April 5, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A high, top-spin lob shot by Caitlyn Williams over the head of her Arkansas opponent sealed the 4-2 victory for the University of Tennessee women's tennis team Friday night at Barksdale Stadium.
Williams, who battled her way through her singles match on an injured ankle, came back to force a first set tie break that didn't go in her favor 7-6 (4), earned a comeback 6-4 second set victory to force a third and deciding set and finally rallied back from being down 2-3 to reel off four straight games, two in four-point fashion, to earn the match-clinching point for the Lady Vols.
With the victory, the Lady Vols improve to 9-8 on the season and 6-4 in SEC action while Arkansas drops to 10-13 in 2013 and 3-8 in SEC play.
"We played a lot of matches this year that were in question, so it is not unusual and I felt good for Caits because she has been out there when it didn't go her way a couple times," said co-head coach Mike Patrick. "That was a big finish for her and hopefully it will help her out. It is great to get a win."
The Lady Vols started off the match dropping the doubles point to Arkansas. Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely extended their match win streak to eight games with a 8-4 win at court one over No. 74 ranked doubles team of Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker to begin the night.
However, the Lady Vols dropped tough 8-6 matches on courts two and three as the Razorbacks eked out the doubles point despite a hard fought effort by Tennessee.
"The girls had great effort," said Patrick. "Our execution wasn't perfect by any stretch, but our effort was great on every place. Those kind of matches help you grow up. Tiffany is starting to come into her own. We are overall pleased with the way the team competed.
Freshman Tiffany Tavares evened the score at one-all with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court five while her classmate Mimi Fotopoulos gave the Lady Vols their first lead on the day with a 6-2, 6-2 win at court four, her first career win at No. 4 singles.
On court two, No. 38 Kata Szekely ended her seven-match win streak with a tough 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss to No. 97 Claudine Paulson as Paulson evened the score at two-all for the Razorbacks.
But just as soon as the score became tied, No. 21 Brynn Boren battled to a 6-4, 7-5 victory at No. 1 singles to put the Lady Vols ahead 3-2 and give Williams the opportunity for the match winner.
At No. 6 singles, Jesse Grace also forced three sets, falling 7-6 (4) in a first set tiebreak, earning a 6-3 second set victory and was down 1-5 before the match was won.
The Lady Vols will round out their home schedule on Senior Day, Sunday when they take on LSU at 1 p.m. Prior to the match UT will honor senior Kata Szekely.
"It is a sad day, a happy day, all of those things rolled into one," said Patrick. "We need to go out and get a team victory but she has been special for our program, she is one of my favorite kids we have ever had. She has done the right things, the way you want them done and I am proud of what she has accomplished."
Tennis Match Results
Arkansas vs Tennessee
Apr 05, 2013 at Knoxville, Tenn.
#28 Tennessee 4, #50 ARKANSAS 2
1. #21 Brynn Boren (UT) def. #47 Yang Pang (ARK) 6-4, 7-5
2. #97 Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #38 Kata Szekely (UT) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
3. Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Kimberley-Ann Surin (ARK) 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3
4. Mimi Fotopoulos (UT) def. Sarah McLean (ARK) 6-2, 6-2
5. Tiffany Tavares (UT) def. Ana Lorena Belmar H. (ARK) 6-3, 6-4
6. Jesse Grace (UT) vs. Brittany Huxley (ARK) 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 1-5, unfinished
1. #3 Brynn Boren/Kata Szekely (UT) def. #74 Claudine Paulson/Segou Jonker (ARK) 8-4
2. Yang Pang/Brittany Huxley (ARK) def. Mimi Fotopoulos/Sarah Toti (UT) 8-6
3. Kimberley-Ann Surin/Ana Lorena Belmar H. (ARK) def. Caitlyn Williams/Jesse Grace (UT) 8-6
ARKANSAS 10-13, 3-8 SEC; National ranking #50
Tennessee 9-8, 6-4 SEC; National ranking #28
Order of finish
Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,4,2,1,3)