April 22, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 14-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team cruised into the semifinals of the 2011 SEC Women's Tennis Championship with a 4-0 victory over No. 10-seeded Kentucky on Friday evening at Barksdale Stadium.
The Lady Vols (18-6) took the doubles point and clinched three singles victories within five minutes of one another en route to the victory.
Co-head coach Mike Patrick was happy to finally play a match after waiting around for two days. Tennessee earned a first-round bye and sat through four matches yesterday before taking the court in today's final contest.
"Waiting around all day is tough," Patrick said. "I think we were ready to go early in the day and then things ran behind. It's nice to be out of here in a decent hour. I know Kentucky had a late night last night."
Kentucky reached this match by defeating LSU, 4-3, in a thrilling match that didn't end until 11:15 p.m. ET last evening.
In doubles play, the Lady Vols took wins at courts one and three to clinch the doubles point. Senior Jennifer Meredith and freshman Millie Nichols teamed up for the first time, taking an 8-2 win over Marni Venter and Caitlin McGraw. The duo of Nichols and Meredith is UT's 17th different doubles pairing this season.
Freshman Brynn Boren notched a victory at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-3, over Khristina Blajkevitch to make the team score 2-0. Just seconds later, senior Maria Sorbello took a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles to put UT on the brink of clinching.
Freshman Millie Nichols cemented Tennessee's win with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Misha Testerman at No. 6 singles.
Tennessee was without sophomore Kata Szekely, who missed the contest with an injury. Patrick had to shuffle his lineup around, but was pleased with how his team responded.
"I thought the girls stepped up well," Patrick said. "Maria played well at a higher position and we'll adjust to whatever we have to do going forward."
UT will face No. 9-ranked Georgia in tomorrow's semifinal at 2 p.m. ET. The Lady Vols topped the Bulldogs, 5-2, last Saturday in Knoxville.
Sorbello knows that UGA presents a challenge but is hoping her teammates rise to the occasion once again.
"If come out as strong as we did last week, we'll have a similar result," Sorbello said. "We just have to stay focused and be ready to play."
The winner of the Tennessee-Georgia contest will take on the winner of a semifinal between No. 2-ranked Florida and No. 19 Vanderbilt, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow.
Live scoring and a live blog of tomorrow's match, as well as an SEC Tournament Central page, are available on UTLadyVols.com.
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#14 Tennessee 4, Kentucky 0
1. #32 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) vs. Megan Broderick (UK) 6-7 (2-7), 2-1, unfinished
2. #97 Rosalía Alda (TENN) vs. Jessica Stiles (UK) 6-4, 3-0, unfinished
3. #44 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Khristina Blajkevitc (UK) 6-0, 6-3
4. Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Caitlin McGraw (UK) 6-2, 6-1
5. Millie Nichols (TENN) def. Misha Testerman (UK) 6-1, 6-3
6. Marni Venter (UK) vs. Whitney Wofford (TENN) no result
1. #16 Brynn Boren/Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. Jessica Stiles/Khristina Blajkevitc (UK) 8-2
2. Rosalía Alda/Maria Sorbello (TENN) vs. Megan Broderick/CeCe Witten (UK) 6-6, unfinished
3. Millie Nichols/Jennifer Meredith (TENN) def. Marni Venter/Caitlin McGraw (UK) 8-2
Tennessee 18-6; National ranking #14
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,4,5)