April 3, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After narrowly losing the doubles point to No. 9 Florida, the 25th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team was unable to secure the four singles victories necessary to win the match and fell to the Gators, 5-2.
Highlighting the Big Orange efforts in Sunday's contest was a win at No. 2 doubles by junior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio / Lexington H.S.) and freshman Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa / Damelin College) over Florida's ninth-ranked tandem of Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan, 8-5.
The Gator pair had won the prestigious Riviera/ITA All-American Women's Tennis Championships and was the highest doubles team that a Lady Vol tandem had defeated since May 20, 2004. On that date, Tammy Encina and Majen Immink topped second-ranked Kelly Schmandt and Aleke Tsoubanos of Vanderbilt in the Round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament, 8-5.
"I thought today was a better match for them in general," Co-Head Coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "We talked a little bit of what they needed to work on to get better from Friday's match (a 9-7 loss to South Carolina's Fallon Koon and Danielle Wiggins) to today, to play better-percentage, smart tennis and play within themselves.
At the No. 1 position, the Lady Vol pair of junior Sabita Maharaj
(Gainesville, Fla. / Buchholz H.S.) and freshman Bryce Marable (Darien, Ill. /
Hinsdale South H.S.) would fall to Florida's 11th-ranked tandem of Zerene
Reyes and Jennifer Magley by an 8-6 count, meaning the match on court three
would decide which team would be able to secure the doubles point. At that
time, Florida's Boglarka Berecz and Nina Suvak led UT's tandem of freshman
Daron Moore (North Hollywood, Calif. / Campbell Hall School) and senior Ashley
Robards (Henderson, Ky. / Henderson County H.S.), 7-6.
The Lady Vol pair took control by securing the next two games for an 8-7 advantage, but the Gators tied it at 8-all to force a tiebreaker. The decider was close throughout as neither team was able to secure greater than a one-point lead until Berecz and Suvak tallied the final two points for a 10-8 Gator victory. Each pair had two match points (UT's were at 6-5 and 7-6, while Florida's came at 8-7 and 9-8).
Tennessee needed to win four-of-six singles matches to record its first win over Florida in school history (UT entered today's contest 0-27 all-time versus the Gators) and got off to a good start with a pair of wins.
First to be completed was sophomore Victoria Jones' (Tyne & Wear, U.K. / South Tyneside College) 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Suvak at three. After playing 16 consecutive matches at the four position (compiling a 14-2 record), Jones moved up to three for the impressive victory.
Schutte gave UT a 2-1 advantage with a 6-4, 6-0 win at court six over Frangulyan. After starting 0-3 in dual matches this season, the South African native has now won five-of-seven contests in dual-match action.
Florida tied the contest, 2-2, when No. 17 Reyes took a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 2 over sophomore Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va. / Loudoun County H.S.).
The Gators took back the lead, 3-2, when Benik secured a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Marable at court four. A pair of UF wins by ranked players then gave the Gators the final two tallies of the match. In the No. 1 contest, 12th-ranked Magley was able to defeat No. 42 Maharaj, 7-6, 6-1, while 63rd-ranked Berecz earned a 6-2, 7-5 win at court five over Robards.
"It was a tough loss," Hahn-Patrick said. "Our team fought hard and had a lot of missed opportunities. When you have a young team like that, it happens. They just have to learn to take those opportunities and capitalize on them.
Tennessee continues its stretch of playing four consecutive top-10 opponents next weekend, taking on No. 7 Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. on Friday and fifth-ranked Kentucky at 1 p.m. next Sunday. The Lady Vols conclude regular-season play with a noon contest versus No. 3 Georgia at noon on April 16.
#9 Florida 5, #25 Tennessee 2
1. #12 Jennifer Magley (UF) def. #42 Sabita Maharaj (UT) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
2. #17 Zerene Reyes (UF) def. Blakeley Griffith (UT) 6-1, 6-1
3. Victoria Jones (UT) def. Nina Suvak (UF) 6-2, 6-2
4. Whitney Benik (UF) def. Bryce Marable (UT) 6-2, 6-4
5. #63 Boglarka Berecz (UF) def. Ashley Robards (UT) 6-2, 7-5
6. Ghizela Schutte (UT) def. Lolita Frangulyan (UF) 6-4, 6-0
1. #11 Jennifer Magley/Zerene Reyes (UF) def. Sabita Maharaj/Bryce Marable (UT) 8-6
2. Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (UT) def. #9 Whitney Benik/Lolita Frangulyan (UF) 8-5
3. Boglarka Berecz/Nina Suvak (UF) def. Daron Moore/Ashley Robards (UT) 9-8 (10-8)
Florida 12-2, 6-2 SEC; National ranking #9
Tennessee 12-6, 5-3 SEC; National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,6,2,4,1,5)