April 9, 2006

Box Score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A resounding 7-0 win over Mississippi State (3-14, 1-9 Southeastern Conference) allowed the University of No. 27 Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (10-10, 6-4 SEC) to end its home slate on a high note. The win on Sunday afternoon at the UT Varsity Courts clinched for Tennessee a winning record in the SEC. The Lady Vols have done so every year since the league went to a round-robin format to decide its champion in 2000.

"I'm excited for another SEC win and to finish the day with a good victory at No. 1 singles," co-head coach Mike Patrick said, speaking of the impressive team win, along with senior Melissa Schaub's (Lexington, Ohio) 6-4, 6-4 victory over Renee Joseph at No. 1, which ended her Lady Vol home career on a high note and finished off UT's victory over the Bulldogs. In that contest, Schaub was down, 4-1, in the first before rallying with five straight games.

"I'm proud with how this team has been dealing with the adversity and injuries we have had," Patrick said. "Finishing above .500 in this conference is a good feat any year when you're healthy. To do that when faced with everything that this team faced is outstanding. It says a lot about the character of the players on the team.

After Tennessee claimed No. 3 doubles due to a forfeit, the doubles tally was clinched when the No. 2 duo of juniors Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) defeated Joseph and Tatiana Feit, 8-5. They secured control of the contest with a 5-1 lead.

At No. 1, Schaub and sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) fell in a tiebreaker to Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers, 8-7 (8-6). The pair of Lady Vols secured the first five tallies before falling.

The Big Orange took a 2-0 lead when MSU forfeited No. 6 singles. The first match to complete play came at court six, where Schutte topped Feit in convincing fashion, 6-0, 6-1. Following shortly behind was Griffith's 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 3 against Daniela Juskova. She pulled away in the second stanza with the final four games. That result clinched the team win for Tennessee.

Earning UT's fifth team point was Jones, who secured a 6-0, 6-4 victory on court two against Banikova. She tallied 10-of-11 games to begin the match to grab complete control of the contest. Right before Schaub finished off the day 's play, Orlin prevailed on court five, 5-7, 7-5, (10-8), over de Villiers. A nice comeback by de Villiers in the first set from 4-1 down was matched by Orlin's rally from 4-2 and 5-4 deficits in the second.

The Lady Vols conclude regular-season play on April 15 with a noon contest at No. 28 Georgia (11-8, 7-3 SEC). The SEC Tournament will follow on Tennessee's docket, and that will be hosted by Florida from April 20-23.

#27 Tennessee 7, Mississippi State 0

Singles competition
1.Melissa Schaub (TN) def. Renee Joseph (MSU)6-4, 6-4
2.Victoria Jones (TN) def. Martina Banikova (MSU)6-0, 6-4
3.Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Daniela Juskova (MSU)6-3, 6-1
4.Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Tatiana Feit (MSU)6-0, 6-1
5.Samantha Orlin (TN) def. Elna de Villiers (MSU)5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
6.Hayley Prendergast (TN) def. No player (MSU),by forfei
Doubles competition
1.Martina Banikova/Elna de Villiers (MSU) def. Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN)8-7 (8-6)
2.Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) def. Tatiana Feit/Renee Joseph (MSU)8-5
3.Samantha Orlin/Hayley Prendergast (TN) def. No player/No player (MSU),by forfeit

Match Notes:
Mississippi State 3-14, 1-9 SEC
Tennessee 10-10, 6-4 SEC; National ranking #27 Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,4,3,2,5,1)





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