March 11, 2010
The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers play at home for the first time in more than a month this weekend, hosting Vanderbilt on Friday and Kentucky on Sunday.
The Vols (13-1, 2-0 SEC) have made the most of their time away from Knoxville and Goodfriend Tennis Center. Between a finals appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship and a pair of unbeaten road trips, the Vols have gone 6-1 in the last month.
They started Southeastern Conference play last week with a road trip through Alabama, sweeping Auburn 7-0 and then beating Alabama 4-1. The Vols are one of four SEC Eastern Division teams to start 2-0 in conference play. Kentucky, Georgia and Florida also started the SEC schedule undefeated.
Friday's match against No. 27 Vanderbilt (9-4, 1-1) begins at 1 p.m. Sunday's match against No. 6 Kentucky (11-4, 2-0) also starts at 1 p.m.
Matches will be played outdoors at UT Varsity Courts or inside at Goodfriend Tennis Center, depending on the weather. The Vols have played all seven home matches indoors this season.
Series Against Vanderbilt
The Vols lead the series against Vanderbilt 50-11.
In last season's meeting, Tennessee journeyed to Vanderbilt and rallied for a 4-3 victory. UT won the doubles point and the top three singles positions to secure the win. Matteo Fago's straight-set win at No. 3 clinched the match.
Head coach Sam Winterbotham is 3-0 in his UT career against Vanderbilt. He is 14-3 in home SEC matches, including 5-0 last season.
Countdown from 5
To do some elementary-level math, Smith is now 5 wins away from his 100th win in singles. Only six Vols in history have cracked 100 wins.
Smith, ranked fourth nationally, picked up his 95th win last Friday against No. 26 Tim Puetz of Auburn in straight sets. He is now 26-5 this season, with 16 of his wins coming against ranked opponents.
Almost a Year
When it comes to active SEC winning streaks, junior Boris Conkic leads the team at the No. 2 singles position.
After winning against Auburn and Alabama to open SEC play last week, Conkic has won 11 consecutive regular-season league dual matches. The streak started with a straight-set victory over Florida's Alex Lacroix on March 15, 2009.
Conkic has a 19-3 record in SEC play. Only junior Matteo Fago has a better career record. He also went 2-0 last week to improve to 20-2.
Alive at 11
Conkic and freshman Rhyne Williams, ranked fifth, enter Friday's match with an 11-match doubles winning streak. They are undefeated in 2010 and have a 20-2 record this season.
Williams was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Wednesday after winning all his singles and doubles matches.
Add That to the Dictionary
And add it to the record books as well.
On Sunday, senior Davey Sandgren became the third Vol in history to reach 100 career doubles wins when he and Smith defeated Saketh Myneni and Michael Davis of Alabama 9-7.
Of his 100 wins, 62 of them have come with Smith. They have a 23-4 record this season. The not-so-profound secret to reaching 100 wins? Sticking around. Sandgren is the only senior to have been at UT his entire career.
"To get to 100 wins, you have to have some `longetivity,'" Sandgren said.
Only two players in history have more doubles wins individually: Byron Talbot (131) and Shelby Cannon (128).
Smith will likely join the 100-win list in a few weeks; he already has 92 doubles wins.
A live, interactive blog and live scoring of Friday's and Sunday's matches will be available at UTSports.com