April 20, 2006
GAINSESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (11-11), a fifth seed, moved on to the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round with a convincing 4-0 win over 12th-seeded Auburn (6-18) on Thursday morning at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
The No. 31 Lady Volunteers will now play in the quarterfinals for the 12th straight year and are scheduled to take on fourth-seeded and 24th- ranked Georgia (12-8) in a 10 a.m. battle on Friday. UGA took this year's regular-season contest, 6-1, in Athens, Ga., on Saturday.
The winner of that contest will face the victor in the match between No. 4 Florida (18-1), the top seed, and eighth-seeded South Carolina (12-9). That semifinal match will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The final will be contested at noon on Sunday.
Tennessee claimed the first doubles match, at No. 3, due to a forfeit. The doubles point was clinched when UT"s No. 1 pair of senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) and sophomore Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) claimed an 8-2 win against Ashley Cowart and Alex Haney in a 42- minute match. The two pulled away from a narrow 3-2 advantage by securing the final five games of the contest.
At court two, juniors Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) and Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) were leading, 4-3, over Whitney Chappell and Irina Pljusznyin when doubles play finished.
In singles play, the Lady Vols earned team point number two with a forfeit win at No. 6. Sixty-three minutes later, Griffith finished off a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 3 over Pljusznyin by securing the final five games. Just 12 minutes following the conclusion of that contest, Schutte completed the Big Orange's victory with a 6-1, 6-3 win versus Cowart. She claimed 10 games in a row at one point (the final six of the first set and the first four of the second).
In matches that did not finish before the team result was clinched: Schaub and Haney were 1-6, 6-4 at No. 1 (Schaub with the win in the second set), Jones led Chappell, 6-1, 1-2, at No. 2, and Orlin had a 6- 0, 6-5 edge versus Dzeljan Memisi on the fifth court.
The win improved Tennessee's all-time mark in the SEC Tournament's first round to 7-1. UT's all-time quarterfinal record is 9-8. Tennessee has taken on Georgia eight times in SEC Tournament play, and the Bulldogs have claimed all eight meetings. The teams have met in the quarterfinals on three occasions entering Friday's match.
|#31 Tennessee 4, Auburn 0|
|1. Melissa Schaub (TN) vs. Alex Haney (AU)||1-6, 6-4, unfinished|
|2. Victoria Jones (TN) vs. Whitney Chappell (AU)||6-1, 1-2, unfinished|
|3. Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Irina Pljusznyin (AU)||6-1, 6-2|
|4. Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Ashley Cowart (AU)||6-1, 6-3|
|5. Samantha Orlin (TN) vs. Dzeljan Memisi (AU)||6-0, 6-5, unfinished|
|6. Hayley Prendergast (TN) def. No player (AU)||by forfeit|
|1. #51 Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Ashley Cowart/Alex Haney (AU)||8-2|
|2. Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) vs. Whitney Chappell/Irina Pljusznyin (AU)||4-3, unfinished|
|3. Samantha Orlin/Hayley Prendergast (TN) def. No player/No player (AU)||by forfeit|
|Tennessee 11-11; National ranking #31|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,3,4)|