April 24, 2010
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
ATHENS, Ga. - The Tennessee women's tennis team completed the second leg of its SEC redemption tour on Saturday, defeating Ole Miss 4-3 in an SEC Tournament semifinal on Saturday.
The Lady Vols (16-7, 8-3 SEC) avenged a 5-2 loss suffered at the hands of Ole Miss on April 2. Yesterday, UT topped Vanderbilt 4-2, who also defeated Tennessee during the regular season.
The only other SEC team to defeat Tennessee this season awaits the Orange and White in the SEC Championship final, as top-seeded Florida advanced to the title game with a 4-0 victory over South Carolina.
UT co-head coach Mike Patrick said he was really impressed by his team's will power.
"I'm really proud of the girls," Patrick said. "We were playing on fumes and they did a great job and fought so hard. We're really proud of our kids and we're looking forward to playing tomorrow and doing the best we can. We're going to go out there and fight them tooth and nail."
Because of rain, the matches were moved indoors. With only four indoor courts, singles play was held first.
Jennifer Meredith was part of two big matches on the day, including a singles victory that ensured the Lady Vols would get a chance to play doubles.
With the teams tied at two after the first four singles matches, Meredith and Laura van de Stroet of Ole Miss locked into a grueling, three-set match. After splitting the first two sets, Meredith had her serve broken and trailed 6-5 in the deciding set. Despite that, she was able to battle back to break van de Stroet's serve and even things at 6-6. She then went on to win the tiebreaker, 7-4.
"My mindset in those situations is that it's not a break until you hold the next serve," Meredith said. "I knew my teammates would take care of me if I got to the tiebreaker so I looked to them for support and they carried me through."
Moments later, Gabby Rangel of Ole Miss knocked off Katie Lee, 6-0, 6-1 to even the score at three.
In doubles play, Rosalía Alda and Zsófia Zubor started things off with an impressive 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles. Ole Miss took No. 1 doubles, 8-3 and the match came down to the No. 3 doubles match on court three.
Meredith and teammate Natalie Pluskota answered the bell, locking up the victory for the Big Orange with an 8-3 win.
"This is what you practice and this is what you train for," Meredith said. "I like being in positions like that to help my team. It was a fun feeling to win this one."
Maria Sorbello opened the action with a 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 110 Karen Nijssen.
In No. 3 singles, Alda battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the first set and a 4-1 deficit in the second to earn a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) win over Connor Vogel.
The Rebels then evened the match with singles wins at the No.1 and No. 4 spots, including a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 win by Kristi Boxx over Caitlin Whoriskey.
Tennessee is aiming for the first SEC Championship in program history. Tomorrow's match will begin at 12 p.m. ET. A live blog and a link to live scoring will be available at UTLadyVols.com.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols
Tennessee 4, Mississippi 3
1. #62 Kristi Boxx (OM) def. #9 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
2. #58 Maria Sorbello (UT) def. #110 Karen Nijssen (OM) 6-2, 6-0
3. Rosalia Alda (UT) def. Connor Vogel (OM) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
4. Abby Guthrie (OM) def. Zsofia Zubor (UT) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Laura van de Stroet (OM) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Gabby Rangel (OM) def. Katie Lee (UT) 6-0, 6-1
1. #12 Karen Nijssen/Kristi Boxx (OM) def. #11 Caitlin Whoriskey/Maria Sorbello (UT) 8-3
2. #24 Zsofia Zubor/Rosalia Alda (UT) def. Connor Vogel/Gabby Rangel (OM) 8-2
3. Natalie Pluskota/Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Laura van de Stroet/Abby Guthrie (OM) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3*); Singles (2,3,4,1,5,6)
*indicates clinching point