March 30, 2012
NASHVILLE - Senior Natalie Pluskota became just the eighth player in Tennessee history to reach 100 doubles wins, but the Lady Vol tennis team fell, 6-1, to Vanderbilt on Friday evening at the Currey Tennis Center.
The Newnan, Ga., native teamed with junior Kata Szekely for an 8-3 win over 27th-ranked Jackie Wu and Lauren Mira. Pluskota and Szekely, ranked 18th, have won all four of their dual matches together and are 11-1 in 2011-12.
"It's a great accomplishment," Pluskota said. "I'm excited about it and I hope to continue to add more wins. I didn't even realize it was my 100th victory, but it would've been better to celebrate it with a team win."
Now 100-32 in doubles action for her career, Pluskota joins Paula and Peta Kelly (156), Crystal Cleveland (119), Caitlin Whoriskey (113), Rosalia Alda (110), Zsofia Zubor (106) and Alison Ojeda (105) on the prestigious list.
"It's a good feat," said co-head coach Mike Patrick, who has now coached six of the eight winningest doubles players in UT history. "It's a benchmark on a really solid career here at Tennessee and it's something to be proud of."
The win evened things up in doubles after Tennessee (11-9, 2-5 SEC) defaulted court three.
On court two, an unfamiliar pairing of Brynn Boren and Jesse Grace was attempting to seal the doubles point for Tennessee. Playing together for the first time, the tandem put up a valiant effort before losing, 9-7, to Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares.
With Tennessee dropping the doubles point for just the third time in 20 matches, Vanderbilt (13-6, 5-2 SEC) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the Lady Vols were forced to default the bottom two spots of the singles lineup due to multiple injuries.
Winning her fifth consecutive match for the third time this season, Boren matched her season-high winning streak by scoring Tennessee's lone point, preventing a shutout as the last match to finish. Boren also won five straight earlier this season from Oct. 15-17 and Jan. 27-Feb. 10.
Boren, who has won eight of her last nine and is 5-1 in SEC play, defeated No. 34 Wu, despite losing a first-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (3). The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native battled back to win the second set, 6-4. With the team match decided, Boren won the third-set 10-point tiebreaker, 11-9.
"It's a team game," Patrick said. "Unfortunately, we're only having individual accolades right now. We've worked hard to be a good team. Injuries have prevented us from being one. We just have to keep working. We're working on making strides and we're going to keep fighting."
In singles, the Commodores took the first set on all four courts.
VU's momentum spilled over into the second sets, clinching the win on court three as No. 106 Casares defeated Joanna Henderson 6-2, 6-0.
The four-match skid marks Tennessee's first since losing four straight in March 2007.
The Lady Vols return to action Sunday at Kentucky for a Noon ET start.
#25 Vanderbilt 6, #19 Tennessee 1
1. #28 Brynn Boren (UT) def. #34 Jackie Wu (VU) 6-7 (3), 6-4, 1-0 (9)
2. #104 Lauren Mira (VU) def. #49 Kata Szekely (UT) 6-2, 6-3
3. #106 Marie Casares (VU) def. Joanna Henderson (UT) 6-2, 6-0
4. Ashleigh Antal (VU) def. Jesse Grace (UT) 6-2, 6-2
5. Vanderbilt by default
6. Vanderbilt by default
1. #18 Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (UT) def. #27 Jackie Wu/Lauren Mira (VU) 8-3
2. Ashleigh Antal/Marie Casares (VU) def. Brynn Boren/Jesse Grace (UT) 9-7
3. Vanderbilt by default
Order of finish: Doubles (3, 1, 2); Singles (5, 6, 3, 4, 2, 1)
Records: Tennessee (11-9, 2-5 SEC), Vanderbilt (13-6, 5-2 SEC)
LADY VOLS WITH 100 DOUBLES WINS
1. Paula & Peta Kelly (1978-82) - 156
3. Crystal Cleveland (1999-2003) - 119
4. Caitlin Whoriskey (2006-10) - 113
5. Rosalia Alda (2007-11) - 110
6. Zsofia Zubor (2006-10) - 106
7. Alison Ojeda (1998-2002) - 105
8. Natalie Pluskota (2008-Pres.) - 100