Jan. 31, 2009
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Despite dropping the doubles point for the first time this season, the No. 23 University of Tennessee women's tennis team (3-0) was able to rally in the singles portion of the contest to tally a 5-2 victory over No. 28 Virginia (2-1) at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Qualifier, held at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Lady Volunteers advance to face No. 13 Miami at 1 p.m. on Sunday for the right to move on the ITA National Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis., Feb. 12-15.
After sweeping its way through the doubles point in its first two matches of the year last weekend, the Big Orange was unable to continue its dominance on Saturday, dropping two of three contests to fall behind for the first time all season. The Cavalier combo of Amanda Rales and Neela Vaez struck the first blow, taking out the Tennessee tandem of sophomores Maria Sorbello and Rosalía Alda, 8-3, on the second court.
The 32nd-ranked UVa pairing of Emily Fraser and Jennifer Stevens then clinched the point for its squad when it downed UT juniors Caitlin Whoriskey and Zsófia Zubor, 8-5, at the top of the lineup. The Lady Vols were able to salvage one victory, however, with sophomore Jennifer Meredith and freshman Natalie Pluskota moving to a remarkable 11-1 on the year with an 8-5 triumph over Lindsey Hardenbergh and Maggie Yahner at the third position.
After a short intermission, Tennessee came out roaring in singles play, quickly regaining the momentum and never looking back en route to a 5-2 win over Virginia. Whoriskey, ranked No. 92 in the nation, set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, as she wasted little time in taking out her fourth ranked opponent of the season, the 42nd-rated Stevens, 6-1, 6-1, on center court.
Just moments later, Zubor put the Orange and White up 2-1 on the scoreboard with a straight set, 6-3, 6-2, victory over Vaez at the sixth slot in the lineup. Next to finish was Pluskota, who earned her first career victory over a ranked opponent, downing No. 82 Fraser, 6-4, 6-2, on the second court, to move UT within a single point of winning the match.
The Cavaliers were not going to go down without a fight though, as Rales kept her team in it with a 6-3, 6-4, win over Meredith on court four. UT senior Samantha Orlin had other ideas, however, finishing off the Lady Vol win in a second-set tiebreaker over Karoline Steiro, 6-2, 7-6 (1), at the fifth position in the lineup. The final point for Tennessee came on the third court where Alda defeated Hardenbergh in a third-set super tiebreaker, 6-4, 4-6, 10-5.
Following Sunday's contest against No. 13 Miami, the Orange and White will return home for the first time this season next weekend, when it welcomes the Cavaliers to Rocky Top for a rematch at 1 p.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sat., Feb. 8.
|1. No. 92 Caitlin Whoriskey (Tennessee) def. No. 42 Jennifer Stevens (Virginia)||6-1, 6-1|
|2. Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee) def. No. 82 Emily Fraser (Virginia)||6-4, 6-2|
|3. Rosalía Alda (Tennessee) def. Lindsey Hardenbergh (Virginia)||6-4, 4-6, 10-5|
|4. Amanda Rales (Virginia) def. Jennifer Meredith (Tennessee)||6-3, 6-4|
|5. No. 77 Samantha Orlin (Tennessee) def. Karoline Steiro (Virginia)||6-2, 7-6 (1)|
|6. Zsófia Zubor (Tennessee) def. Neela Vaez (Virginia)||6-3, 6-2|
|1. No. 32 Emily Fraser/Jennifer Stevens (Virginia) def. Caitlin Whoriskey/Zsófia Zubor (Tennessee)||8-5|
|2. Amanda Rales/Neela Vaez (Virginia) def. Rosalía Alda/Maria Sorbello (Tennessee)||8-3|
|3. Jennifer Meredith/Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee) def. Lindsey Hardenbergh/Maggie Yahner (Virginia)||8-5|
|Order of Finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,6,2,4,5*,3)|