March 26, 2006

Box Score |  Photo Gallery

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With a 5-2 win over the Auburn Tigers (5-11, 0-6 Southeastern Conference) at the UT Varsity Courts on Sunday afternoon, the University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (9-7) moved to 5-1 in SEC play for the first time in two seasons.

The victory allowed the Big Orange to remain in a tie for third place in the overall league standings. UT trails Florida and Vanderbilt, who are both 6-0, and takes on the Commodores in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday.

"To be 5-1 in the conference is excellent," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "The effort from the girls who all had to play through nagging things (throughout the season), they have done an outstanding job. They should be proud of being 5-1.

The Lady Vols immediately took control of the contest with wins in the first two doubles matches to finish, clinching the doubles tally. At court two, juniors Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) topped Irina Pljusznyin and Leigh Tippins by an 8-3 score. The two took control with a 5-0 advantage in the match and have now won four straight.

At the first court, senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) and sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) defeated Whitney Chappell and Alex Haney, 8-2, helped by a 5-0 run in the middle of the contest with earned the Lady Vol duo a commanding 6-1 edge.

Unfortunately for the Lady Vols, the No. 3 team of freshmen Stephanie Harris (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Samantha Orlin (Miami, Fla.) failed to hold onto a 7-1 lead and fell to Tori Almagno and Ashley Cowart, 9-7.



"I was a little disappointed we let up at 3 doubles and let them get some momentum back," Patrick said. "That made singles tougher than they could have been. We have got to remember to close out matches when we have the opportunity. We learned something today and hopefully we can get better and learn for next weekend.

Auburn tied the team score, 1-1, when Harris dropped a 6-1, 6-1 decision at No. 6 to Tippins. Orlin secured a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Erin Gray to give Tennessee the lead back at 2-1. She was down, 3-0, in the second set before securing the final six games for the win, her fourth in a row.

The Tigers tied the contest once again, 2-2, when Schaub fell at No. 2 to Haney, 6-3, 6-1. Tennessee, however, put the match away with wins in the final three singles match-ups. Next to finish was Schutte, who secured the final eight games of her contest to claim a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 4 over Pljusznyin. She has also claimed four straight decisions.

Clinching the team result was Griffith, as she toppled Almagno, 6-1, 6-2, on court three for her fourth consecutive win. She secured the final three games and four of five. Completing the 5-2 win was Jones, who claimed a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 1 against Chappell, a Knoxville native who attended Webb School. She ended a personal five-match losing streak with the win.

The victory was the 14th in a row for the Lady Vols over Auburn.

Tennessee next takes on No. 12 Vanderbilt (15-2, 6-0 SEC) in a road contest, which begins at 2:30 p.m. CST on Friday. The Lady Vols continue their road trip with a noon contest at No. 29 Kentucky (12-6, 5-1 SEC) next Sunday. UT completes its home slate the following weekend with matches against No. 52 Ole Miss at 5 p.m. on April 7 and Mississippi State at 1 p.m. on April 9.

#24 Tennessee 5, Auburn 2

Singles competition
1.Victoria Jones (TN) def. Whitney Chappell (AU)6-4, 6-2
2.Alex Haney (AU) def. Melissa Schaub (TN)6-3, 6-1
3.Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Tori Almagno (AU)6-1, 6-2
4.Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Irina Pljusznyin (AU)6-4, 6-0
5.Samantha Orlin (TN) def. Erin Gray (AU)6-0, 6-3
6.Leigh Tippins (AU) def. Stephanie Harris (TN)6-1, 6-1
Doubles competition
1.Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Whitney Chappell/Alex Haney (AU)8-2
2.Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) def. Irina Pljusznyin/Leigh Tippins (AU)8-3
3.Tori Almagno/Ashley Cowart (AU) def. Stephanie Harris/Samantha Orlin (TN)9-7

Match Notes:
Auburn 5-11, 0-6 SEC
Tennessee 9-7, 5-1 SEC; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,5,2,4,3,1)



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