March 15, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 15 University of Tennessee women's tennis team (9-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) fought hard, but fell just short in its bid for the program's first victory over Florida, suffering a 5-2 setback to the 23rd-ranked Gators (9-5, 3-1 SEC) on Sunday afternoon at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla. Despite the loss, the Lady Volunteers became the last of the 12 teams in the SEC to drop a conference match and remain in a tie at the top of the league standings.
For the first time in nearly a month-and-a-half, the Big Orange found itself in an early hole, dropping the doubles point to the Gators. Florida got the match started with an 8-1 victory on the second court where Marrit Boonstra and Joanna Mather joined forces to take out the UT combo of senior Samantha Orlin and sophomore Maria Sorbello. The Lady Vols returned the favor just moments later, however, as junior Zsófia Zubor and sophomore Rosalía Alda dominated the Gator duo of Barbara Pinterova and Lauren Wolken by an identical score of 8-1.
Upon the conclusion of the match on court three, all eyes turned to center court where the contest between the Tennessee tandem of junior Caitlin Whoriskey and freshman Natalie Pluskota and the 69th-ranked Gator pairing of Anastasia Revzina and Jessica Alexander was all tied up at 4-4. Both squads held serve for the next five games, before the Florida duo finally broke UT to win 8-6. The loss by Whoriskey and Pluskota was their first of the season after they won their initial six contests together.
The Orange and White did not remain trailing for long though, getting on the scoreboard and tying the match at 1-1 with Zubor cruising to an easy 6-1, 6-0, triumph over Lauren Wolken at the No. 6 slot in the lineup. The Hungary native now holds a team-best 18-6 overall singles record this year, including an impressive 9-2 mark in dual-match action. The Gators answered right back, however, scoring wins on courts four and two to move with a single point of winning the match. Alexander was the first to finish, taking down Alda, 7-5, 6-2, before the 48th-rated Revzina handed Pluskota a 6-4, 6-1 defeat.
Now behind 3-1 in the team score, the Lady Vols needed wins on all three remaining courts if they wanted to secure the first victory over Florida in program history. Meredith kept the hopes of the UT faithful alive for a while, coming from behind to win her sixth consecutive match, tallying a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Pinterova at the fifth position. The Gators had other ideas though and Mather quickly dashed those hopes, downing Miami, Fla., native Orlin in a hard-fought three-set contest on court two, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1, to secure the win for UF. No. 8-ranked Boonstra then finished off the match with a come-from-behind win of her own, taking out No. 57 Whoriskey, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 1 position.
Tennessee will look to return to the win column later this week as it remains in the Sunshine State for a 2 p.m. contest against UCF on Friday, March 20. The Big Orange will then return to Rocky Top two days later, when it will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 1 p.m. showdown against No. 4 Notre Dame at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
|1.||No. 8 Marrit Boonstra (UF)||def.||No. 57 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT)||5-7, 6-3, 6-2|
|2.||No. 48 Anastasia Revzina (UF)||def.||Natalie Pluskota (UT)||6-4, 6-1|
|3.||Joanna Mather (UF)||def.||Samantha Orlin (UT)||6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1|
|4.||Jessica Alexander (UF)||def.||Rosalía Alda (UT)||7-5, 6-2|
|5.||Jennifer Meredith (UT)||def.||Barbara Pinterova (UF)||3-6, 6-1, 6-3|
|6.||Zsófia Zubor (UT)||def.||Lauren Wolken (UF)||6-1, 6-0|
|1.||No. 69 Anastasia Revzina/Jessica Alexander (UF)||def.||Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT)||8-6|
|2.||Marrit Boonstra/Joanna Mather (UF)||def.||Samantha Orlin/Maria Sorbello (UT)||8-1|
|3.||Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor (UT)||def.||Barbara Pinterova/Lauren Wolken (UF)||8-1|
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,4,2,5,3*,1)