the Vols lead the all-time series 34-13. When the two schools last faced in Tuscaloosa in 2008, the Vols came away with a 5-1 victory.
The Vols won both meetings 4-2 last year, once to win the title at the Blue-Gray Classic and again a week later in Knoxville.
Alabama has one ranked player in singles: No. 38 Saketh Myneni. The team does not have a ranked doubles pairing.
Countdown from Five
After Friday's two-set win against No. 26 Tim Puetz, junior John-Patrick Smith now has 95 singles wins. To do the really simple math, that's just five wins away from the 100th in his career.
Only six Vols in history have cracked 100 singles wins. He is now eighth on the career wins list, two behind Earl Grainger (1982-84, 86). Smith, ranked fourth nationally, is now 26-5 this season and easily on pace to surpass his win total of 36 recorded during his sophomore season. He has been ranked in the ITA top 10 since March 17, 2009.
Still in Search of Win 100
Senior Davey Sandgren has a chance to log his 100th career doubles win Sunday. Of his 99 wins, 61 have come with Smith. The UT duo rose to second in the ITA national rankings earlier this week.
Only two Vols have reached 100 career doubles wins, and their names are well known: Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon, who were doubles partners for the better part of their four-year careers at UT from 1985-88. Talbot leads the category with 131 wins, and Cannon has 128.
Smith is now far behind Sandgren; he currently has 91 doubles victories.
The Winning Continues
Conkic and freshman Rhyne Williams improved their doubles winning streak to 10 matches Friday with an 8-4 victory at No. 2 doubles. They entered the top five ITA rankings early this week, coming in at No. 5 with a 19-2 record this season.
Smith and Sandgren still lead the Vols in doubles with 22 victories this year.
An Increasingly Less Exclusive Club
A win on Sunday would be the 20th of the season for Conkic, who has started out the spring with a 13-1 record. He won 6-1, 6-2 against Tim Hewitt on Friday to improve to 19-5.
Three Vols already have three Vols with 20 wins: Smith (26), Williams (23) and junior Matteo Fago (20).
This season could be Conkic's first 30-win year. He finished with 29 as a sophomore and 28 as a freshman.
Senior Matt Brewer is fifth on the team with 15 wins this season.