March 4, 2010
By: Lindsey Williford, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team (6-4) returns home after six straight road matches to open Southeastern Conference play with a pair of matches, facing No. 36 Auburn at 4 p.m. on Friday and 50th-ranked Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Lady Vols hold a 27-6 advantage in the all-time series with the Tigers and picked up a 5-2 decision last April in Auburn. The match against the Crimson Tide will be the 42nd meeting between the two squads with UT leading the overall series record, 29-12.
Tennessee will be looking to get back on the winning track after losing 5-1 at No. 30 Indiana on Feb., 21 and at No. 3 Notre Dame this past Sunday, 5-2. In the match against Indiana, senior Caitlin Whoriskey was the only player to capture wins in both singles and doubles, while junior Rosalía Alda was the only individual to take claim both versus Notre Dame.
Auburn is lead by senior Fani Chifchieva, rated No. 76 in singles, according to the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Freshman teammates Paulina Schippers and Plamena Kurteva carry Auburn's top doubles record, as the pair is 7-1 at the third lineup position.
The Tide rolls into Rocky Top on a four-match win streak and entries in both the national singles and doubles polls. Freshman Alexa Guarachi can be found in the No. 78 slot individually but is slotted in the doubles list at No. 47, alongside sophomore partner Courtney McLane.
The Orange and White sport two top-50 singles players, as well as two teams ranked nationally in doubles. Senior Caitlin Whoriskey leads the way as the 10th-rated competitor, while junior Maria Sorbello follows at the No. 47 spot. Whoriskey and partner, sophomore Natalie Pluskota, are still the country's best doubles pair, despite not joining forces in the last three competitions for UT. Alda and senior Zsófia Zubor combine to form the 33rd-best combo in the country.
According to new ITA Ohio Valley Regional Rankings, released this afternoon, Tennessee sits atop the team poll, with SEC foe Vanderbilt in second, Indiana in third, Purdue coming in at No. 4 and Louisville rounding out the top-five. In the singles list, Whoriskey remains at No. 1, Sorbello is in the third position and Alda stands just outside the top-10 at No. 11.
In the region's doubles rankings, three teams find themselves within the first five slots. Like the national poll, Whoriskey and Pluskota rank at No. 1. Close behind at the third spot is the duo of Alda and Zubor, while Sorbello and freshman Kata Szekely stand in fifth.
Both contests this weekend will be held in the Goodfriend Tennis Center on UT's campus. Live scoring will be available for at www.UTLadyVols.com.
At the conclusion of this weekend's matches, the Big Orange is back on the road as it takes on 19th-ranked Vanderbilt on Friday, March 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET and No. 69 Kentucky at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 14.