Jan. 29, 2005


LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A pair of clutch victories, one in singles and doubles, gave the 18th-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team (1-2) a 4-3 victory over No. 47 Purdue (0-1) on Saturday afternoon at the Lafayette Sports Center.

Junior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio / Lexington H.S.) made a dramatic comeback at No. 5 singles in the final and deciding match of the day. She was down, 3-6, 6-4, 5-6 (15-40), and then proceeded to win the next four rallies to tie the set, 6-6, and force a tiebreaker. She would then tally the first three points on her way to a 7-2 victory to secure UT's first victory of the season. Schaub had tallied the final three games of the second set to force a third.

The deciding match for the doubles point also came down to the wire as the Tennessee pair of senior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky. / Henderson County H.S.) and junior Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla. / Buchholz H.S.), ranked 51st nationally, battled the Purdue tandem of Shawna Zuccarini and Lara Burgarello at No. 1. Robards and Maharaj would not take greater than a two-game advantage and with Robards serving and the pair up, 7-6, the duo came from 40-15 down in the game to earn deuce. Sixteen games later, Robards hit the winning shot between the Purdue tandem for the winner to give UT the doubles point and a 1-0 advantage. In those 16 games, there were seven deuces and four advantages for each team.

At No. 3 doubles, Schaub and freshman Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa / Damelin College) easily defeated the Purdue tandem of Stephanie Wooten and Brittany Minna, 8-1. The Boilermakers, however, took No. 2 doubles when Hala Sufi and Alyssa Rodriguez topped the Lady Vol duo of freshman Bryce Marable (Darien, Ill. / Hinsdale South H.S.) and sophomore Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va. / Loudoun County H.S.) by an 8-3 count.



In the first singles match to conclude play, Griffith quickly dispatched Zuccarini, 6-2, 6-3, to give UT a 2-0 advantage. She came from 2-1 down in the second set to outscore Zuccarini, 5-2, the rest of the way.

Purdue would then cut UT's lead to 2-1 when 71st-ranked Sufi topped No. 50 Maharaj in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. When the Boilermaker's No. 6 Burgarello topped UT's Schutte, 6-4, 6-2, the match was tied, 2-2.

Jones would win at No. 4, defeating Rodriguez, 6-2, 6-4, to give the Lady Vols a 3-2 advantage, but Wooten defeated Marable in a hotly contested contest at No. 2 by 6-1, 6-4 tallies to tie the overall score once again, 3-3.

That set the stage for the focus to be on the singles No. 5 match and Schaub's heriocs.

Next up for the Lady Vols is a match-up with No. 33 Illinois with first serve to be at noon CST on Sunday.



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