April 26, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Playing in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship match for just the second time in school history, the University of Tennessee women's tennis team (17-6) was unable to overcome a talented and deep Georgia squad (23-2), falling to the top-seeded and No. 3-ranked Bulldogs, 4-0, on Sunday afternoon at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
"This was a tough loss, but I'm proud of what our team has accomplished this week," UT co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "We fought hard, but Georgia is an extremely talented team. Congratulations to them on a great match and just a terrific season so far. Hopefully, we can build on this as we enter the NCAA Tournament."
For the second time in eight days, the Lady Vols put forth a valiant effort but fell just short against Georgia in doubles play. Although UT struck the first blow, with sophomores Jennifer Meredith and Maria Sorbello joining forces to dismantle the Bulldog pairing of Naoko Ueshima and Cameron Ellis, 8-0, on court three, UGA scored victories in the remaining two matches to take the first lead of the afternoon. With the win, Meredith and Sorbello remain perfect on the year with an 8-0 record. It also improved the Orange and White's record at the No. 3 doubles position this season to an astounding 22-1.
The 12th-ranked UGA duo of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist evened things up at one win for each team with an 8-4 triumph over the No. 20-rated Tennessee tandem of junior Caitlin Whoriskey and freshman Natalie Pluskota. The final doubles contest was a hard-fought battle between Monika Dancevic and Yvette Hyndman from Georgia and the UT squad of junior Zsófia Zubor and sophomore Rosalía Alda on court two, but the Bulldogs emerged victorious, 8-5, put the Big Orange in a hole going into the singles portion of the match.
Georgia continued its strong play in singles action, claiming a trio of straight-set victories to add the SEC Tournament Championship to its already impressive résumé. Ellis quickly put the Bulldogs up 2-0 on the scoreboard with a 6-0, 6-1, triumph over Sorbello at the six slot, just moments before the 85th-ranked Dancevic added a 6-4, 6-4, win over Meredith on court four to move UGA within a single score of the championship. Fittingly, it was Georgia's top player, the 12th-ranked Gullickson that finished off the match, downing No. 45 Whoriskey, 6-2, 6-3, on center court.
Tennessee will now return home to Knoxville where it will await its NCAA Tournament fate. The bracket will be announced on April 28 on ESPNews.
1. No. 12 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) def. No. 45 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) - 6-2, 6-3
2. No. 117 Natalie Pluskota (UT) vs. No. 49 Yvette Hyndman (UGA) - 6-7 (5), 1-1
3. Samantha Orlin (UT) vs. No. 55 Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) - 6-2, 5-6
4. No. 85 Monika Dancevic (UGA) def. Jennifer Meredith (UT) - 6-4, 6-4
5. Rosalía Alda (UT) vs. Naoko Ueshima (UGA) - 4-6, 0-1
6. Cameron Ellis (UGA) def. Maria Sorbello (UT) - 6-0, 6-1
1. No. 12 Chelsey Gullickson/Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) def. No. 20 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) - 8-4
2. Yvette Hyndman/Monika Dancevic (UGA) def. Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor (UT) - 8-5
3. Maria Sorbello/Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Naoko Ueshima/Cameron Ellis (UGA) - 8-0
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,4,1*)