Feb. 5, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 11-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team continued its strong start to the 2011 season, defeating Virginia Tech, 6-1, at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center on Saturday.
Tennessee (4-0, 0-0) came out focused and never looked back, dropping only two sets en route to the victory.
UT co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said that her team did a good job adapting to an unfamiliar environment.
"I think we understood the urgency of being prepared," Hahn-Patrick said. "Their courts play a lot different than ours. We did a good job adjusting our game to the different surface. I think that's what made the difference."
Rosalía Alda won her 13th contest of the season at No. 3 singles, topping Holly Johnson, 6-0, 6-4. At No. 4, Kata Szekely tied a season high with her sixth consecutive victory. Brynn Boren won six straight from Oct. 14-Nov. 5.
Hahn-Patrick said that Szekely, who missed most of the fall with an injury, has been critical for the Lady Vols so far this spring.
"We didn't know how soon she'd contribute but she's come back ready to go and she's really playing well," Hahn-Patrick said. "She still has a lot to work on but she's not afraid to compete and play."
Freshman Millie Nichols recorded her second match-clinching victory of the season at No. 5, topping Shannon Betts, 6-3, 6-4.
In doubles, Jennifer Meredith and Szekely cruised to an 8-2 win over Tea Ivanovic and Isel Martinez-Marcos. Moments later, Alda and Nichols topped Martha Blakely and Courtney Rauscher, 8-2, to clinch the doubles point for the Big Orange. Boren and Pluskota won their third straight contest, defeating Yasmin Hamza and Holly Johnson, 8-4.
With the win, Alda moved into a tie for eighth place in school history with 95 doubles wins.
Tennessee returns home next weekend to face Indiana and Wake Forest on Feb. 12 and 13, respectively. After that, UT will head to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships from Feb. 18-21 in Charlottesville, Va.
Hahn-Patrick said that all of this early season experience will greatly benefit her team moving forward.
"It's important to learn from your matches on the road early in the season," Hahn-Patrick said "I think that's something they're starting to do. It's definitely going to help us for national indoors and going into conference play."
First serve for the IU Match is scheduled for Noon ET. Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols.
#11 Tennessee 6, Virginia Tech 1
1. Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. Martha Blakely (VT) 7-5, 6-2
2. #20 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Yasmin Hamza (VT) 6-4, 5-7, 1-0
3. #87 Rosalía Alda (TENN) def. Holly Johnson (VT) 6-0, 6-4
4. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Tea Ivanovic (VT) 6-3, 6-4
5. Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Shannon Betts (VT) 6-3, 6-4
6. Emily Lauten (VT) def. Whitney Wofford (TENN) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0
1. Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Yasmin Hamza/Holly Johnson (VT) 8-4
2. #9 Rosalia Alda/Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Martha Blakely/Courtney Rauscher (VT) 8-2
3. Jennifer Meredith/Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Tea Ivanovic/Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT) 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,4,5,6,1,2)