April 21, 2006

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GAINSESVILLE, Fla. -­ With an impressive slice which was returned wide, senior Melissa Schaub (Lexington, Ohio) completed a remarkable comeback by the University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team in the Southeastern Conference quarterfinals on Friday morning. No. 31 Tennessee (12-11), the fifth seed, was down, 3-0, in the contest versus No. 24 and fourth- seeded Georgia (12-9), before storming back with the final four points of the match.

Schaub's opponent, No. 22 Natalie Frazier, was the highest-ranked competition that she has defeated in her four years at Rocky Top. She rallied in the match played on court one from 5-3 down in the first by winning the last four straight games. In the second set, except for the time that Schaub led, 2-0, neither player would garner greater than a one-game lead. In the tiebreaker that Frazier forced, Schaub trailed 3- 1 and 4-2 before storming back with the final five tallies to complete the impressive victory.

Just three minutes prior to the conclusion of that contest, junior Blakeley Griffith (Middleburg, Va.) completed a three-set win to tie the overall score, 3-3. She lost the first set, 6-2, but rallied with the next two, 6-4 and 6-2. She dropped the first two games of the deciding set to Evgenia Subbotina before stealing control of the match back with the final six games.

Junior Ghizela Schutte (Ninapark, South Africa) brought Tennessee to within 3-2 with a 6-4, 6-0 win at court four versus Kelley Hyndman. She also rallied by taking complete control of the match by securing the last 11 games. Schutte has now won five straight matches and 9-of-11.

The first Tennessee point was earned at court two when junior Victoria Jones (Tyne & Wear, U.K.) dominated Carolina Basu by 6-1, 6-1 scores.

Georgia took the first point of its dominating 3-0 lead by claiming two of the doubles contests. At court three, freshmen Samantha Orlin (Miami, Fla.) and Hayley Prendergast (Hingham, Mass.) dropped an 8-0 decision to Hyndman and Sara Lett.

On the first court, Schaub and Schutte, the 51st-ranked doubles team in the country, earned an 8-4 win against Basu and Frazier. The Lady Vol duo won the first five and the final three games.

Georgia's No. 2 pair of 49th-ranked Darya Ivanov and Subbotina topped Griffith and Jones, 8-6. A five-game run by the Bulldog pair turned a 5- 2 Lady Vol lead into a 7-5 UGA advantage.

The Bulldogs claimed their second team point at court six with a forfeit win. On the fifth court, Orlin fell to Ivanov, 7-5, 6-2, to give Georgia its 3-0 advantage.

The win was Tennessee's first-ever against Georgia in an SEC Tournament match. The Lady Vols entered the contest with an all-time 0-8 mark versus UGA in the tournament (5-34 overall). UT is now 18-18 all-time in the SEC Tournament and 10-8 in the quarterfinal round. The Lady Vols have recorded a 1-8 mark all-time in the semifinals (the win came in 2001 by a 4-3 score over Vanderbilt).

Tennessee now moves on to play the host, fourth-ranked and top-seeded Florida (19-1), at 10 a.m. on Saturday in a semifinal contest to be played at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The Gators defeated 39th-ranked and eighth-seeded South Carolina, 4-0, in their quarterfinal contest. The final will be contested at noon on Sunday.

Tennessee and Florida have met three times in the SEC Tournament, with UF taking all three meetings (4-3 in the 2003 semifinals, 6-0 in the 1999 quarterfinals and 6-1 in the 1997 semifinals). In this season's regular-season meeting, the Gators defeated Tennessee, 7-0, in Gainesville on March 10. The Big Orange is 0-29 all-time versus Florida.

#31 Tennessee 4, #24 Georgia 3
Singles competition
1. Melissa Schaub (TN) def. #22 Natalie Frazier (UGA) 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
2. Victoria Jones (TN) def. Caroline Basu (UGA) 6-1, 6-1
3. Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Evgenia Subbotina (UGA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
4. Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Kelley Hyndman (UGA) 6-4, 6-0
5. Darya Ivanov (UGA) def. Samantha Orlin (TN) 7-5, 6-2
6. Sara Lett (UGA) def. No player (TN) by forfeit
Doubles competition
1. #51 Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) def. Caroline Basu/Natalie Frazier (UGA) 8-4
2. #49 Darya Ivanov/Evgenia Subbotina (UGA) def. Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) 8-6
3. Kelley Hyndman/Sara Lett (UGA) def. Samantha Orlin/Hayley Prendergast (TN) 8-0
Match Notes:
Tennessee 12-11; National ranking #31
Georgia 12-9; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,5,2,4,3,1)





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