April 10, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 14-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team lost its first Southeastern Conference match of the season on Sunday, falling to No. 2 Florida, 4-0, at Linder Stadium.
The Gators came out of the gate strong and clinched the SEC regular season championship with the victory.
Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick said his team simply wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunities it had.
"Florida is a better team and I think we played a little scared in doubles," Patrick said. "We didn't execute like we can and it ended up costing us. They outplayed us in singles. We had some chances in doubles and didn't take advantage of them. We know we have to get better. We're disappointed but there's a reason they're No. 2 in the country. They executed under pressure and we weren't able to."
UF took the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and 3. Tennessee had a 5-2 lead at No. 3 but was unable to close out the match. The loss ends Jennifer Meredith and Kata Szekely's 17-match winning streak.
In singles, the bottom half of Florida's lineup was the deciding factor. UF took wins sat No. 4, 5 and 6 to clinch the win.
UT now sits at 16-5 on the season and 8-1 in the SEC. The Lady Vols clinched a first round bye in the SEC Tournament last Friday.
Patrick knows his team fought hard, but he's still looking for a slight change in mentality.
"The biggest thing we've talked about is that we need to assert ourselves," We need to start playing with the attitude of playing to win. We have some kids that understand what it takes to win at the highest level. It's hard to explain it to them, but we have to step up and play to win."
UT will travel to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday to resume a match against Alabama that started on March 4. Alabama had a 1-0 lead when the contest was halted because of rain. The resumption of the match is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET.
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#2 Florida 4, #14 Tennessee 0
1. #33 Lauren Embree (FLA) vs. #31 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) 7-5, 4-3, unfinished
2. #6 Allie Will (FLA) vs. #94 Rosalía Alda (TENN) 4-6, 2-3, unfinished
3. #28 Joanna Mather (FLA) vs. #37 Brynn Boren (TENN) 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
4. #93 Sofie Oyen (FLA) def. Kata Szekely (TENN) 6-1, 6-3
5. #47 Alexandra Cercone (FLA) def. Maria Sorbello (TENN) 6-1, 6-3
6. #41 Olivia Janowicz (FLA) def. Millie Nichols (TENN) 6-3, 6-3
1. #16 Allie Will/Alexandra Cercone (FLA) vs. #44 Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) 7-6, unfinished
2. Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (FLA) def. #17 Rosalía Alda/Millie Nichols (TENN) 8-4
3. Joanna Mather/Olivia Janowicz (FLA) def. Jennifer Meredith/Kata Szekely (TENN) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,5,4)