Jan. 31, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 12-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team defeated No. 17 Ole Miss, 5-2, on Monday afternoon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.
The win advances Tennessee (3-0) to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, held from Feb. 18-21 in Charlottesville, Va.
The final score doesn't indicate how hard-fought the match was. Two matches came down to the third set and one ended in a second-set tiebreaker.
"We know that Ole Miss is always a huge battle," UT co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "Everyone had to step up and they did a great job of mentally prepare themselves to go out there and fight.
After taking the doubles point, UT just needed to win three singles matches to win the match. After the Orange and White took the first set at No. 1, 4 and 5 singles, things looked promising.
From there, Ole Miss put up quite a battle. No. 21-rated Kristi Boxx bounced back to split sets with Natalie Pluskota at No. 1. Abby Guthrie dropped the first set but fought back from a 5-2 deficit to force a tiebreaker in the second set with Kata Szekely at the fourth spot.
However, Tennessee was able to keep its composure. Szekely was victorious in the tiebreaker and Pluskota clinched the match with a strong performance in her third set, winning the match 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
While defeating a top-25 player was a big win for Pluskota individually, she said that thought didn't cross her mind during the match.
"I wasn't thinking about what she was ranked," Pluskota said. "I was just trying to play big and get a win for our team. In the second set, I got too complacent and tried to wait for her to miss instead of attacking and playing my game."
Her victory makes Tennessee one of 16 teams in the field for the ITA National Team Indoor Tournament. The draw for that tournament will be released on Feb. 15.
UT will be back in action this Saturday as it travels to face Virginia Tech. Live scoring for the match will be available at HokieSports.com
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols.
#12 Tennessee 5, #17 Ole Miss 2
1. Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #21 Kristi Boxx (MISS) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
2. #20 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. #114 Connor Vogel (MISS) 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 1-0 (12-10)
3. Caroline Rohde-Moe (MISS) def. #87 Rosalia Alda (TENN) 7-5, 6-2
4. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Abby Guthrie (MISS) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
5. Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Laura van de Stroet (MISS) 6-4, 6-2
6. Vivian Vlaar (MISS) def. Whitney Wofford (TENN) 6-3, 6-4
1. Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) vs. Kristi Boxx/Caroline Rohde-Moe (MISS) 7-7, unfinished
2. #9 Rosalia Alda/Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Connor Vogel/Gabby Rangel (MISS) 8-6
3. Jennifer Meredith/Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Abby Guthrie/Laura van de Stroet (MISS) 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (5,6,4,1,3,2)