Ashley Robards clinched the UT victory
March 14, 2003
BATON ROUGE, La.
The 11th-rated University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis squad had little trouble earning its 12th win of the year on Friday, as it coasted past No. 50 LSU, 6-1, in Baton Rouge, La. UT is now 12-3 on the year and 4-1 in SEC play. The Tigers fell to 7-7 and 1-4 in the conference with the defeat.
The Lady Vols gave another stellar performance in doubles by taking all three matches. The first win was registered by the No. 36 duo of junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink at two doubles. The pair upended freshman Marina Chiarelli and junior Jessica Ferguson, 8-6, to remain unbeaten at 8-0 on the season. Senior Crystal Cleveland and rookie Sabita Maharaj clinched the point at the third slot with a 9-7 victory over freshmen Camila Caliari and Daysi Espinal. UT's No. 5-rated combo of senior Vilmarie Castellvi and freshman Melissa Schaub wrapped things up at one doubles with an 8-5 triumph over junior Rocio Fantilli and freshman Lauren Seamen.
In singles, No. 56 Cleveland was the first member of the Orange and White to finish, trouncing Ferguson, 6-2, 6-1, at the No. 2 hole. The win extended the reigning SEC Player of the Week's winning streak to 12 matches and was the first of her career at two singles. All the Lady Vols, with the exception of Castellvi, were forced to move up a notch in the lineup so that Encina, their typical No. 2 player, could rest her ailing shin splints after the doubles.
The third-ranked Castellvi was next to come through for the Big Orange with another dominating outing at the top slot. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native took a straight-set decision over Fantilli, 6-0, 6-2, to move to 29-4 and 14-1 at one singles this season. It was Castellvi's eighth-straight conquest as well.
Earlier in the day, Castellvi was honored by her hometown newspaper El Nuevo D'a (The New Day) when it named her one of Puerto Rico's Women of the 21st Century. The announcement came in conjunction with Women's Week, an annual nationwide celebration. She is the first athlete in the history of the award to be recognized.
Sophomore Ashley Robards secured the victory for UT at the No. 5 slot when she handed Caliari a 6-2, 6-4 loss. The win upped her overall mark to 11-11 and 6-4 in dual match play. The Henderson, Ky., native is also riding a three-match unbeaten streak.
The Tigers recorded their lone win of the match at six singles, where Seamen took out Immink in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Maharaj gave Tennessee its fifth point by cruising past Espinal at the No. 4 slot, 6-4, 6-3. The win moved Maharaj back to .500 on the year at 9-9 and improved her record at four singles to 3-1.
Schaub's contest at three singles was the last to conclude, and it ended in her favor over Chiarelli, 6-4, 7-5. It was a much-needed triumph for the Lexington, Ohio, native who had not posted a mark in the win column in SEC play until today. Schaub's record currently stands at 16-12 and 10-5 in duals.
The Lady Vols will take on the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks on Sunday, March 16, in Fayetteville, Ark. The action kicks off at 1 p.m. CST.
Final Score: #11 Tennessee (12-3, 4-1 SEC) 6, #50 LSU (7-7, 1-4 SEC) 1
No. 1 #3 Vilmarie Castellvi (UT) def. Rocio Fantilli (LSU) 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 #56 Crystal Cleveland (UT) def. Jessica Ferguson (LSU) 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 Melissa Schaub (UT) def. Marina Chiarelli (LSU) 6-4, 7-5
No. 4 Sabita Maharaj (UT) def. Daysi Espinal (LSU) 6-4, 6-3
No. 5 Ashley Robards (UT) def. Camila Caliari (LSU) 6-2, 6-4
No. 6 Lauren Seamen (LSU) def. Majen Immink (UT) 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 5*, 6, 4, 3
No. 1 #5 Castellvi/Schaub (UT) def. Fantilli/Seaman (LSU) 8-5
No. 2 #36 Immink/Tammy Encina (UT) def. Chiarelli/Ferguson (LSU) 8-6
No. 3 Cleveland/Maharaj (UT) def. Caliari/Espinal (LSU) 9-7
Order of Finish: 2, 3*, 1
* clinching point