Sabita Maharaj fell 6-3, 6-1 to 53rd-ranked Michelle DaCosta of Michigan.
May 24, 2004
University of Tennessee senior Tammy Encina and sophomore Sabita Maharaj each fell in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship on Monday. Encina, currently ranked 37th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, lost to 74th-ranked Maja Kovacek of New Mexico, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, while 55th-ranked Maharaj was defeated by 53rd-ranked Michelle DaCosta of Michigan by a score of 6-3, 6-1.
Earlier in the year, Maharaj had defeated DaCosta in three sets when the Lady Vols played Michigan on Feb. 21, while Encina and Kovacek had never played each other. Maharaj was making her first appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship, while Encina was making her second trip, after advancing to the round of 16 and earning All-America honors as a junior.
Encina, who has been hindered by injury throughout the year, finishes the season with a singles record of 19-22. As a junior, the Miami Beach, Fla., native posted a 26-15 mark en route to All-America kudos. This year, Encina got off to a strong start in the fall, defeating five ranked opponents and climbing to as high as 13th in the ITA rankings. Once the injury bug hit, however, Encina underwent a stretch during which she lost seven of eight contests and was forced to sit out three of UT's matches in February.
Maharaj, meanwhile, finishes with a singles mark of 28-13 during a season in which she collected first-team All-SEC honors. The Gainesville, Fla., native was especially dominating at the No. 2 singles position this year with a 15-5 overall record and a flawless 8-0 mark in SEC play. Her seasonal résumé also includes five victories over ranked opponents, including a win over No. 23 Shadisha Robinson of Georgia in UT's final regular-season match.