Tennis Vaults To 10th In ITA Rankings

Feb. 16, 2012

Feb. 16 ITA National Rankings

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The 10th-ranked Tennessee women's tennis team moved up seven spots in Thursday's Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings - its first Top 10 appearance since Feb. 18, 2010 - and will take its 6-3 record on the road this weekend to Indiana on Friday (1:30 p.m. ET) and Ohio State on Sunday (Noon ET).

For the first time since Jan. 3, singles and doubles rankings were also released.

Tennessee's tandem of Brynn Boren and Sarah Toti is ranked second nationally to lead the Lady Vols after an SEC-best 9-0 start, while Natalie Pluskota is ranked twice with different partners. Pluskota and Kata Szekely, who went 7-1 together in the fall but haven't played together in dual-match action, are ranked 15th, while UT's lone senior is also ranked 21st with current partner Caitlyn Williams. The latter duo has knocked off two top-five foes and is 6-2 together.

Tennessee is the only school with three pairings in the Top 25.

In singles, three Lady Vols are ranked in the 30s, making UT just one of four schools with three or more individuals in the Top 40. Boren leads the way at 34, while Pluskota and Szekely are 36th and 37th, respectively. Szekely jumped up 22 spots from the previous poll for her highest career ranking.

Tennessee is coming off a successful trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, in which the Lady Vols advanced to the quarterfinals and won two out of three matches.

UT knocked off No. 5 Baylor in the opening round, 4-0, before falling to No. 16 USC in the tournament's quarterfinals, 4-1. The Lady Vols closed the weekend with a 4-3 win over No. 12 Northwestern, making the third time in school history that they've gone 2-1 at National Indoors. Tennessee returned to Knoxville with three Top 12 victories and five Top 25 wins.

Winners of six of their last seven, the Lady Vols will compete in their first true road match of the season at the IU Tennis Center on Friday. The Hoosiers have won seven consecutive matches after opening their 2012 campaign with a loss to No. 3 Duke and are 4-0 at home.

"We just have to play well in every spot," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "Last time we went there, we played at a place that had slower courts first. We went there and just didn't adapt to the speed. Hopefully, this year we can get in there, be a little better, get used to the quicker courts and be able to compete. They always have a tough team. They're not going to give you anything so we're going to have to earn everything up there."

Ohio State, meanwhile, boasts a 3-4 record, but is also undefeated at home (3-0). The Buckeyes have lost three of four, but have been off since Feb. 7.

Tennessee's three tandems have combined to win 20 of 23 (.870) overall doubles matches and have tallied nine consecutive doubles points, marking the most times that's happened to open a season in UT history.

Boren and Toti have played a major role in that, starting 9-0 in dual-match play and winning 12 consecutive matches dating back to the fall. Boren and Toti will play from the No. 1 spot for the first time Friday, while Szekely and Joanna Henderson will compete at No. 2.

Fans are encouraged to follow @LadyVol_Tennis on Twitter for updated news and results surrounding the team.





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