March 30, 2010
For the first time in head coach Sam Winterbotham's career at Tennessee, the Volunteers have five players simultaneously in the ITA national singles rankings.
Freshman Tennys Sandgren made his first appearance in the national rankings Tuesday, coming in at No. 111 and joining John-Patrick Smith (No. 2), Boris Conkic (No. 26), Rhyne Williams (No. 49) and Matt Brewer (No. 112) as Vols in the top 125.
Although the Vols (18-1, 6-0 SEC) are on an eight-matching winning streak and off to their best conference start in 20 years, they fell from second to third in the national rankings behind Ohio State. Tennessee had been ranked second since Feb. 18, which was the first polling period following their final appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Virginia retained the No. 1 spot.
In doubles, Smith and Davey Sandgren fell one spot to second in the doubles rankings, while Conkic and Williams climbed to fourth.
Prior to this season, Winterbotham had never had more than three players ranked at one time. The Vols have had four players in the rankings since January. Now, five of the six Vols in the singles lineup are nationally ranked.
Smith remained second nationally, thanks to a seven-match winning streak and a 31-5 overall record. On Sunday against Arkansas, he became the seventh Vol in history to record 100 career singles wins. Steve Johnson of Southern California kept the top singles position.
Conkic won all three of his matches at the No. 2 position for the Vols since the March 16 rankings and rose six positions to No. 26. He has a 24-6 overall record and a 5-1 mark in the SEC. Williams won all three of his matches but fell five spots to No. 49. He is second on the team with a 28-6 record.
Tennys Sandgren, who joined the team in January, has been on a tear the last month and is ranked for the first time at No. 111. He is on a six-match winning streak and is one of three Vols to have an undefeated conference record. He has started SEC play 5-0 at the No. 4 position and has a 14-4 overall record.
Brewer retired with an ankle injury against Arkansas but stayed nationally ranked at No. 112 with a 19-10 record.
The Vols are still the only team in the country to have multiple doubles pairings in the top 15 - and they have three.
Smith and Davey Sandgren, who have the third-most wins together in UT history with 67, dropped from first to second, despite winning all three of their matches and picking up their sixth ranked win of the spring. They have a 28-4 overall record this season.
Conkic and Williams are easily the highest ranked No. 2 doubles team in the country and rose one spot to fourth. They have been perfect this spring, having won all 16 of their matches since January to improve their record to 25-2.
Conkic and Smith, winners of October's ITA All-American Championships, still remain in the top 10 even though they have played just five matches together. They stayed at No. 7.
The next team rankings will be released April 6, and the next individual rankings come out April 13.
The Vols host a pair of SEC matches this weekend, facing Mississippi on Friday at 2 p.m. and Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m. at UT Varsity Courts.
No. 2 - Davey Sandgren/Smith
No. 4 - Conkic/Williams
No. 7 - Conkic/Smith