Feb. 10, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - For the fourth time in school history, the 17th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, upsetting third-seeded and fifth-ranked Baylor, 4-0, on Friday at the Boar's Head Sports Club.
"I think our team came into the tournament confident, especially after beating Michigan," co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said."They just all believed they could win today and that made a huge different. If you don't have a full team that believes in themselves, it doesn't matter. I'm just so proud of them. They played great and competed really hard."
The win marks Tennessee's fifth in a row after dropping the first two matches of the season, in which the Lady Vols were shorthanded.
UT (5-2) will play No. 16 USC, who defeated No. 8 North Carolina in the first round, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
"We played good doubles today," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "It is an important point, but we won it against them last year, so we knew we had to come out and play just as well in singles. We have played indoors a lot more than they have this season, and we have played a very strong schedule. I am really proud of our kids."
For the seventh time in as many matches, Tennessee tallied the doubles point. Natalie Pluskota and Caitlyn Williams improved to 5-2 with an 8-1 win over Baylor's Jordaan Sanford and Diana Nakic, while No. 18 Sarah Toti and Brynn Boren won their 10th consecutive match together, defeating Megan Horter and Nina Secerbegovic, 8-5.
Toti and Boren, now 7-0 in dual-match play, have clinched the doubles point in five of seven matches.
"Especially, when you play teams in the top 10 or top 20, it's paramount that you win the doubles point," Hahn-Patrick said. "It carries the momentum on into the singles. It just gives you a lot more confidence and just lets you relax a little bit more in the sense that you know you have to get three points opposed to your opponents having to get four."
The Lady Vols used singles victories via Caitlyn Williams, Kata Szekely and Boren to record the win, two of which came against Baylor (9-2) players that were 10-0 in dual-match action heading into the contest.
Williams, yet to lose consecutive matches this season, was the first to the finish line in singles, recording a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Jordaan Sanford, who came into the match with a 14-5 (6-1) record.
After trailing 1-2 in her first set, Szekely caught fire en route to remaining undefeated (5-0) in dual-match play. After winning five of the next six games in set one, Szekely rolled to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sona Novakova, who entered Friday 11-1 (10-0).
Leading 3-0, it was a race between doubles partners Boren and Toti to clinch Tennessee's win, with both a game away from clinching their matches.
Boren, ranked 27th, won the race -- and her fifth consecutive match, knocking off Nina Secerbegovic by a score of 6-0, 6-3. Secerbegovic also came in with an impressive 10-1 (10-0) record. Boren's fifth-straight win matches a season-high, and she leads the Lady Vols with 13 overall wins.
The Lady Vols have never advanced to the National Indoor semifinals, and can do so with a win vs. USC Saturday. UT is 0-2 all-time against USC, the last meeting coming in the 2000 ITA National Indoors.
#17 Tennessee 4, #5 Baylor 0
1. #24 Natalie Pluskota (UT) vs. #14 Diana Nakic (BU) 6-2, 4-3 DNF
2. #27 Brynn Boren (UT) def. Nina Secerbegovic (BU) 6-0, 6-3
3. #59 Kata Szekely (UT) def. Sona Novakova (BU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Jordaan Sanford (BU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Sarah Toti (UT) vs. Ema Burgic (BU) 6-4, 5-1 DNF
6. Joanna Henderson (UT) vs. Megan Horter (BU) 4-6, 2-1 DNF
1. Natalie Pluskota/Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Jordaan Sanford/Diana Nakic (BU) 8-1
2. #18 Brynn Boren/Sarah Toti (UT) def. Megan Horter/Nina Secerbegovic (BU) 8-5
3. Kata Szekely/Joanna Henderson (UT) vs. Ema Burgic/Sona Novakova (BU) 7-5, DNF
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2); Singles (4, 3, 2)