March 26, 2004
Lady Vol junior Majen Immink claimed her 10th victory in the last 11 matches to complete a dramatic, come-from-behind win for No. 26 Tennessee over No. 31 South Carolina on Friday afternoon in women's tennis. With its third win in a row, UT improves to 12-9 overall and 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Gamecocks fall to 10-6 overall, 3-4 in the SEC.
With South Carolina leading 3-1 late in the contest, Tennessee needed three straight singles victories to win the match. Momentum started to swing toward the Lady Vols when a triumph by freshman Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) at No. 3 singles cut USC's lead to 3-2. Griffith downed Laura Ganzer, 7-5, 6-3, to improve her team-best singles record to 28-8 on the season.
Freshman Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) then evened the match score at three points apiece with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Gamecock senior Fallon Koon at No. 5 singles. Jones is now riding an impressive nine-match winning streak during which she has not lost even one set, and she now holds an overall record of 20-9 in her first season of collegiate tennis.
Immink then sealed the match for the Lady Vols with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win over junior Magda Wojdylo at the No. 4 position. After having an eight-match win streak broken on March 17, Immink has bounced back with three straight wins and now boasts a singles record of 19-7 this season.
The match started off with some competitive doubles play, as USC's duo of Ganzer and Danielle Wiggins edged 39th-ranked Tammy Encina and Melissa Schaub, 9-7, at the No. 1 position to claim the tandem point for Carolina.
Ayako Suzuki and Wojdylo started doubles off with an 8-6 win over UT's Immink and Breanna Kray at the No. 3 slot to give Carolina the early advantage. The UT pair of Sabita Maharaj and Ashley Robards registered an 8-5 win over Koon and Christyn Lucas at the No. 2 spot to even things up, before USC claimed the doubles point with a win at No. 1.
Tennessee struck first in singles play, as 85th-ranked Maharaj cruised by Lucas, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 2 position. The sophomore from Gainesville, Fla., now owns a record of 23-10 this year in singles.
South Carolina, however, registered two straight singles wins to jump out to the 3-1 advantage. First, Wiggins defeated 27th-ranked Encina, 6-0, 6-1, at the No. 1 spot, then Walsh downed UT's Kray, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 6.
With the victory by Tennessee, the all-time series between UT and USC currently stands tied at 15 wins apiece. Last season, the Lady Vols claimed a 4-1 decision in Knoxville, while Carolina won the two previous meetings.
Tennessee continues its weekend of competition with a clash at No. 2 Florida on Sunday. After this weekend, the Lady Vols will have just three matches remaining before the SEC Championships, as Tennessee battles No. 5 Vanderbilt on Fri., April 2, No. 18 Kentucky on Sun., April 4, and No. 4 Georgia on Sat., April 10. This year's conference championships will be hosted by Vanderbilt over April 15-18 in Nashville.