March 15, 2006

Box Score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (7-7) won the battle of the oranges on Wednesday evening, earning a significant victory over No. 11 Texas (8-6) by a 5-2 score. The victory was the first in 12 meetings between the teams. They have played 11 times since 1990, along with a meeting in 1980.

The win is the second in a row against a top-20 team, following a dramatic 4-3 Southeastern Conference win at No. 19 South Carolina on Sunday. The Lady Vols have played a challenging schedule in 2006, as six matches are versus teams who are currently ranked in the top 15 nationally. Tennessee has now won five of six contests and two straight.

Texas is the defending NCAA National Finalist along with the 2006 USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Finalist, falling in both finals to No. 1 Stanford, who is currently riding a 71-match winning streak.

"It was an absolute team effort on every single person's part in the last couple weeks," Co-Head Coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "Everyone's game is coming together now that we're playing outdoors (UT is 3-1 outdoors). Getting wins early in the season is building their confidence, and they are starting to understand that hard work as a team is starting to pay off. Having that good win against South Carolina really helped to carry the momentum and confidence into today's match.

"I'm really proud of the girls. They've endured so much (the early challenging road schedule and tough losses). I think all that they endured made them tougher in situations like this. It's exciting for them and exciting for our program to beat a quality program in Texas. This is a great confidence builder for our girls and a great win for our program.

The teams split the first two doubles matches to put the outcome in the No. 1 match. At No. 2, juniors Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) earned a dominating 8-0 win over Kelly Baritot and Kendra Strohm, the first love win of the season for the pair. At No. 3, freshmen Stephanie Harris (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Samantha Orlin (Miami, Fla.) dropped an 8-3 decision to Petra Dizdar and Marija Milic. The Texas duo pulled away from a 2-2 tie for its win.



All eyes then turned to court one, where senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) and sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) were in a tight match with Mia Marovic and Courtney Zauft. After Schaub suffered a left knee injury with the Lady Vol tandem down, 4-2, she was treated, and she and Schutte proceeded to immediately go on a 5-1 run for a 7-5 advantage. At that point, the Texas duo secured three straight games for an 8-7 edge before UT tied the score, 8-8, to force a deciding tiebreaker. That was taken by a 7-3 score. Schaub and Schutte have now won five of six, all played at the No. 1 position.

It marked the second straight match in which Tennessee took a doubles point on a tiebreaker in the final match to finish play, as Griffith and Jones earned a dramatic result as well on Sunday, topping South Carolina's Christyn Lucas and Danielle Wiggins, 9-8 (14-12).

The essential doubles point helped Tennessee gain momentum in the match. The first match to finish came on court two where Schaub dropped a 6-4, 6-3 decision to No. 57 Dizdar. She rallied in the first set from 4-1 down to make it 4-3 and took a 3-0 lead in the second set before falling to the Longhorn.

Harris earned a 7-5, 6-0 win at court six over Ristine Olson to give Tennessee the lead once again at 2-1, which it would not relinquish. Harris' 6-0 win in the second set was the first love-set win for the freshman in 2005-06.

Griffith would give UT a commanding 3-1 advantage with a 6-4, 6-4 win at court three versus Strohm. She trailed the first set, 3-0, before rallying for the victory. The second set saw neither player take greater than a two-game advantage.

The team victory was clinched on court four as Schutte defeated No. 125 Zauft, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. After Zauft took a 4-1 lead in the first set, Schutte rallied with four straight games won. After the win was complete, the Lady Vols who had completed their own singles matches rushed to Schutte to celebrate the impressive victory. The contest was just the second ever for Schutte versus a nationally-ranked opponent and was her first victory (she dropped a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 decision to No. 76 Debra Streifler of Michigan on Feb. 19).

Jones fell in her contest at court one, dropping a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision to 71st-ranked Marovic. Orlin earned UT a fifth team point at No. 5 when she rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), (10-8) win. She trailed the second set, 6-5, before tying the set, winning the tiebreaker and then claiming the supertiebreaker.

The Lady Vols return to SEC action on March 24, playing host to No. 35 Alabama (currently 5-5, 3-1 SEC) at 5 p.m. on March 24. Tennessee will also play Auburn (4-8, 0-3 SEC) that weekend, taking on the Tigers at 1 p.m. on March 26. The Big Orange is currently tied for third place in the overall SEC standings at 3-1, trailing 4-0 Florida and Vanderbilt.

#25 Tennessee 5, #11 Texas 2

Singles competition
1.#71 Mia Marovic (TEXAS) def. Victoria Jones (TN)2-6, 6-4, 6-2
2.#57 Petra Dizdar (TEXAS) def. Melissa Schaub (TN)6-4, 6-3
3.Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Kendra Strohm (TEXAS)6-4, 6-4
4.Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. #125 Courtney Zauft (TEXAS)7-6 (8-6), 6-3
5.Samantha Orlin (TN) def. Kelly Baritot (TEXAS)4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-8)
6.Stephanie Harris (TN) def. Ristine Olson (TEXAS)7-5, 6-0
Doubles competition
1.Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Mia Marovic/Courtney Zauft (TEXAS)9-8 (7-3)
2.Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) def. Kelly Baritot/Kendra Strohm(TEXAS)8-0
3.Petra Dizdar/Marija Milic (TEXAS) def. Stephanie Harris/Samantha Orlin (TN)8-3

Match Notes:

Texas 8-6; National ranking #11
Tennessee 7-7; National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,6,3,4,1,5)



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