March 20, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - After suffering just its second setback of the season earlier this week, the No. 12 University of Tennessee returned to the win column on Friday afternoon, claiming its second 7-0 sweep of the year as it shut out the University of Central Florida (8-6) at the UCF Tennis Complex in Orlando, Fla. With the win, the Lady Volunteers move to 10-2 on the season, marking the fastest they have reached double-digit victories since opening the 2001 campaign 14-1, en route to a 25-4 overall record and berth in the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships.
For the ninth time in 12 matches, the Big Orange was the first team to crack the scoreboard, winning a pair of doubles contests to jump out to an early 1-0 lead over the Knights. The Tennessee tandem of senior Samantha Orlin and sophomore Maria Sorbello christened the contest with a quick 8-2 triumph over the UCF duo of Alexis Rodriguez and Andrea Yacaman on court two. Just moments later, junior Zsófia Zubor and sophomore Rosalía Alda joined forces for the Lady Vols to take out the Knight combo of Christy Core and Katie Orletsky, 8-4, at the third position in the lineup to clinch the all-important doubles point for UT.
Although the Orange and White had already decided the fate of the doubles point, UCF was determined to keep fighting on center court where the 27th-rated duo of Jenny Frisell and Elvira Serrot was taking on the UT pairing of sophomore Jennifer Meredith and freshman Natalie Pluskota. After the Lady Vols tied the contest at seven-all, the Knights brought their play to another level to win the tiebreaker, 7-4, and snap Meredith and Pluskota's 10-match winning streak together. With the loss, the duo is now 12-2 on the season, including a 4-1 mark in dual-match action.
Despite falling in the final doubles match, the Lady Vols did not let it affect their play in the singles portion of the contest, as they earned straight-set victories in five of their six matches. Meredith was the first to close out her opponent, dropping just a single game en route to her seventh consecutive singles win as she posted a 6-1, 6-0, triumph over Rodriguez on court four. Alda quickly followed suit just one court over at the third position, taking out Serrot, 6-3, 6-1.
With UT needing just one more point to seal the team victory, it turned to Sorbello despite the fact that she was playing just her second singles match of the spring and first since the squad defeated Purdue, 6-1, on Jan. 25. The Mackay, Australia, native showed few, if any, signs of rust, however, cruising to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Orletsky on court six to ensure the Big Orange would leave the Sunshine State with its 10th victory of the season.
With the pressure off, Tennessee continued to dominate as Zubor moved the Orange and White's lead on the scoreboard to 5-0 by defeating Core, 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 5 spot. The only Knight to pose any real threat all afternoon was Frisell on center court against Pluskota. After the UT rookie took the opening set, 6-2, Frisell bounced back to win the second frame by an identical score. Pluskota quickly regained her rhythm though and swept through the third and deciding set, 6-0, to keep her squad on track for the shutout. The final point of the afternoon came on court two where Orlin, playing in her home state of Florida, took out Yacaman, 6-4, 6-2.
Tennessee will be back in action this Sunday when it returns home to Rocky Top to close out the non-conference portion of its schedule against No. 2-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are an impressive 15-2 on the season and are coming off a 5-2 victory over No. 29 Vanderbilt on Friday. First serve for the contest is set for 1 p.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville and admission is free. For those not able to attend the match, live scoring will be available at www.UTLadyVols.com.
|1. Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. Jenny Frisell (UCF)||6-2, 2-6, 6-0|
|2. Samantha Orlin (UT) def. Andrea Yacaman (UCF)||6-4, 6-2|
|3. Rosalía Alda (UT) def. Elvira Serrot (UCF)||6-3, 6-1|
|4. Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Alexis Rodriguez (UCF)||6-1, 6-0|
|5. Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Christy Core (UCF)||6-1, 6-4|
|6. Maria Sorbello (UT) def. Katie Orletsky (UCF)||6-2, 6-1|
|1. No. 27 Jenny Frisell/Elvira Serrot (UCF) def. Natalie Pluskota/Jennifer Meredith (UT)||8-7 (4)|
|2. Maria Sorbello/Samantha Orlin (UT) def. Alexis Rodriguez/Andrea Yacaman (UCF)||8-2|
|3. Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Christy Core/Katie Orletsky (UCF)||8-4|
|Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,3,6*,5,1,2)|