March 7, 2004
On a cool, blustery day at the UT Varsity Courts, Tennessee made things even stormier for LSU, as the 36th-ranked Lady Vol tennis team recorded a 6-1 victory over the 56th-ranked Lady Tigers on Sunday afternoon. With its second win in a row, UT improves to 7-7 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while LSU falls to 7-5 overall and 0-4 in the SEC.
The Lady Vols got off to a strong start in doubles play, as the tandem of sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.) delivered an 8-1 victory over LSU's Marina Chiarelli and Jessica Ferguson at the No. 2 position. UT juniors Majen Immink (Kent, U.K.) and Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada) then clinched the doubles point for Tennessee with an 8-3 win against Camila Calari and Daysi Espinal at the No. 3 spot.
With the tandem point already in hand, the duo of senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) registered an 8-7 (7-4) triumph in a tiebreaker over Rocia Fantilli and Lauren Seaman at No. 1 to complete the doubles sweep for the Big Orange.
In singles play, LSU briefly tied the match score at 1-1, as 77th-ranked Ferguson defeated 62nd-ranked Maharaj by a count of 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 1 match. The loss snapped Maharaj's four-match win streak and gives her a singles record of 18-9 this season.
Within moments, however, the Lady Vols were back on top, as Immink posted a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Seaman at the No. 5 position. The triumph extended Immink's win streak to five matches and improved her overall record to 14-6 this year.
The Orange and White next gained a 3-1 lead in the match when Encina finished off Fantilli, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2 singles. Encina, who captured All-America honors as a junior last season, looks to be beginning to return to form after missing three matches due to injury earlier in the spring.
Freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) then provided the match-clinching point for UT, when she downed Caliari by a score of 7-5, 6-3 at the No. 4 spot. Following the victory, Griffith now boasts a singles mark of 22-7 this season.
With wind gusts steadily increasing, the Lady Vols posted another victory, as Robards finished off Chiarelli, 6-0, 7-6(5), at No. 3 singles just as rain began to pour down upon the courts.
One singles match, however, was still unfinished, as freshman Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) led Espinal, 6-2, 3-3, on court No. 6. Due to the now unplayable outside conditions, the players, officials and coaches hurried inside Goodfriend Tennis Center to complete the final match. Once inside, Jones quickly rattled off three straight games to grab a 6-2, 6-3 win, and bring the final score to 6-1 in favor of Tennessee.
Thanks to the victory, the Orange and White now boast a 19-10 advantage in the all-time series against the Bayou Bengals, which includes five wins in a row. Last year, the Lady Vols downed LSU, 6-1, in Baton Rouge.
Next up, 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. #56 LSU
Knoxville, Tenn. - March 7, 2004
Final score: UT 6, LSU 1
No. 1 #77 Jessica Ferguson (LSU) def. #62 Sabita Maharaj (UT), 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 #27 Tammy Encina (UT) def. Rocia Fantilli (LSU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 Ashley Robards (UT) def. Marina Chiarelli (LSU), 6-0, 7-6(5)
No. 4 Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Camila Caliari (LSU), 7-5, 6-3
No. 5 Majen Immink (UT) def. Lauren Seaman (LSU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 Victoria Jones (UT) def. Daysi Espinal (LSU), 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 5, 2, 4*, 3, 6
No. 1 Encina/Schaub (UT) def. Fantilli/Seaman (LSU), 8-7(4)
No. 2 Maharaj/Robards (UT) def. Chiarelli/Ferguson (LSU), 8-1
No. 3 Immink/Kray (UT) def. Calari/Espinal (LSU), 8-3
Order of finish: 2, 3*, 1