Tennis Wins Sixth Straight

April 8, 2011

By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The No. 14-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team won its sixth straight match on Friday, topping No. 37 South Carolina, 4-3, at the Gregg Tennis Center.

The Lady Vols moved to 8-0 in SEC play and clinched a first-round bye in the SEC Women's Tennis Tournament, which will be held in Knoxville from April 21-24.

UT co-head coach Mike Patrick said that South Carolina really challenged his squad today.

"We knew they had the capability of playing tough and they're an outstanding team," Patrick said. "They came out wanting to play today and we played really tough. This was the first time we've played in heat and we had to adjust to it and our girls did a great job."

UT swept doubles contests for the 14th time this season. Jennifer Meredith and Kata Szekely notched their 18th consecutive victory, topping Katerina Popova and Miljana Jocic, 8-2, at No. 3 doubles.

In singles action, Tennessee started strong, getting wins from Maria Sorbello at No. 5 and Natalie Pluskota at No. 1 to take a 3-0 lead.

However, South Carolina refused to go quietly, taking a win at No. 3 singles to cut the deficit to 3-1. USC won the first set at courts two and six and split sets at No. 4.

Kata Szekely grinded out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win on court four to put UT up, 4-1, and clinch the win for the Lady Vols.

Patrick said that this victory can be credited to the resolve of his upperclassmen.

"Kata stepped it up in the third set and kept attacking," Patrick said. "I'm really proud of our upperclassmen. They did a good job of working the points and staying tough and doing the things you have to do to win matches. For our freshmen, it was a new experience and they learned a lot from it. We're going to be better for it."

USC won matches at courts two and six to make the final score 4-3.

UT will now travel to second-ranked Florida on Sunday. First serve for that match is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

Patrick knows the Gators are a very formidable opponent, but he is confident his team will bring its `A' game on Sunday.

"We've prepared as hard as we can," Patrick said. "It's certainly the measuring stick in our conference. They've' been one of the two best teams in the nation all year and hopefully we'll play our best and see where it takes us."

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#14 Tennessee 4, #37 South Carolina 3

Singles competition
1. #31 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #39 Anya Morgina (USC) 6-2, 6-1
2. #123 Dijana Stojic (USC) def. #94 Rosalía Alda (TENN) 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-4)
3. Katerina Popova (USC) def. #37 Brynn Boren (TENN) 6-3, 6-4
4. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Dominika Kanakova (USC) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
5. Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Adriana Pereira (USC) 6-0, 6-2
6. Miljana Jocic (USC) def. Millie Nichols (TENN) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4

Doubles competition
1. #44 Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Dominika Kanakova/Anya Morgina (USC) 8-2
2. #17 Rosalía Alda/Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Dijana Stojic/Adriana Pereira (USC) 8-3
3. Kata Szekely/Jennifer Meredith (TENN) def. Katerina Popova/Miljana Jocic (USC) 8-2

Match Notes:
Tennessee 12-6, 4-5; National ranking #14
South Carolina 16-4, 8-0; National ranking #37
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,1,3,4,6,2)





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