Feb. 15, 2004
The 23rd-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision to ninth-ranked North Carolina on Sunday afternoon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. UNC improves to 6-1 this season with the win, while UT falls to 4-5 in dual matches. All of the Lady Vols' matches this season have been against teams ranked in the top 75, while six of their nine foes appeared in last season's NCAA Tournament.
Doubles play provided an exciting start to the competition, as the winner of the doubles point was not determined until the end of the final match. In the first tandem match to be completed, UNC's duo of Lee Bairos and Jenna Long defeated juniors Majen Immink (Kent, U.K.) and Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada), 8-4, at the No. 2 position.
The Lady Vols, however, would even things up at one match apiece, when freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) registered an 8-5 win over Sara Anundsen and Caitlin Collins at the No. 3 spot. At that point, the score of the decisive No. 1 doubles match between the UT pair of sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.) and the 41st-ranked Tar Heel duo of Kendall Cline and Aniela Mojzis was tied at six. Bairos and Mojzis, however, were able to win the final two games to claim the match, 8-6, and seize the doubles point for UNC.
Tennessee would once again have to attempt to overcome playing without its top-ranked individual, 13th-rated senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.), who was out of the lineup for the second straight match due to injury.
Singles play started off well for UT, as Griffith continued her solid freshman year, recording a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory over 65th-ranked Anundsen at the No. 3 position to even the match score at 1-1. The win improves the Griffith's singles record to 19-5 this season and gives her a career mark of 4-0 against North Carolina players.
The Orange and White then took a 2-1 lead in the match after Immink posted a 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(6) triumph over 98th-ranked Collins at the No. 4 spot. The victory gives Immink her first win over a ranked opponent this season and improves her singles record to 10-6.
At No. 1 singles, 86th-rated Maharaj came within points of her second straight upset of a ranked opponent, but fell to No. 34 Mojzis by a count of 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, which tied the match score at 2-2. A day earlier against Wake Forest, Maharaj notched a 7-5, 7-6(3) victory over 15th-ranked Karin Coetzee.
UT's 96th-ranked Robards provided one of the most dramatic finishes of the day with a 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(3) win over Bairos at No. 2 singles. After dropping the first set, 2-6, and trailing 2-5 in the second set, Robards battled back to claim a 7-6(6) victory. In set three, Robards again found herself a game away from defeat as she trailed 2-5. The gutsy junior, however, once again summoned the strength to stage a comeback, winning the third set, 7-6(3), and giving Tennessee a 3-2 lead in the contest.
Unfortunately, that was the last match UT would win on the day, as UNC's Cline posted a 7-6(2), 6-2 win over freshman Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) at No. 5 singles, and Long recorded a 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Kray at the No. 6 spot to seal the win for North Carolina.
"I saw a lot of good things out of our team today," UT co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "Our top four singles players did a great job of competing, as did all three of our doubles pairs."
The loss snapped UT's 12-match win streak over UNC, although the Lady Vols still hold a 12-9 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads.
Tennessee now has one final tune-up remaining before the start of conference play, at the Lady Vols take on No. 25 Michigan on Sat., Feb. 21 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
#23 Tennessee vs. #9 North Carolina
Knoxville, Tenn. - February 15, 2004
Final score: UNC 4, UT 3
|No. 1||#34 Aniela Mojzis (UNC) def. #86 Sabita Maharaj (UT)||6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5|
|No. 2||#96 Ashley Robards (UT) def. Lee Bairos (UNC)||2-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(3)|
|No. 3||Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. #65 Sara Anundsen (UNC)||7-6(5), 6-1|
|No. 4||Majen Immink (UT) def. #98 Caitlin Collins (UNC)||6-3, 0-6, 7-6(6)|
|No. 5||Kendall Cline (UNC) def. Victoria Jones (UT)||7-6(2), 6-2|
|No. 6||Jenna Long (UNC) def. Breanna Kray (UT)||6-2, 6-0|
|Order of finish: 3, 4, 1, 2, 5, 6*|
|No. 1||#41 Cline/Mojzis (UNC) def. Maharaj/Robards (UT)||8-6|
|No. 2||Bairos/Long(UNC) def. Immink/Kray (UT)||8-4|
|No. 3||Griffith/Schaub (UT) def. Anundsen/Collins (UNC)||8-5|
|Order of finish: 2, 3, 1*|
* Clinching point