Feb. 7, 2004
The 23rd-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team closed out the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championships on a winning note with a 4-2 victory over host No. 64 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon.
The match started off well for the Lady Vols, as they clinched the doubles point with relative ease. Sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.) opened with an 8-3 victory over Teresa Gonzaga and Shana McElroy at No. 2 doubles. Freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and junior Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada) then cruised by Kaylan Caiati and Lexi Goldin by a count of 8-1 in the No. 3 position, seizing a 1-0 lead for UT by virtue of the doubles point.
Although the outcome did not affect the team scoring, the final doubles contest was a hard-fought match that came down to the wire. At the No. 1 position, UT senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) were edged out 9-8(5) by the tandem of Lindsay Martin and Katie McGaffigan.
As singles play began, the Badgers hoped some momentum could swing their way following the dramatic win at No. 1 doubles, however, Lady Vol freshman Victoria Jones quickly disposed of UW's Caiati, 6-4, 6-1, at the No. 5 spot to give the Big Orange a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin, however, would battle back thanks to a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 triumph by McGaffigan over 13th-ranked Encina at No. 1 singles. After another grueling three set win, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), by UW's Martin at the No. 3 position over 96th-rated Robards, the Badgers had evened the match at two points apiece.
That was all the scoring, however, that Wisconsin would do on this day, as the Lady Vols finished off the match with two more singles wins. First, Griffith breezed by Gonzaga at the No. 4 position by a count of 6-4, 6-1. Next, 86th-ranked Maharaj seized the victory for Tennessee with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 triumph over McElroy at No. 2 singles.
The win improves Tennessee's all-time record against Wisconsin to 9-2, which includes four straight victories. The Lady Vols are now 4-3 in dual matches this season, while the Badgers own a record of 3-4.
After returning from the tournament, Tennessee battles No. 73 Wake Forest on Sat., Feb. 14 in Winston-Salem, N.C., before returning home to face No. 10 North Carolina at 1 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 15.
#23 Tennessee vs. #64 Wisconsin
ITA National Team Indoor Championships
February 7, 2004
Final score: UT 4, UW 2
No. 1 Katie McGaffigan (UW) def. #13 Tammy Encina (UT), 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
No. 2 #86 Sabita Maharaj (UT) def. Shana McElroy (UW), 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
No. 3 Lindsay Martin (UW) def. #96 Ashley Robards (UT), 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4)
No. 4 Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Teresa Gonzaga (UW), 6-4, 6-1
No. 5 Victoria Jones (UT) def. Kaylan Caiati (UW), 6-4, 6-1
No. 6 Breanna Kray (UT) vs. Lexi Goldin (UW), Did not finish (Kray led 6-3, 2-1)
Order of finish: 5, 1, 3, 4, 2*
No. 1 Martin/McGaffigan (UW) def. Encina/Schaub (UT), 9-8(5)
No. 2 Maharaj/Robards def. Gonzaga/McElroy (UW), 8-3
No. 3 Griffith/Kray (UT) def. Caiati/Goldin (UW), 8-1
Order of finish: 2, 3*, 1
* Clinching point