March 22, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In a match that was much closer than the final score might indicate, the 12th-ranked University of Tennessee women's tennis team (10-3) dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 2 Notre Dame (16-2) on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at the UT Varsity Courts in Knoxville, Tenn. Senior Samantha Orlin and sophomore Jennifer Meredith were responsible for the Lady Volunteers' two points, scoring wins on the third and fifth singles courts, respectively.
"This was a great opportunity for us to go out and get a win against one of the top teams in the country," UT Co-Head Coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "I thought we were very competitive throughout most of our lineup, unfortunately we just came up a little short. One good thing about these types of matches is that they allow you to see some of the areas where you need to continue to improve. Even though we didn't win, we learned a lot about ourselves today that, hopefully, will help us throughout the rest of the season."
For just the fourth time this year, the Big Orange was unable to come away with the doubles point, dropping contests on the first and second courts. Although the Fighting Irish would eventually win the doubles portion of the match, UT was the first to score a victory, as the duo of junior Zsófia Zubor and sophomore Rosalía Alda wasted little time in getting rid of its opponent, the UND combo of Shannon Mathews and Colleen Reilley, winning 8-1 at the third position in the lineup.
The Lady Vols were not able to take advantage of the quick win, however, as the Irish knotted things up with a triumph on the second court where Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik took out the UT pairing of senior Samantha Orlin and sophomore Maria Sorbello, 8-2. All eyes then turned to center court where the 32nd-ranked Tennessee tandem of junior Caitlin Whoriskey and freshman Natalie Pluskota had battled back from a 6-1 deficit to trail the No. 3-rated Notre Dame squad of Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling by a score of just 6-4. The Orange and White duo was able to score once more to bring itself within a single point before Tefft and Frilling found their rhythm and tallied back-to-back points to win the match and give the Fighting Irish the early 1-0 lead on the scoreboard.
Notre Dame kept its momentum going early on in singles play, scoring a quick win on court six where Kali Krisik defeated Zubor in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. The Lady Vols finally cracked the scoreboard just moments later, as Orlin made short work of Rafeal, tallying a 6-1, 7-5 triumph to put UT within one in the team score, 2-1.
The Fighting Irish got a big boost on center court by the 33rd-rated Tefft, however, as they moved within a single point of winning the match after she defeated the No. 48-ranked Whoriskey, 6-4, 6-2. Despite the uphill battle that it faced, Tennessee refused to give up though, fighting hard on all three remaining courts. Alda's match at the fourth position was a prime example of that, as she fought off a first-set shutout to win her second frame against Ciobanu in a tiebreaker. The Round Rock, Texas, native fell just short of her goal of victory, however, eventually falling, 0-6, 7-6 (5), 2-6, as Notre Dame ensured itself of the team victory.
Despite the fact that the final outcome had already been decided, both Pluskota and sophomore Jennifer Meredith continued to battle in each of their matches. Unfortunately for fans of the Orange and White, Pluskota's bid for her third win over a ranked opponent this season was dashed in a third-set tiebreaker as she was defeated by the 49th-ranked Frilling, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2). Meredith ended the contest on a high note for Tennessee though, becoming the first person to beat Mathews this spring as she claimed a come-from-behind triumph on court five, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, to run her singles winning streak to eight matches. The loss marked Mathews' first in 17 matches this spring and was just her fifth of the entire season.
The Big Orange will return to the courts next weekend when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the 21st-ranked University of Arkansas at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, March 27. UT will then return home to Rocky Top for a 1 p.m. showdown with No. 23 LSU two days later at the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville.
|1. #33 Kelcy Tefft (UND) def. #48 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT)||6-4, 6-2|
|2. #49 Kristy Frilling (UND) def. Natalie Pluskota (UT)||2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)|
|3. Samantha Orlin (UT) def. Kristen Rafael (UND)||6-1, 7-5|
|4. Cosmina Ciobanu (UND) def. Rosalia Alda (UT)||6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2|
|5. Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Shannon Matthews (UND)||4-6, 6-4, 6-3|
|6. Kali Krisik (UND) def. Zsofia Zubor (UT)||6-1, 6-2|
|1. #3 Kelcy Tefft/Kristy Frilling (UND) def. #32 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT)||8-5|
|2. Cosmina Ciobanu/Kali Krisik (UND) def. Samantha Orlin/Maria Sorbello (UT)||8-2|
|3. Zsofia Zubor/Rosalia Alda (UT) def. Shannon Matthews/Colleen Rielley (UND)||8-1|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,3,1,4,2,5)|