Feb. 15, 2003
The steady rainfall outside the Goodfriend Tennis Center did not dampen the 12th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team's spirits Saturday afternoon, as they dominated No. 40 Wake Forest, 5-0. The victory avenged two losses to the Demon Deacons last season and was only UT's third in its last 12 meetings with Wake Forest. Tennessee improved to 6-2 on the year, while WFU fell to 1-5 with the loss.
In the doubles, UT senior Crystal Cleveland and sophomore Ashley Robards registered the Orange and White's first victory at the No. 3 slot by an 8-5 margin over freshman Sandie Knight and junior Elizabeth Proctor. Cleveland and Robards actually found themselves down a couple breaks at 5-2 before running off six straight games en route to the victory. The duo improved to 13-2 on the season and 4-1 in dual matches at three doubles.
Junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink teamed up for the first in their careers and gave the Lady Vols the 1-0 lead when they posted a 9-7 decision at two doubles over sophomores Katie Martzolf and Danielle Schwartz. The Big Orange tandem appeared to be in control of the match with a 6-2 advantage, but the Demon Deacons responded and deadlocked the match at seven apiece. From there, Immink held serve and a service break on Wake Forest gave the Lady Vols the victory.
The final doubles match at top position between UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi and freshman Melissa Schaub and WFU sophomore Karin Coetzee and junior Aimee Smith went into a tiebreaker when the match was tied, 7-7. Castellvi and Schaub had trailed by a couple breaks, 7-3, before running off four consecutive games to put things at a stalemate. In the breaker, the Orange and White squeaked out the victory, 11-9, to improve to 7-1 at No. 1 doubles and 14-2 overall.
Encina was the first to finish in the singles with an impressive 6-1, 6-0, performance at two singles over 70th-ranked Martzolf. The Miami Beach, Fla., native is now 4-7 this season versus ranked opponents. Encina's record at the No. 2 spot is 5-3 and she is 13-8 overall.
In a matter of seconds after Encina's match had concluded, Tennessee swiped a 3-0 advantage after Cleveland registered a win at an unfamiliar position, No. 4 singles, over Smith, 6-3, 6-1. It was the first time this year that she did not fill in at No. 5. The win was Cleveland's fifth-straight. The Delray Beach, Fla., native stands at 15-7 this campaign and 6-2 in dual matches.
Fourth-rated Castellvi sealed the deal for the Orange and White when she won her 20th match of the season over a ranked foe at No. 1, defeating 62nd-ranked Coetzee in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Castellvi is 7-1 at one singles in her final year with UT and 22-4 overall.
The final point of the day came courtesy of Schaub at three singles, where she made short work of Schwartz, 6-1, 6-3. The rookie from Lexington, Ohio, has been a tear in dual match play this spring with a 7-1 record at the No. 3 slot. The victory was also her fifth-straight and upped her overall mark to 13-8.
"Our depth keeps on getting better," said UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick following the victory. "Everyone is finally getting healthy and that's going to be important in order for us to continue winning."
One of those players who had been injured most of the season was Immink, who was scheduled to play only her second dual singles match of the season at No. 5. She and Robards did not contest their matches once UT had gained a 5-0 lead.
Next up on the Lady Vols' ledger are back-to-back tilts with No. 52 Indiana and 21st-ranked Notre Dame at UT Varsity Courts and Goodfriend Tennis Center on Feb. 22 and 23. Saturday's match will begin at 11 a.m., while Sunday's contest is slotted for a 1 p.m. start time.