March 13, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 21-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team defeated No. 8 Vanderbilt, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at Barksdale Stadium.
Entering today's match, co-head coach Mike Patrick knew Vanderbilt would be a difficult opponent. He said he was pleased to see how his team handled the challenge.
"We're proud of our team," Patrick said. "They came ready to play today. We've had great matches with Vanderbilt for a lot of years so we knew what to expect. We executed well and did what we needed to do."
Tennessee (9-3, 3-0) began the match by taking the doubles point for the 10th time in 12 matches this season. After the teams split matches at courts one and two, senior Jennifer Meredith and sophomore Kata Szekely recorded their 10th consecutive victory at No. 3 doubles to secure the point for the Big Orange.
Patrick said that taking the doubles point from an opponent as talented as the Commodores was a big momentum swing.
"(The doubles point) is always a big thing," Patrick said. "These matches all come down to the wire, so if you can get yourself a cushion, it helps out a ton. Vanderbilt is ranked in the top 10 for a reason and you can't afford to give a point away when it's there to take it."
In singles, freshman Millie Nichols won her 18th match of the season, topping Keilly Ulery, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 6. Minutes later, senior Rosalía Alda put UT in front, 3-0, with her straight set victory over Jackie Wu at No. 2 singles.
Junior Natalie Pluskota clinched the win for Tennessee with a hard-fought, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 win over No. 80 Alex Leatu at No. 1 singles. Szekely defeated No. 115 Lauren Mira, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 4 singles.
Tennessee has faced Vanderbilt more than any other opponent in school history. Today's win gives UT three straight victories over VU, as well as a 33-20 lead in the all-time series.
UT will now travel to Tampa, Fla., for a set of matches against ranked opponents. The Lady Vols will face No. 42 South Florida on Wednesday at 12 p.m. and No. 15 Notre Dame at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Both matches will be played at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
Live scoring will be available at www.gousfbulls.com.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols. Become a fan of Lady Vol tennis on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ladyvoltennis
#21 Tennessee 5, #8 Vanderbilt 2
1. #53 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #80 Alex Leatu (VU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2. #103 Rosalía Alda (TENN) def. Jackie Wu (VU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Chelsea Preeg (VU) def. #31 Brynn Boren (TENN) 5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5)
4. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. #115 Lauren Mira (VU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
5. #91 Rachael Dillon (VU) def. Maria Sorbello (TENN) 6-4, 6-4
6. Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Keilly Ulery (VU) 6-4, 6-2
1. #52 Rachael Dillon/Alex Leatu (VU) def. #64 Natalie Pluskota/Millie Nichols (TENN) 8-6
2. Rosalía Alda/Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Jackie Wu/Chelsea Preeg (VU) 8-3
3. Kata Szekely/Jennifer Meredith (TENN) def. Keilly Ulery/Lauren Mira (VU) 8-5
Vanderbilt 9-3, 2-2; National ranking #8
Tennessee 9-3, 3-0; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,2,5,1,4,3)