Vilmarie Castellvi recorded a 6-2, 6-1 victory over #22 Lindsay Dawaf.
April 4, 2003
The University of Florida's mastery of the University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis squad almost came to end Friday evening under the lights at UT Varsity Courts in Knoxville, as the No. 5 Gators won by a single point, 4-3. Eleventh-ranked Tennessee fell to 0-25 all-time versus Florida with the loss. UT is now 17-5 on the season and 7-2 in the SEC, while the Gators are 20-2 and 8-1 in league action.
"Florida has a great team," said UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. "We still have to find out where we can get that fourth point. We had opportunities but didn't take advantage of what we were given. I think we learned something from this today, which is good because we might run into (Florida) again in the SEC Tournament. We'll practice hard tomorrow and get ready for a tough match with South Carolina on Sunday.
"I thought our seniors Vilmarie (Castellvi) and Crystal (Cleveland) played very well for us. Tammy (Encina) also stepped her game up and came through."
Tennessee fell behind early, 1-0, when the Gators took the doubles point. Florida registered the first victory at the No. 2 slot, where sophomore Alexis Gordon and junior Julie Rotondi upset UT's 35th-rated tandem of junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink, 8-4. It was only the duo's second loss on the year and their first in SEC play. Encina and Immink are now 13-2 overall.
Seconds after dropping two doubles, the Lady Vols answered with a win at No. 3 doubles. The 52nd-ranked team of senior Crystal Cleveland and freshman Sabita Maharaj defeated junior Lindsay Dawaf and senior Julia Scaringe, 8-5, to move to 10-1 on the season and 8-0 in conference play.
As all eyes turned to the No. 1 court, UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi and rookie Melissa Schaub, the nation's No. 6-billed tandem, were trailing the No. 37 combo of freshman Jennifer Magley and sophomore Zerene Reyes, 7-3. Castellvi and Schaub managed to cut the deficit in half after breaking Reyes' serve and holding on Castellvi's, but Magley held serve for the 8-5 triumph.
UT knotted the match up at 1-1 when Castellvi, ranked No. 3 in the country, redeemed herself with a straight-set victory over 22nd-rated Dawaf at the top slot, 6-1, 6-2. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native moved to 35-4 on the year with the win and 20-1 at No. 1 singles. Castellvi has won 14 straight matches and is 14-1 versus opponents ranked in the top 25.
Florida regained the upper hand, 2-1, when No. 30 Rotondi posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Schaub at the No. 4 hole. Schaub saw her record fall to 20-14 and 14-7 in dual matches with the loss.
The Lady Vols tied the contest once again when the 104th-ranked Cleveland pulled a stunning upset at three singles over Reyes, ranked No. 29, 6-2, 6-3. Cleveland is now 28-8 on the season and 19-3 in duals. She is also undefeated in SEC play with a 9-0 record and has won 18 of her last 19 matchups.
The Gators snatched the advantage right back, 3-2, when No. 72 Magley won in straight sets over sophomore Ashley Robards, 6-4, 6-2, at the No. 6 position. The loss snapped Robards' nine-match unbeaten streak, downing her record to 17-12 and 12-5 in duals.
UF secured the win at the No. 5 spot, where 12th-ranked Gordon recovered from a 6-2 setback in the first stanza to upend Maharaj. Gordon won the second and third sets both by 6-3 counts. Maharaj fell to 13-12 with the loss and 7-7 in dual match competition.
The lone match that remained was between Encina and No. 41 Scaringe at two singles. Encina eked out the first set in a tiebreaker, but suffered a 6-4 defeat in the second. Since Florida had already clinched the victory, a super tiebreaker was played for the third frame, which Encina won by a 10-8 score. The Miami Beach, Fla., native upped her ledger to 19-13 and 11-8 in duals with the conquest. It was also her seventh win this season versus a ranked opponent.
The Lady Vols will be in action again on Sunday, April 6, when they host No. 34 South Carolina at 1 p.m. at UT Varsity Courts and Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Final Score: #11 Tennessee (17-5, 7-2 SEC) 3, #5 Florida (20-2, 8-1 SEC) 4
|No. 1||#3 Vilmarie Castellvi (UT) def. #22 Lindsay Dawaf (UF)||6-1, 6-2|
|No. 2||Tammy Encina (UT) def. #41 Julia Scaringe (UF)||7-6, 4-6, (10-8)|
|No. 3||#104 Crystal Cleveland (UT) def. #29 Zerene Reyes (UF)||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 4||#30 Julie Rotondi (UF) def. Melissa Schaub (UT)||6-2, 6-3|
|No. 5||#12 Alexis Gordon (UF) def. Sabita Maharaj (UT)||2-6, 6-3, 6-3|
|No. 6||#72 Jennifer Magley (UF) def. Ashley Robards (UT)||6-4, 6-2|
|Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3, 6, 5*, 2|
|No. 1||#37 Magley/Reyes (UF) def. #6 Castellvi/Schaub (UT)||8-5|
|No. 2||Gordon/Rotondi (UF) def. #35 Encina/Majen Immink (UT)||8-4|
|No. 3||#52 Cleveland/Maharaj (UT) def. Dawaf/Scaringe (UF)||8-5|
|Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1*|
* clinching point