BATON ROUGE, La. – Just two days after suffering a tough loss to No. 22 Arkansas, the 20th-ranked University of Tennessee women’s tennis team (11-5, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) bounced back with one of it’s best performances of the season, a 6-1 road victory over No. 26 LSU (8-6, 3-3 SEC) Sunday afternoon at the W.T. “Dub” Robinson Tennis Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
After claiming the all-important doubles point with a pair of victories, the Lady Vols tallied wins in five of the six singles contests to earn their 11th overall triumph of the season and fourth win in SEC play. For the third time this year, it was junior Samantha Orlin who came through with the match-clinching victory for UT, as she fought off the efforts of Nicole Kantor, 6-3, 7-5, on the fourth court.
In doubles action, the Big Orange got off to a quick start with the duo of sophomore Connor Vogel and freshman Jennifer Meredith taking out the LSU pairing of Hannah Robinson and Kylie Adamek, 8-5, at the third position in the lineup. The Tigers answered right back, however, as Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg were able to claim an 8-3 decision over the ninth-ranked Tennessee tandem of Caitlin Whoriskey and Zsófia Zubor on center court.
In the final doubles contest of the afternoon, the Orange and White combo of senior Ghizela Schutte and freshman Rosalía Alda continued to do what it has done all year, giving UT the first lead of the match for the seventh time this season with an 8-2 win over Staten Spencer and Kantor.
The momentum continued to go in Tennessee’s favor early in singles play, as Alda quickly put her team up 2-0 with a dominating, 6-0, 6-2, triumph over Adamek on the sixth court. The Tigers were not going to go down without a fight though, moving back to within one on the scoreboard following No. 19 Falcon’s, 6-2, 6-2, win over the 71st-ranked Whoriskey on center court.
That would be as close as LSU would get for the rest of the day, with the Lady Vols winning on all four remaining courts. Senior Ghizela Schutte looked to be in command of her match against Hedberg early on, winning the first set, 6-3, but found herself in a bit of trouble in the second frame, falling behind 0-3. The Cape Town, South Africa, native righted herself, however, and bounced back to claim the final six games in consecutive fashion to win the match.
Following Orlin’s win over Kantor that ensured the UT victory, Meredith and Zubor also claimed solid triumphs on the fifth and fourth courts, respectively. Meredith downed Spencer in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, while Zubor notched a 6-3, 0-6, 7-5, victory over Robinson.
The Lady Vols will return to Rocky Top for their final two home matches of the season when they host No. 30 Auburn and Alabama next weekend. Tennessee will first square off with the Tigers at 3:30 p.m. on Fri., March 28 on the UT Varsity Courts. Two days later, the Big Orange will honor the four-year career of Ghizela Schutte on Senior Day prior to the match against the Crimson Tide which is set to commence at 1 p.m.
|No. 20 University of Tennessee 6, No. 26 Louisiana State University 1|
|1. No. 19 Megan Falcon (LSU) def. No. 71 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT)||6-2, 6-2|
|2. Ghizela Schutte (UT) def. Mykala Hedberg (LSU)||6-2, 6-3|
|3. Samantha Orlin (UT) def. Nicole Kantor (LSU)||6-3, 7-5|
|4. Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Hannah Robinson (LSU)||6-3, 0-6, 7-5|
|5. Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Staten Spencer (LSU)||6-1, 7-5|
|6. Rosalía Alda (UT) def. Kylie Adamek (LSU)||6-0, 6-2|
|1. Megan Falcon/Mykala Hedberg (LSU) def. No. 9 Caitlin Whoriskey/Zsófia Zubor (UT)||8-3|
|2. Ghizela Schutte/Rosalía Alda (UT) def. Staten Spencer/Nicole Kantor (LSU)||8-2|
|3. Connor Vogel/Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Hannah Robinson/Kylie Adamek (LSU)||8-5|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,1,2,3,5,4)|