Sabita Maharaj won by an impressive 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles
March 5, 2004
The University of Tennessee women's tennis team got back on the winning track with a 7-0 victory over the University of Arkansas on Friday evening at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center. With the win, the Lady Vols improve to 6-7 this season and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Lady Razorbacks fall to 7-4 overall, 0-4 in the SEC. UT now boasts a 16-2 advantage in the all-time series against UA, including six consecutive victories.
In doubles competition, Tennessee freshmen Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) teamed up for the initial time this season, and cruised by Christian Kincannon and Iliana Pacheco, 8-0, at the No. 3 position. The win improves Griffith's doubles record to 15-7 this year, while Jones is now 6-3.
Sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.) then clinched the doubles point for Tennessee with an 8-3 victory over Melissa Cornett and Whitney Morton at the No. 2 spot. Senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) completed the doubles sweep for UT with an 8-3 win over Anna Dybicz and Megan Ferreira at No. 1.
In addition to earning the doubles point, Tennessee benefited from Schaub being credited with a win by default at No. 6 singles, due to Arkansas' Ferreira having to be pulled from the lineup due to injury. This meant that the Big Orange would enter singles play with a 2-0 lead in the match.
UT's 62nd-ranked Maharaj promptly gave the Lady Vols a 3-0 lead with a dominating performance at No. 1 singles, taking out Dybicz, 6-0, 6-0. With the victory, Maharaj improves to 18-8 in singles this year, winning six of her last seven matches.
Robards next provided the clinching point for Tennessee with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Pacheco at No. 3 singles. The convincing win was also positive because it marked a strong comeback for Robards, who had missed the previous two matches due to injury.
Another Lady Vol who made a recent return from injury, 27th-ranked Encina, registered a 3-6, 6-1 (10-6) victory over Pacheco at the No. 2 position. Encina, who normally plays at the No. 1 spot, was shifted to No. 2 while making her return to form after missing three matches because of injury.
The momentum continued to fall Tennessee's way, as Griffith, who had a six-match win streak snapped against Alabama, bounced back with authority by posting a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Morton at the No. 4 spot. The freshman now owns a team-best 22-6 mark in singles this season.
Finally, junior Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada), completed the 7-0 sweep with a 6-0, 6-1 triumph over Kincannon at the No. 5 singles position.
UT's convincing victory is made even more impressive due to the fact that the Orange and White once again had some lineup shuffling to do, as junior Majen Immink (Kent, U.K.) missed the match due to illness.
"It's always good to get a win," UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "I still wish we had our entire lineup healthy, but we are starting to see some good things from the team. Ashley Robards made a nice comeback today, and Tammy Encina's play was really beginning to come together near the end of her match."
Up next, Tennessee hosts conference rival LSU on Sunday at 1 p.m. Following that contest, UT will be heading to the Aloha State for a trio of difficult matches. After taking on home-standing Hawai'i on Wed., March 10 in Honolulu, the Lady Vols head over to Hilo on the Big Island to battle No. 6 Duke on Fri., March 12 and No. 19 Notre Dame on Sat., March 13.
#36 Tennessee vs. #68 Arkansas
Knoxville, Tenn. - March 5, 2004
Final score: UT 7, UA 0
No. 1 #62 Sabita Maharaj (UT) def. Anna Dybicz (UA), 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 #27 Tammy Encina (UT) def. Melissa Cornett (UA), 3-6, 6-1, (10-6)
No. 3 Ashley Robards (UT) def. Iliana Pacheco (UA), 6-1, 6-1
No. 4 Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Whitney Morton (UA), 6-0, 6-4
No. 5 Breanna Kray (UT) def. Christian Kincannon (UA), 6-0, 6-1
No. 6 Melissa Schaub (UT) wins by default
Order of finish: 6, 1, 3*, 2, 4, 5
No. 1 Encina/Schaub (UT) def. Dybicz/Ferreira (UA), 8-3
No. 2 Maharaj/Robards (UT) def. Cornett/Morton (UA), 8-3
No. 3 Griffith/Jones (UT) def. Kincannon/Pacheco (UA), 8-0
Order of finish: 3, 2*, 1