Victoria Jones won easily over the Illini's Brianna Knue 6-2, 6-1
Feb. 1, 2004
The No. 23 University of Tennessee women's tennis team won its third straight dual match with a 5-2 victory over the 24th-ranked University of Illinois on Sunday afternoon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. The win improves the Lady Vols' record to 3-1 this season, while the Fighting Illini drop to 2-1.
The match started out in extremely competitive fashion, as the doubles point was not determined until the final match. Early on, things did not look good for the Lady Vols as sophomore Sabita Maharaj and junior Ashley Robards trailed, 1-5, to the Illinois tandem of Tiffany Eklov and Isabel Jarosz at No. 2 doubles, while UT juniors Majen Immink and Breanna Kray fell behind, 3-6, to Pavilina Akritas and Emily Wang in the No. 3 spot. Maharaj and Robards, however, registered an impressive comeback by capturing seven straight games to defeat Eklov and Jarosz by a count of 8-5.
In the next match to finish, however, 10th-ranked Cynthya Goulet and Jennifer McGaffigan of UI posted an 8-3 victory over senior Tammy Encina and sophomore Melissa Schaub at No. 1 doubles. The final Lady Vol tandem, however, was putting together an inspired run of their own, as Immink and Kray rattled off five straight games to claim an 8-6 win over Akritas and Wang, clinching the doubles point for Tennessee.
The Fighting Illini struck first in singles play, as 22nd-ranked McGaffigan defeated No. 13 Encina, 7-5, 6-3, at the No. 1 position to even the match at 1-1. The Lady Vols, however, bounced back quickly when freshman Blakeley Griffith downed UI's Jarosz, 6-2, 7-5, at the No. 4 slot. The win, which gave UT a 2-1 lead in the match, improved Griffith's singles record to 15-4 this season.
Illinois quickly even the score at 2-2, when Eklov took out 86th-ranked Maharaj, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, at No. 2 singles. Robards gave the lead back to Tennessee, however, when she out-lasted Goulet, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, at the No. 3 position.
With two matches remaining, UT needed a victory by either freshman Victoria Jones at No. 5 singles or Schaub at the No. 6 spot to seal the match. As it turned out, both players registered triumphs to give Tennessee a 5-2 win over Illinois. Jones cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Knue, while Schaub bounced back after dropping the first set to record a 3-6, 6-1, (10-5) win over Wang.
"Illinois is a very talented team and gave us a tough fight," UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "We still haven't played a complete match this season, where all our singles and doubles players really perform well. Our players, however, are beginning to get much more comfortable."
Tennessee owns a 9-1 advantage in the all-time series against Illinois, winning nine consecutive meetings with the Illini.
The Lady Vols next will face some stiff competition at the ITA National Indoor Team Championships in Madison, Wis., over Feb. 5-8. Competing at the tournament along with Tennessee are No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 California, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Southern California, No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Northwestern, No. 10 North Carolina, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 Harvard, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 14 William & Mary, No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 45 BYU and No. 64 Wisconsin.
#23 Tennessee vs. #24 Illinois
February 1, 2004
Final score: UT 5, ILL 2
No. 1 #22 Jennifer McGaffigan (ILL) def. #13 Tammy Encina (UT), 7-5, 6-3
No. 2 Tiffany Eklov (ILL) def. #86 Sabita Maharaj (UT), 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
No. 3 #96 Ashley Robards (UT) def. Cynthya Goulet (ILL), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
No. 4 Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Isabel Jarosz (ILL), 6-2, 7-5
No. 5 Victoria Jones (UT) def. Brianna Knue (ILL), 6-2, 6-1
No. 6 Melissa Schaub (UT) def. Emily Wang, 3-6, 6-1, (10-5)
Order of finish: 1, 4, 2, 3, 5*, 6
No. 1 #10 Goulet/McGaffigan (ILL) def. Encina/Schaub (UT), 8-3
No. 2 Maharaj/Robards (UT) def. Eklov/Jarosz (ILL), 8-5
No. 3 Immink/Kray (UT) def. Knue/Wang (ILL), 8-6
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3*