Jan. 21, 2006

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -­ The 19th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (0-1) battled valiantly against No. 11 North Carolina (3-0) on Saturday afternoon, but fell in a 5-2 contest which was not decided until the last few minutes of the five-hour, 30-minute battle, as Tar Heel players grabbed third-set wins in the final two matches to be completed.

Junior Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) earned the marquee win of the day, topping the 46th-ranked player in the country, Caitlin Collins, 6-1, 7-5. After the Tar Heel took a 1-0 advantage in the first set, Griffith rallied with six straight games before securing the first three of the second set for a 3-0 lead. After Long rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie it, 5-5, Griffith put away the contest with wins in the final two games. The victory was her second of the 2005-06 campaign over a ranked opponent as she topped No. 118 Joelle Schwenk of Kentucky, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 on Sept. 17 at the St. Mary's Classic.

North Carolina jumped out to early leads in doubles play, taking 2-0 advantages in two of the matches and 1-0 in the third before the Lady Vols rallied. The first match to be completed saw the doubles tandem of juniors Griffith and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) rally from its 2-0 deficit to secure eight straight games for an 8-2 win over Austin Smith and Meg Fanjoy at the No. 2 position.

The match at court three saw UNC's Caitlin Collins and Tanja Markovic jump out to a 5-0 advantage over Tennessee's duo of sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) and freshman Stephanie Harris (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and hold on for an 8-4 victory.

At that point, the focus went to the first court, where UNC's 11th-ranked duo of Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long rallied from a 4-3 deficit for five straight games and an 8-4 win against Tennessee's 38th-ranked pair of senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) and freshman Samantha Orlin (Miami, Fla.).



North Carolina began singles play with a dominating win at the No. 1 position as No. 28 Long topped Jones, 6-4, 6-0. The first set was tied, 4-4, before Long secured the final two game to start her run of eight straight games won. The win gave UNC a 2-0 lead.

At that point, Griffith completed her impressive win to cut the Tar Heels' lead to 2-1.

The third court saw Anundsen rally from a first-set loss to Schaub for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 win to give UNC a commanding 3-1 lead in the contest. Schaub had a nice comeback in the first stanza, coming from 4-1 down for the 7-5 win.

The next match to be finished saw Schutte earn a dramatic 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) victory at court four against Markovic. In the second stanza, Markovic held a 5-3 lead before Schutte secured the final four games to tie the match at one set apiece. Neither player could garner greater than a one-game advantage in the dramatic third and deciding stanza. Schutte rallied from 5-4 down for a 6-5 lead before Markovic tied the contest at 6-all and bring the match to a tiebreaker. Schutte scored the first three points on her way to the 7-2 win, which included a dramatic shot down the line to make it 6-2.

North Carolina then secured its team win when Tansill topped Harris on court six, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. The first set saw the first two-game advantage come at the end, while the Tar Heel had control of the next two sets, going up 5-1 in both contests on the way to UNC wins.

In the No. 5 position, Smith fell, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), to Smith. The Tar Heel battled from 5-3 down to claim the first set, while Orlin rallied from 4-3 down in the second set with three straight games. The third set was close throughout as the only two-game advantage came at 2-0, Orlin. The Lady Vol secured a dramatic game at 6-5 down to force the tiebreaker and came from 6-3 down in the decider to close it to 6-5 before falling.

"It was a good match; we competed hard," Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "That's what we're looking for. There's not much more we can ask from these guys.

"We have to improve every match and our schedule is so tough (UT plays 19 of its 21 matches versus top-75 opposition) that we have the chance to play great players and see how much better we can get. Today was our first tough challenge. It's not going to get any easier and we need to keep improving daily.

Tennessee continues its four-match home stand at 1 p.m. on Sunday as No. 14 Duke will play its season-opening contest at either the UT Varsity Courts or the Goodfriend Tennis Center, depending on weather. The two buildings sit adjacent to each other on the Tennessee campus. No. 53 Illinois and No. 42 Purdue await the Lady Vols next weekend.

#11 North Carolina 5, #19 Tennessee 2

Singles competition
1.#28 Jenna Long (UNC) def. Victoria Jones (TN)6-4, 6-0
2.Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. #46 Caitlin Collins (UNC)6-1, 7-5
3.Sara Anundsen (UNC) def. Melissa Schaub (TN)5-7, 6-2, 6-0
4.Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Tanja Markovic (UNC)5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2)
5.Austin Smith (UNC) def. Samantha Orlin (TN)7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)
6.Charlotte Tansill (UNC) def. Stephanie Harris (TN)5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Doubles competition
1.#11 Sara Anundsen/Jenna Long (UNC) def. #38 Melissa Schaub/Samantha Orlin (TN)8-4
2.Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) def. Austin Smith/Meg Fanjoy (UNC)8-2
3.Caitlin Collins/Tanja Markovic (UNC) def. Ghizela Schutte/Stephanie Harris (TN)8-4

Match Notes:
North Carolina 3-0; National ranking #11 Tennessee 0-1; National ranking #19 Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,2,3,4,6,5)



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