March 13, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite playing on the road for the first time in over a month, the No. 12 University of Tennessee women's tennis team showed no signs of slowing down its recent run of success, moving to 9-1 overall and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play with a 5-2 victory over No. 22 South Carolina (7-5, 1-2 SEC) on Friday afternoon at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C. Senior Samantha Orlin improved her winning streak to eight consecutive singles matches, while sophomore Jennifer Meredith clinched the win for the second time in three contests.
For the sixth match in a row, the Big Orange came away with the doubles point, sweeping all three contests. The duo of sophomore Rosalía Alda and junior Zsófia Zubor, playing together for the first time this spring, got UT off to a quick start, blanking the USC pairing of Miljana Jocic and Ashley Miller, 8-0, at the No. 3 position.
The Tennessee tandem of junior Caitlin Whoriskey and freshman Natalie Pluskota then clinched the point for the Orange and White with an 8-6 triumph over the No. 45-ranked team of Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori on center court. The duo is now 6-0 on the season, including a 3-0 mark against ranked squads. Orlin and sophomore Maria Sorbello then completed the doubles sweep with an 8-6 win over Gira Schofield and Dijana Stojic at the second position in the lineup.
Despite having grabbed the early lead, the Lady Vols did not hold on to it for long as South Carolina quickly tied at 1-1 when Zubori, ranked 49th in the nation, snapped Pluskota's five-match winning streak with a 6-1, 6-2 victory on court two. UT got the point right back though, as the 57th-ranked Whoriskey defeated No. 33 Schofield, 6-3, 7-5, on center court. The Orange and White advantage improved to two just moments later when Orlin took out Stojic in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, at the third position to make it 3-1 in favor of the Big Orange. The win was her eight straight in singles play and moved her dual-match record to an impressive 9-1. She also improved her overall record to 17-6, tying her for the team lead with Pluskota and Zubor.
The Gamecocks refused to go away without a fight though, and Vuckovic was able to cut her team's deficit to just a single point with a hard-fought, 7-6 (5), 6-4, triumph over Alda at the No. 4 slot in the lineup. Tennessee then turned to sophomore Jennifer Meredith on court five to seal the deal for the second time in a week. Just as she was able to do against Mississippi State on March 6, the Marietta, Ga., native came through in the clutch for the Big Orange, scoring a 6-1, 6-1, win over Jocic to ensure UT's sixth consecutive victory.
With the outcome of the match already decided, the decision was made for the contest on court six, featuring Zubor and Miller, to be played to a single-set super tie breaker instead of the full three sets. Zubor wasted little time jumping out to a 4-1 lead, en route to an eventual 8-4 victory that finalized the match score at 5-2 for Tennessee.
The Lady Vols will next be in action this Sunday when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on No. 23 Florida at 1 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex. From there, the Orange and White will remain in the Sunshine State for a 2 p.m. showdown with UCF in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, March 20.
|1. No. 57 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. No. 33 Gira Schofield (USC)||6-3, 7-5|
|2. No. 49 Ana Marija Zubori (USC) def. Natalie Pluskota (UT)||6-1, 6-2|
|3. Samantha Orlin (UT) def. Dijana Stojic (USC)||6-4, 6-4|
|4. Natasa Vuckovic (USC) def. Rosalía Alda (UT)||7-6 (5), 6-4|
|5. Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Miljana Jocic (USC)||6-1, 6-1|
|6. Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Ashley Miller (USC)||8-4|
|1. Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 45 Natasa Vuckovic/Ana Marija Zubori (USC)||8-6|
|2. Samantha Orlin/Maria Sorbello (UT) def. Gira Schofield/Dijana Stojic (USC)||8-6|
|3. Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Miljana Jocic/Ashley Miller (USC)||8-0|
|Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,1,3,4,5*,6)|