March 16, 2014
KNOXVILLE - In a match reminiscent of the last two meetings with South Carolina, the University of Tennessee women's tennis team earned a 4-2 comeback victory over the Gamecocks Sunday afternoon inside the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
The victory marked Tennessee's first SEC win this season, snapping a four-game losing skid, while the Lady Vols (5-8, 1-4 SEC) have now won five-straight over South Carolina (10-6, 1-4).
"It is not my first SEC win, but it is theirs," said co-head coach Mike Patrick. "Our freshman stepped up and played well in singles. We got blown out in the doubles and we repaid them for the lesson that they gave us. We will learn from that. We came out and played really tough in singles and I am really proud of our upperclassmen to be out there at the finish gutting it out."
Sophomore Tiffany Tavares sealed the win for the Lady Vols with a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles. Tavares, who sailed through the first set, had opportunities to win it in straight sets but fell in a second set tiebreak.
The Las Vegas, Nev. native was 1-10 all-time entering today's match in three-set matches after winning the first set, achieving her first ever win in that situation earlier this season against Utah using a 10-7 third set tiebreak.
For the first time in her career, Tavares bounced back and played out the entire third set to come away with the win.
"That was a big breakthrough for Tiffany to be able to calm down," said Patrick. "She had opportunities to put it away in straight sets and kind of gave it away a bit but came back and settled down a bit in the third and finished all business. That's going to help her a lot."
"For me it was just important for me to keep fighting," echoed Tavares. "I am at a point where I need to keep battling and fighting my way through that. Hopefully this will help me keep moving forward from that."
South Carolina had Tennessee's number in doubles play coming out strong and earning the first point of the match. Eve Repic and Victoria Olivarez fell 8-1 to No. 61 Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova on court one while Joanna Henderson and Tiffany Tavares dropped an 8-3 decision at No. 3 doubles to Caroline Dailey and Meghan Blevins.
Brittany Lindl tied the match at one-all for the Lady Vols racing out to a 6-0 lead in the first set. Lindl fell behind 0-3 in the second set, but then registered six straight points for the 6-0, 6-3 win.
Repic helped Tennessee to its first lead of the day when she captured a 6-2, 6-2 victory on court one, snapping a four-match losing streak for the freshman.
But South Carolina evened things up at two-all as Olivarez dropped a tough 6-4, 6-4 battle to No. 95 Brigit Folland on court four.
Tennessee regained the lead when Laurence Guevremont downed No. 112 Meghan Blevins, her first win over a ranked opponent in her Tennessee career, also giving UT a 3-2 match lead.
Tavares sealed the deal for the Lady Vols with her three-set win on court six.
Also battling hard on the day was sophomore Joanna Henderson who rallied for a 6-4 first set win, and battled back to even things at five-all in the second set where the match remained unfinished.
The Lady Vols are back in action with four matches this upcoming week on their spring break trip. UT will start the week off with a doubleheader at Murray State where they will face the Racers first followed by a match against Western Kentucky on Wednesday, March 19.
The trip will conclude with SEC matches at Vanderbilt on Friday, March 21 at 4 p.m. as a part of a double header with the men's team who will face the Commodores immediately after, and at Kentucky on Sunday, March 23 at 12 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
South Carolina vs Tennessee
Mar 16, 2014 at Knoxville, Tenn.
(Goodfriend Tennis Center)
#49 Tennessee 5, #54 South Carolina 2
1. #102 Eve Repic (UT) def. Elixane Lechemia (USC) 6-2, 6-2
2. Joanna Henderson (UT) def. Katerina Popova (USC) 6-4, 5-5, unf.
3. Laurence Guevremont (UT) def. #112 Meghan Blevins (USC) 6-4, 6-4
4. #95 Brigit Folland (USC) def. Victoria Olivarez (UT) 6-4, 6-4
5. Brittany Lindl (UT) def. Caroline Dailey (USC) 6-0, 6-3
6. Tiffany Tavares (UT) def. Dominika Kanakova (USC) 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4
1. #61 Elixane Lechemia/Dominika Kanakova (USC) def. Eve Repic/Victoria Olivarez (UT) 8-1
2. Brigit Folland/Katerina Popova (USC) def. Laurence Guevremont/Brittany Lindl (UT) 6-1
3. Caroline Dailey/Meghan Blevins (USC) def. Joanna Henderson/Tiffany Tavares (UT) 8-3
South Carolina 10-6, 1-4 SEC; National ranking #54
Tennessee 5-8, 1-4 SEC; National ranking #49
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (5,1,4,3)