Jan. 22, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 13-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team will open its dual-match season tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET against No. 25 Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center.
The Lady Vols are coming off a successful stay at the Michigan Invitational last weekend and are hoping to start the 2011 season on the right foot. Senior Rosalía Alda and freshman Millie Nichols swept all three of their matches in Ann Arbor and currently sit at No. 9 in the ITA doubles rankings. Nichols also went 3-0 in singles play. Junior Natalie Pluskota had a successful return from an injury, topping No. 36 Jillian O'Neill of Georgia Tech.
UT returns five letterwinners from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. A trio of Lady Vol seniors should provide plenty of experience. Alda, who ranks ninth in school history with 92 doubles wins, was an All-SEC second team selection last season. Maria Sorbello also earned second team all-conference honors and recorded a career high with 23 singles wins. Jennifer Meredith rounds out the seasoned group.
Also competing for the Big Orange this season are four freshmen. Brynn Boren has been very impressive so far in her UT career, going 15-6 in singles play this past fall. She is Tennessee's highest-rated singles player, coming in at No. 20. Alda (No. 87) and Sorbello (No. 116) are also ranked. Boren, Nichols, Kayla McMurry and Whitney Wofford make up Tennessee's talented freshman class. Sophomore Kata Szekely is also looking to make an impact for UT.
Illinois dropped its season opener today, falling to No. 4 Notre Dame, 5-2. The Illini have one player ranked in the Campbell/ITA singles rankings, No. 100-rated Rachael White.
Tomorrow's contest will mark the 18th all-time meeting between the two schools. Tennessee holds a 16-1 advantage in the series, including a 4-3 win in last year's home opener on Jan. 22.
Live scoring for the match will be available here.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols.