May 22, 2010
They have been a fixture at the No. 1 doubles position the last two years and have collected 75 wins together, tying them with Chris Mahony and Pablo Montana (1993-96) for second on the UT list.
With Sandgren entering the final two weeks of his collegiate career, No. 1 will remain well out of reach for him and Smith. Shelby Cannon and Byron Talbot, who were both three-time All-America, won record 102 times from 1985-88.
Sandgren and Smith, who will enter next week's doubles draw as the No. 2 seed, have a 36-6 record this season. The Tennessee season record is 40, set by Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon in 1986. Counting all possible NCAA matches, Sandgren and Smith have a maximum of eight matches to win four more times to tie the record.
Freshman Record Book
Also looking at the record book, how about the freshman records? Rhyne Williams currently owns one, and he's not too far away from taking a second as well.
Williams has a 37-6 record in singles, which is the best freshman winning percentage in school history (.860). He is still a few wins shy of the freshman record for wins in a season. Three-time All-America Peter Handoyo won 43 matches in 1999.
Tennys Sandgren has only been on the team since January, but he's put together a respectable one-semester total, playing primarily at the No. 4 position. He enters Sunday with a 22-4 record.
Back in the Quarterfinals
The Vols (29-1) swept Louisville 4-0 on Friday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tennis Championships for the first time since 2002. They face Baylor on Sunday at 4 p.m.
The live blog will be available at UTSports.com. Live video streaming and stats will be available at ncaa.com.
Tennessee and Baylor have faced each other twice over the last two seasons. Baylor defeated the Vols 4-1 in the NCAA round of 16 in 2008, the only time the schools have met in the NCAA Championships. The Vols won a year later, however, shutting out the Bears 4-0 in the first round of the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
For another Baylor connection, Sam Winterbotham was an assistant at Baylor from 2000-2002.
Why Stop There?
Tennessee has reached the quarterfinals five times in program history and advanced to at least the semifinals each time. The Vols progressed to the semifinals in 1987, 2000 and 2002. In 1990 and 2001, they reached the final match.
Success has become the norm for Smith at the top of the doubles lineup, even in postseason matches. He is 8-1 in NCAA dual matches and 13-3 overall in NCAA play, counting his performances in the singles draw.
Smith has a 41-6 overall record this season. One more win would tie him with Adam Carey for seventh on the UT list for wins in a season. Carey picked up 42 wins in 2000. Interestingly, he earned neither conference or national honors that year, but he reached the second round of the NCAA singles tournament as the Vols lone representative.
Smith will soon catch Carey on the career list as well. Carey is sixth with 112 victories from 1999-2002.
The Vols are going for just their second 30-win season in program history. Tennessee enters Sunday with a 29-1 record. The other time Tennessee reached 30 wins? The Vols reached the NCAA final.
In 1990, the Vols finished the year 34-1 and were the No. 1 seed entering the NCAA tournament. They fell to second-seeded Stanford 5-2 in the final match, their only loss of the year.
It's impossible for this year's squad to reach the record total of 34 wins, simply because there aren't enough matches left on the schedule. The most victories they could finish with is 33.