Jan. 28, 2006


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -­ The 19th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis squad (1-2) rebounded from its second-consecutive 0-2 start with a convincing 6-1 victory over No. 53 Illinois (2-1) on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Vols claimed all three doubles matches for its first doubles point of the season and won five-of-six singles contests.

"The team played well and it's a much-needed win," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "It gives us a little confidence going into our tough match tomorrow against Purdue. We have improved a little bit and if we keep working hard in practice, we'll keep getting better. Everybody competed hard and it was a good match. We snuck through last year at their place, 4-3, and they have always given us tough matches.

In doubles play, the junior tandem of Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) earned a quick 8-1 victory on the second court over Illinois' duo of Momei Qu and Emily Wang. The pair jumped out to a 6-0 advantage in the contest and improves to a perfect 3-0 in dual matches and 4-1 overall in 2005-06.

That Lady Vol victory was followed by two more. At No. 1, senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) and sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) teamed for an 8-5 win against Brianna Knue and Macall Harkins. The Fighting Illini pair scored the first two tallies, but Schaub and Schutte followed with a 7-0 tear for a 7-2 advantage.

In their first match together, freshmen Samantha Orlin (Miami, Fla.) and Stephanie Harris (Chattanooga, Tenn.) played a back-and-forth match with Shivani Dave and Alejandra Meza Cuadra on court three. The Lady Vol pair rebounded from a 1-0 deficit for a 2-1 lead before the squads traded 3-0 runs. After UT's run earned it a 5-4 edge, the Lady Vols outscored their set of Illinois counterparts, 3-2, the rest of the way.



The first match to conclude in singles play came on court three as Schaub topped Knue in impressive fashion, 6-0, 6-2. The win stopped a three-match losing streak for the senior.

Jones took her singles contest quickly as well, dispatching Knue in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, for her first dual match win since moving to the No. 1 position this season.

Schutte claimed the contest played on court four, topping Dave, 6-4, 6-4. She was down, 4-3, in the first set before rallying with three straight tallies. The second stanza was one of runs as a 2-0 Schutte streak was followed by a 3-0 Dave run and an identical 3-0 tear by Schutte; the latter one put the orange-clad player out in front, 5-3.

Orlin needed to retire due to injury in her match on court five after falling in the first set to Wang, 6-3.

Griffith followed with a win in the only three-set match of the day, defeating Harkins at the No. 2 position, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. She secured the final three games of the first and third sets for the win.

The final match to finish saw Harris complete the Lady Vol win with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Cuadra. The Fighting Illini player was up, 3-1, in the second before four straight Harris tallies earned her a 5-3 advantage on her way to the win.

Tennessee completes its four-match home stand to start the spring campaign with a 1 p.m. battle on Sunday versus No. 42 Purdue (0-1). The Boilermakers dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 24 Wake Forest in its season-opening contest on Friday.

#19 Tennessee 6, #53 Illinois 1
Singles competition
1. Victoria Jones (TN) def. Momei Qu (ILL) 6-3, 6-0
2. Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Macall Harkins (ILL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
3. Melissa Schaub (TN) def. Brianna Knue (ILL) 6-0, 6-2
4. Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Shivani Dave' (ILL) 6-4, 6-4
5. Emily Wang (ILL) def. Samantha Orlin (TN) 6-3, retired
6. Stephanie Harris (TN) def. Alejandra M. Cuadra (ILL) 6-1, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Brianna Knue/Macall Harkins (ILL) 8-5
2. Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) def. Momei Qu/Emily Wang (ILL) 8-1
3. Stephanie Harris/Samantha Orlin (TN) def. Shivani Dave'/Alejandra M. Cuadra (ILL) 8-6
Match Notes:
Illinois 2-1; National ranking #53
Tennessee 1-2; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,1,4,5,2,6)


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