March 25, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 21-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team earned a big road victory on Friday, defeating No. 12 Arkansas, 6-1, at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
In a match that was much closer than the final score indicated, Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick was thrilled with his team's resolve.
"I'm proud of our team," Patrick said. "We had some great performances today against a quality opponent. We really played hard and competed hard."
UT (12-4, 4-0) set the tone for the match with its come-from-behind victory at No. 2 doubles. After the teams split contests at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles, the fate of the doubles point rested on the outcome at court two. The Big Orange duo of Rosalía Alda and Maria Sorbello battled back from an early 5-2 deficit to take a 7-6 lead.
Kate Lukomskaya and Stephanie Roy refused to go quietly. The Razorback duo broke UT's serve and proceeded to hold serve in the ensuing game to move ahead, 8-7. However, Alda and Sorbello were able to force a tiebreaker, where they were victorious, 7-5.
Patrick said that the experience of his seniors really shined through in doubles action.
"All three of our seniors contributed big in doubles," Patrick said. "It was a big, pressure-filled match and they handled it well. They looked solid and played great. I couldn't be more proud of them."
In singles, UT needed to win just three matches to clinch a victory. The Razorbacks took the first set on three courts and held a lead at No. 1 singles, but in a similar outcome as doubles, Natalie Pluskota fought back and won her first set against No. 22 Anouk Tigu in a tiebreaker.
Alda and Sorbello each took their matches in straight sets to put Tennessee ahead, 3-0. After Jade Frampton defeated Millie Nichols at No. 6 singles, Pluskota clinched the win for the Orange and White, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Tennessee is now 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play, but Patrick knows that things don't get any easier from here.
"Every match the rest of the way will be like today," Patrick said. "Hopefully we can take care of business. Today we played well against a great team and we hope we can duplicate that on Sunday."
The Lady Vols conclude a busy week with a home contest against No. 56 LSU on Sunday at Barksdale Stadium. First serve for that match is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET.
Live scoring and an interactive blog of the LSU match will be available at www.UTLadyVols.com
#21 Tennessee 6, #12 Arkansas 1
1. #42 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #22 Anouk Tigu (ARK) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
2. Rosalía Alda (TENN) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-2, 6-3
3. #36 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Claudine Paulson (ARK) 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4
5. Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Emily Carbone (ARK) 6-3, 6-1
6. Jade Frampton (ARK) def. Millie Nichols (TENN) 6-4, 6-4
1. #26 Claudine Paulson/Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. #59 Natalie Pluskota/Millie Nichols (TENN) 8-5
2. Maria Sorbello/Rosalía Alda (TENN) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 9-8 (7-5)
3. Kata Szekely/Jennifer Meredith (TENN) def. Emily Carbone/Jade Frampton (ARK) 8-5
Tennessee 12-4, 4-0; National ranking #21
Arkansas 13-5, 4-1; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,5,6,1,4,3)