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SEC Titles in Hand, Vols Remain No. 2 Nationally
Rhyne Williams


Rhyne Williams

April 27, 2010

The Tennessee Volunteers remained second in the ITA national team rankings following their three shutout victories to capture last week's SEC Tournament championship.

The Vols (26-1) swept No. 4 Florida 4-0 on Sunday to win their first SEC Tournament title since 2002. Tennessee also won the regular-season conference trophy by going 11-0 in league play.

Junior John-Patrick Smith finished 3-0 at the No. 1 singles position last week for the Vols to earn tournament MVP honors and stayed in the top spot in the ITA singles rankings for the third consecutive polling period.

The ITA rankings are computer generated, and according to the numbers, the Vols came mere decimal points from matching No. 1 Virginia. The Cavaliers had a rating of 78.92; Tennessee was .04 away at 78.88.

Virginia (35-1) is the only team to defeat the Vols this season, beating Tennessee 4-1 in the final of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship on Feb. 15 in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia won the ACC Tournament on Sunday, courtesy of a 4-2 win against Duke. The Cavs' lone loss this year came against Kentucky, a team the Vols defeated 6-1 in Knoxville.

As winners of their respective conference tournaments, Tennessee and Virginia received automatic bids into the NCAA Championships. The team tournament draw will be released May 4, and first-round matches begin May 15.

The NCAA individual singles and doubles draws will be available May 5. Last season, Smith and senior Davey Sandgren reached the finals of the doubles tournament. As a freshman in 2008, Smith was a finalist in singles.

In Singles

Smith, the Vols' first No. 1-ranked player in 17 years, continued to build on his already stellar year at the SEC Tournament. He was the only Vol to lock away singles wins all three days of the tournament and improved to 38-6 as a junior.

He collected his fifth win over a top-10 opponent this season, defeating No. 5 Alexandre Lacroix 6-2, 6-1 in the championship match.

 

 

Junior Boris Conkic clinched two matches for the Vols at the No. 2 position and joined Smith with SEC All-Tournament honors. Despite his undefeated performance against a pair of ranked opponents, he dropped two spots to No. 39 in the rankings.

Freshman Rhyne Williams, who is second on the team with a 34-6 record, rose three positions to No. 41. The Knoxville native is currently tied for fifth on the Vols' freshman single-season wins list. Fellow freshman Tennys Sandgren is on a team-leading 12-match winning streak and moved up one spot to No. 113.

Senior Matt Brewer, who has not played in four weeks, remained ranked at No. 116.

And in Doubles

Smith and Davey Sandgren returned two positions in the rankings to second, thanks to a 2-0 record against top 30 opponents at the SEC Tournament. They defeated Florida's then-No. 14 Lacroix and Antoine Benneteau 8-3 to help the Vols win the doubles point.

Conkic and Williams moved up one spot to seventh after going 2-0 last week. They have a 31-3 record this season, which is good for a winning percentage of .912. They have compiled a 22-1 record in dual matches, all but one match at the No. 2 position.

Conkic and Smith, winners of October's ITA All-American Championships, stayed in the top 10 as a team at No. 8.

ITA National Rankings
Singles

No. 1 - John-Patrick Smith
No. 39 - Boris Conkic
No. 41 - Rhyne Williams
No. 113 - Tennys Sandgren
No. 116 - Matt Brewer

Doubles
No. 2 - Davey Sandgren/Smith
No. 7 - Conkic/Williams
No. 8 - Conkic/Smith

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