Feb. 22, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Fresh off its first sweep of the season against Indiana on Friday, the No. 22 University of Tennessee women's tennis team picked up right where it left off on Sunday, downing No. 51 Yale (6-3), 6-1, at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The win improved the squad's record to an impressive 6-1, which marks the program's best start to a season since 2001, when it opened the year 14-1 en route to a reaching the Round of 16 in the NCAA Championships.
"Yale is a quality team with some very talented players, so we are very happy to have been able to come away with the victory," UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "I thought everyone on our team competed well and showed signs of continued improvement. We were able to generate some momentum with a couple of good wins this weekend, but we need to carry that over into our practices over the next 11 days as we get ready to start our SEC schedule."
For the third match in a row and fifth time this season, the Lady Vols struck the first blow in the match, winning the doubles point with victories on the first and third courts. The Tennessee tandem of junior Zsófia Zubor and sophomore Maria Sorbello got the ball rolling for UT with a quick, 8-2, triumph over Stevi Petrelli and Sarah Lederhandler on court three before junior Caitlin Whoriskey and freshman Natalie Pluskota joined forces to clinch the initial point of the match for the Big Orange with a hard-fought, 8-6, victory over Janet Kim and Jessica Rhee on center court. Just moments later, Yale picked up its first win of the afternoon with the duo of Lindsay Clark and Victoria Brook defeating the Lady Vol pairing of sophomores Rosalía Alda and Jennifer Meredith by an identical, 8-6, score.
Although it had grabbed the early advantage, the Orange and White did not decrease either its aggressiveness or intensity, winning the first four singles matches to ensure itself of the victory. Senior Samantha Orlin was the first to put away her opponent, easily dispatching of Brook at the third position in the lineup to give UT a 2-0 lead.
Next up was Alda, who evened her overall record at 10-10 on the season with a straight set, 6-2, 6-2, decision over Petrelli on court four, which set Pluskota up to close out the match. The freshman from Newnan, Ga., took full advantage of her opportunity to do just that, earning her team-best third match-clinching victory of the season by defeating Rhee, 7-6 (6), 6-4, at the No. 2 slot in the lineup. With the win, she moved her record to 15-8 on the year and an impressive 6-1 in dual-match play during her rookie campaign.
The lone Bulldog point of the afternoon came on center court where Kim was able to come from behind to emerge victorious in an extremely hard-fought battle with the 45th-ranked Whoriskey, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 1-0 (16-14). The third set was played as a tiebreaker due to the fact that Tennessee had already won the team portion of the contest. The win was Kim's second over a ranked opponent in two days, as she also took out No. 16 Vanderbilt's top player, the 28th-ranked Catherine Newman, in a loss to the Commodores on Saturday.
The final two points of the day came from Zubor and Meredith on the fifth and sixth courts, respectively. While Zubor had little trouble dispatching her opponent, Lindsay Clark, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, Meredith was forced to bounce back from a first set loss before tallying her win over Lederhandler in a third-set tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-4).
Tennessee will have 11 days off from competitive action before returning to the courts on Friday, March 6, when it will open the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule at 3:30 p.m. against No. 67 Mississippi State. The Lady Vols will also host No. 53 Ole Miss that weekend, as they will square off with the Rebels at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 8.
|1.||Janet Kim (Yale)||def.||No. 45 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT)||6-7 (4), 7-5, 1-0 (14)|
|2.||Natalie Pluskota (UT)||def.||Jessica Rhee (Yale)||7-6 (6), 6-4|
|3.||Samantha Orlin (UT)||def.||Victoria Brook (Yale)||6-2, 6-4|
|4.||Rosalía Alda (UT)||def.||Stevi Petrelli (Yale)||6-2, 6-2|
|5.||Zsófia Zubor (UT)||def.||Lindsay Clark (Yale)||6-3, 6-3|
|6.||Jennifer Meredith (UT)||def.||Sarah Lederhandler (Yale)||3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (4)|
|1.||Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT)||def.||Janet Kim/Jessica Rhee (Yale)||8-6|
|2.||Lindsay Clark/Victoria Brook (Yale)||def.||Rosalía Alda/Jennifer Meredith (UT)||8-6|
|3.||Maria Sorbello/Zsófia Zubor (UT)||def.||Stevi Petrelli/Sarah Lederhandler (Yale)||8-2|
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,4,2*,1,5,6)