April 16, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 16-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team capped its regular season with an impressive, 5-2 victory over No. 8 Georgia on senior day at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.
The win is UT's second straight over the Bulldogs, marking the first time in program history that Tennessee has earned consecutive wins over UGA. It also allowed UT to clinch the No. 2 seed in the SEC Women's Tennis Tournament, held in Knoxville from April 21-24.
"I'm happy for our seniors," Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "Both teams had a great effort today. Beating a team like Georgia is never easy and they put a lot of pressure on us. Today's match decided whether we finished second or fourth in the conference. If you want to win a championship, second is better."
Tennessee (17-6, 9-2) began the match by sweeping doubles action, including an impressive win by Natalie Pluskota and Brynn Boren at No. 1 doubles, topping the 11th-rated duo of Chelsey Gullickson and Kate Fuller, 8-4.
Freshman Brynn Boren got Tennessee on the board with a 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 111 Alex Anghelescu at No. 3 singles. Georgia answered right back with a victory from defending NCAA singles champion Chelsey Gullickson at the No. 1 spot. Lilly Kimbrell evened the match up with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Kata Szekely at court four.
Maria Sorbello's 6-1, 6-4 victory over 67th-ranked Cameron Ellis at court five put UT in a position to clinch, but getting the fourth point was anything but easy.
Rosalía Alda won her first set against No. 91 Maho Kowase but trailed 3-1 in the second frame before battling back to get on-serve at 3-3. Kowase didn't flinch, breaking Alda's serve to move back ahead, 4-3.
Alda dug deep and broke Kowase yet again, knotting the score at 4-4. From there, she was able to close out the match and give Tennessee its 17th victory of the regular season.
Patrick said today's contest was a culmination of four years of hard work from Alda.
"She had a big win today in singles," Patrick said. "She typifies someone who has come in our program and has worked her way from the bottom to the top. The girl she was playing today was one of the top juniors in the world and she didn't flinch."
Freshman Millie Nichols put the exclamation point on the win, taking a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Fuller at No. 6 singles.
Since the Big Orange has a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament, it won't know its potential opponents until the draw is released later this evening. The Lady Vols' first match of the tournament is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Friday, April 22, regardless of opponent.
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#16 Tennessee 5, #8 Georgia 2
1. #35 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) def. #32 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) 6-4, 6-4
2. #113 Rosalía Alda (TENN) def. #91 Maho Kowase (UGA) 7-5, 6-4
3. #44 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. #111 Alex Anghelescu (UGA) 6-0, 6-3
4. Lilly Kimbell (UGA) def. Kata Szekely (TENN) 7-6 (7-5), 6-1
5. Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. #67 Cameron Ellis (UGA) 6-1, 6-4
6. Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Kate Fuller (UGA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
1. #38 Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) def. #11 Chelsey Gullickson/Kate Fuller (UGA) 8-4
2. Rosalía Alda/Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. #48 Lilly Kimbell/Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) 8-3
3. Kata Szekely/Jennifer Meredith (TENN) def. Cameron Ellis/Alex Anghelescu (UGA) 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,1,4,5,2,6)