March 27, 2005
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The 19th-ranked Lady Vol tennis squad dropped a 4-2 decision to host Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference contest on Sunday. Tennessee has now ended the road portion of its SEC schedule with a 4-2 league mark and will complete the regular season with a quintet of home SEC matches. Overall, the loss dropped the Lady Vols' record to 11-5. The No. 34 Lady Bulldogs improved to 9-3, 3-3 in the SEC, with the win.
The 21st-ranked Lady Bulldog pair of Zsuzsanna Fodor and Anastasia Kugakolova defeated UT's No. 1 duo of junior Sabita Maharaj (Gainesville, Fla. / Buchholz H.S.) and freshman Bryce Marable (Darien, Ill. / Hinsdale South H.S.) by an 8-1 score, ending an impressive week-long stretch which saw the Lady Vol duo defeat the 18th- and 24th-ranked doubles teams in the country.
Shortly thereafter, the MSU No. 2 doubles team of Polina Kokoulina and Magdi Rekasi topped junior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio / Lexington H.S.) and freshman Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa / Damelin College), 8-0.
As the doubles point was already clinched and the match was moved indoors after one game was played in the three doubles contests due to rainy conditions to MSU's two-court McCarthy Gym, the No. 3 contest between UT's freshman Daron Moore (North Hollywood, Calif. / Campbell Hall School) and senior Ashley Robards (Henderson, Ky. / Henderson County H.S.) and MSU's Hayley and Tarryn Rudman went unfinished. The Lady Bulldog duo held a 3-2 lead at the time the match was stopped.
Mississippi State took a 2-0 advantage when the No. 1 singles match saw No. 21 Fodor defeat UT's 42nd-ranked Maharaj, 6-1, 6-0. Tennessee took a point back for a narrow 2-1 deficit after sophomore Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va. / Loudoun County H.S.) earned an impressive 7-5, 6-4 win versus Kugakolova.
The No. 3 Lady Bulldog player, Tarryn Rudman, earned MSU its third team point with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 win over Marable. Kokoulina then clinched the team win with a 6-1, 6-2 victory versus Robards.
At No. 4, sophomore Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K. / South Tyneside College) was victorious over Renee Joseph, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), (10-5), after taking the final four games in the super tiebreaker. Jones kept her hot run this season going with her 13th win in 15 contests.
The No. 6 match-up with Schutte and Rekasi did not start as the teams had played seven-and-a-half hours already up to that point on the two indoor courts.
"We couldn't adapt to the faster, different courts (indoors) and get our timing and rhythm down," Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said.
The Lady Bulldog win continued a resurgence of their tennis program as MSU was able to end a 20-match UT winning streak in contests played between the two schools. Coming into this season, the Lady Bulldogs had not won more than three SEC contests in a season since the 1991 squad went 4-7. MSU's three SEC victories this season is equal to its combined total for the last three seasons. Tennessee now leads the all-time series, 25-4.
Tennessee now returns home to complete the regular season. The Lady Vols play host to No. 27 South Carolina (5 p.m. on Friday) and No. 17 Florida (1 p.m. next Sunday) before taking on three top-10 squads to end its regular season: No. 8 Vanderbilt (5 p.m. on April 8), No. 3 Kentucky (1 p.m. on April 10) and No. 4 Georgia (noon on April 16). The SEC Tournament will be played April 21-24 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
|#34 Mississippi State 4, #19 Tennessee 2|
|Singles (Order of finish: 1, 2, 3, 5*, 4)|
|1. #21 Zsuzsanna Fodor (MSU) def. #42 Sabita Maharaj (UT)||6-1, 6-0|
|2. Blakeley Griffith (UT) def. Anastasia Kugakolova (MSU)||7-5, 6-4|
|3. Tarryn Rudman (MSU) def. Bryce Marable (UT)||6-2, 1-6, 6-2|
|4. Victoria Jones (UT) def. Renee Joseph (MSU)||7-5, 6-7 (4-7), (10-5)|
|5. Polina Kokoulina (MSU) def. Ashley Robards (UT)||6-1, 6-2|
|6. Ghizela Schutte (UT) vs. Magdi Rekasi (MSU)||did not start|
|Doubles (Order of finish: 2, 1*)|
|1. Fodor/Kugakolova (MSU) def. Maharaj/Marable (UT)||8-1|
|2. Kokoulina/Rekasi (MSU) def. Schaub/Schutte (UT)||8-0|
|3. Rudman/Rudman (MSU) vs. Moore/Robards (UT)||3-2, unfinished|