Feb. 21, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
The 23rd-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team fell to the 25th-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Michigan improves to 5-0 this season, while UT drops to 4-6 in dual matches. All of the Lady Vols' matches this season have been against teams ranked in the top 75, while seven of their 10 opponents appeared in last season's NCAA Tournament. Five of UT's six losses, meanwhile, have been by 3-4 margins.
The Wolverines gained a 1-0 lead in the match by capturing the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. The duo of Michelle DaCosta and Kara Delicata downed sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.), 8-3, at the No. 1 position. Kim Plaushines and Debra Streifler, meanwhile, defeated freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio), 8-5, at No. 3 to seize the doubles point.
The Lady Vol tandem of juniors Majen Immink (Kent, U.K.) and Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada) cruised by Leanne Rutherford and Kavitha Tipirneni, 8-1, at the No. 2 spot, but that was not enough to gain UT any points in the match.
Several Tennessee players performed well in singles competition, however, the Lady Vols were able to capture just three of the six individual matches, allowing Michigan to come away with a 4-3 win on the day. The Orange and White were playing without 13th-ranked senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.) because of injury for the third straight match.
With Encina sidelined, 86th-ranked Maharaj had to step up into the No. 1 singles position and performed well once again, posting a 6-4, 3-6, (10-7) victory over No. 92 DaCosta of Michigan. Maharaj is now 2-1 at the No. 1 singles spot during Encina's absence, and boasts a 15-8 overall record in singles this season.
UT's other singles triumphs came at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions. Griffith registered her fifth win in a row with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tipirneni at the No. 3 spot, improving her singles record to 20-5 this season. Immink, meanwhile, cruised by Chrissie Nolan, 6-1, 6-4, to improve her singles mark to 11-6.
For the Wolverines, 37th-ranked Elizabeth Exon defeated 96th-ranked Robards, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 2 singles, Rutherford downed freshman Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.), 6-0, 6-3, at No. 5, and Streifler defeated Schaub, 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 6 spot.
The match gave UM it first victory against the Big Orange, as the Lady Vols own a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads.
After returning from Michigan, Tennessee will prepare to open its conference season when No. 75 Auburn comes to Knoxville on Fri., Feb. 27, and No. 32 Alabama visits on Sun., Feb. 29.
#23 Tennessee vs. #25 Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich. - February 21, 2004
Final score: UM 4, UT 3
|No. 1||#86 Sabita Maharaj (UT) def. #92 Michelle DaCosta (UM)||6-4, 3-6, (10-7)|
|No. 2||#37 Elizabeth Exon (UM) def. #96 Ashley Robards (UT)||6-2, 6-1|
|No. 3||Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Kavitha Tipirneni (UM)||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 4||Majen Immink (UT) def. Chrissie Nolan (UM)||6-1, 6-4|
|No. 5||Leanne Rutherford (UM) def. Victoria Jones (UT)||6-0, 6-3|
|No. 6||Debra Streifler (UM) def. Melissa Schaub (UT)||6-2, 6-4|
|No. 1||DaCosta/Delicata (UM) def. Maharaj/Robards (UT)||8-3|
|No. 2||Immink/Kray (UT) def. Rutherford/Tipirneni (UM)||8-1|
|No. 3||Plaushines/Streifler (UM) def. Griffith/Schaub (UT)||8-5|