April 23, 2013
Since reuniting on the doubles court two months ago, Tennessee sophomores Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese have put together a perfect record through the SEC conference and tournament seasons.
The ranking now reflects the record.
Libietis and Reese became the fourth doubles team in Tennessee history to reach No. 1 in the ITA national doubles rankings on Tuesday after improving to 11-0 together at the top of the lineup.
The Vols' leading duo also improved in the national singles rankings. Libietis moved up one spot to No. 2 nationally in singles after going 2-0 at the SEC Tournament. Reese also went unbeaten at the conference championships and is now No. 32.
The the team rankings the Vols (23-8) are ranked sixth nationally.
For some quick Tennessee doubles facts...
The Vols have traditionally fielded strong doubles teams every year, and the last few years have been no exception. A Tennessee team has reached the No. 1 national ranking in four of the last five years.
John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren held the top ranking in 2009 and 2010 and reached the NCAA doubles final in both those years. Smith and Boris Conkic joined forces in 2011 to hold the top ranking from March through the end of the season. Smith and Sandgren were named the ITA Doubles Team of the Year in 2009, and Smith earned the same distinction with Conkic in 2011.
THE NCAA DOUBLES CHAMPIONS
Mel Purcell and Rodney Harmon won the Vols first -- and still only -- NCAA doubles title in 1980 and kept the end-year No. 1 ranking to earn doubles team of the year honors. Both Vols went on be enshrined in the ITA College Tennis Hall of Fame. Both Vols have also gone on to be college tennis coaches themselves. Purcell coaches the men at Murray State and Harmon is the new women's coach at Georgia Tech.
INSIDE LIBIETIS & REESE'S RECORD
Libietis and Reese were the Vols' top doubles team as freshman in 2012. They spent the fall and indoor season playing with different partners but were back together at the top of the lineup starting with a March 3 match against Georgia Tech. They've been winning ever since.
The Vol duo are 11-0, including a 10-0 record in SEC play.
In that time, they have eight ranked victories. Four of those wins have been against teams currently in the top 10. Not to mention that they were serving for wins against top-10 pairs from Auburn and Georgia when the matches were suspended.
Last year, Libietis and Reese went 23-12. Their career record together now stands at 34-12, the 10th most career doubles wins by a team in UT history.