March 19, 2004
The 29th-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team improved to 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play with a 4-3 victory over the 37th-ranked University of Mississippi on Friday evening at the UT Varsity Courts. With the win, the Lady Vols improve their record to 10-9 this season, while the Lady Rebels fall to 9-6 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.
"It was good for us to hang tough and win a close match," UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "We have had to overcome constant lineup changes this season, and today was a good learning experience for our team."
The Lady Rebel tandem of Florencia Basile and Karem Harboe started doubles play off with an 8-4 defeat of freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and sophomore Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla.) at the No. 3 position. Ole Miss then seized the doubles point, thanks to a victory at the No. 1 spot by Chloe Carlotti and Virginia Tomatis over senior Tammy Encina (Miami Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio).
The Lady Vol duo of junior Majen Immink (Kent, U.K.) and Breanna Kray (Surrey, B.C., Canada) provided UT's lone doubles victory with an 8-5 triumph at the No. 2 position. Immink and Kray, who have won four of their last five doubles matches, now boast a record of 9-3 this year.
UT freshman Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) evened the match score at 1-1 with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 victory over Basile at No. 5 singles. Jones is now riding a seven-match win streak, and owns a singles record of 18-9 in her first season of collegiate tennis.
Griffith then put the Lady Vols ahead 2-1 when she finished off Peppl, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 3 singles. Griffith has now won five of her last seven matches and owns a team-best singles record of 26-8.
Ole Miss, however, quickly tied the match at two points apiece, as Ladyman defeated Kray, 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 6 position. That lead would not last long, though, as Immink posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory against Tomatis at No. 4 singles to put UT ahead 3-2. Immink, who had a seven-match win streak snapped in Wednesday's match against No. 11 Texas, holds a 17-7 record in singles this season.
Tennessee then put the match away, when 73rd-ranked Maharaj notched a 6-1, 6-2 triumph at the No. 2 singles slot over UM's Harboe. Thanks to the win, the sophomore improves to 21-10 on the season.
With the match's outcome already decided, 75th-ranked Lady Rebel Chloe Carlotti outlasted 24th-ranked Encina, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 1 singles in the lone three-set match of the day.
The Lady Vols had to modify their lineup once again on Friday, as junior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky.), who normally plays at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles, was out due to injury. Lineup juggling has been a theme for UT this season, as several starters, including Robards, Encina and Immink, have all missed playing time due to injury.
Of Tennessee's nine losses this year, seven have come by scores of 3-4. Additionally, in their first 19 matches of the season, the Orange and White have faced 17 ranked opponents and 12 teams that received bids to the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Vols will host their final home match of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m., as the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs pay a visit to Knoxville. After this weekend, UT will have to hit the road for its five remaining SEC matches. During the first of those trips, Tennessee will take on No. 30 South Carolina on Fri., March 26 and No. 3 Florida on Sun., March 28.