Weekend Ladies Sports News

The weekend held some big events in Lady Vol athletics. Get the full rundown right here.

* Lady netters move to 3-0

The 11th-ranked Lady Vol tennis team notched a 5-2 win over No. 52 Purdue on the indoor courts at Lafayette (Ind.) Sports Center. The victory moved Tennessee to 3-0 on the year, while the loss dropped the Boilermakers to 2-1. The Big Orange is now 10-0 all-time against Purdue.

UT came out on top in a hotly contested doubles point that went down to the wire. After Tennessee and Purdue split the matches at two and three doubles, all eyes were on the No. 1 court. UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi and freshman Melissa Schaub, ranked 22nd as a tandem, found themselves down a break at 6-4 to the No. 57 duo of junior Gretchen Haynor and senior Missy Wright. Castellvi and Schaub, however, regrouped and ran off four straight games for the 8-6 victory and the 1-0 UT lead heading into the singles action. The pair upped their record to 10-1 overall and 6-0 this spring with the victory.

It appeared that the Orange and White would roll over the Boilermakers when five Lady Vols won their initial sets in the six singles matches. Purdue battled back and sent five of the contests to a third and decisive set before succumbing to UT.

Tennessee took a 2-0 advantage when fourth-ranked Castellvi took down senior Melissa Iqbal, ranked No. 110, at one singles, 6-2, 6-2. It was the only singles match on the day that was decided in straight sets. Castellvi's victory was her seventh in a row this spring and moved her record to 18-3 this season. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native has not dropped a set this year as well.

The Boilermakers got on the board when sophomore Shawna Zuccarini completed her comeback from a one-set deficit to Schaub at three singles, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The loss was Schaub's first of the spring in dual match play.

Purdue tied things up after sophomore Amy Walgenbach won a three-setter over senior Crystal Cleveland at the No. 5 position. Cleveland took the first set, 6-4, but fell in the final two, 7-5, 6-1.

With the match tied, 2-2, all three of the remaining matches at two, four and six singles were in a third set. UT sophomore Breanna Kray was the first to finish with a come-from-behind triumph over sophomore Lara Burgarello at four, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Orange and White junior Tammy Encina eventually clinched the match at the No. 2 slot for the Lady Vols when she upended Haynor in a third set tiebreaker, 7-3. Sophomore Ashley Robards, who was in action for the first time this spring after recovering from an injury to her right hand, was the final Lady Volunteer to win with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Wright at No. 6 singles.

"Ithought Purdue played extremely well," said UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. "This was a good test for us. I was glad to see some different people (Kray and Encina) step up today. Matches like this are what will make us tougher for what's ahead."

The Lady Volunteers will travel to Urbana-Champaign tomorrow to face the 45th-ranked University of Illinois at noon CT.

* McCalley stars in defeat

Despite a strong showing by diver Lauryn McCalley, the Lady Vol swimming and diving team fell in its final dual meet of the season to the No. 2 Florida Gators by a score of 132-101 on Saturday.

McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.) had a strong day on the boards, claiming victory on the three-meter while placing second on the one-meter. She scored 283.13 in the closely contested 1m, placing just behind Florida's Nicole bolt who scored 285.38. McCalley also tallied 312.90 in the 3m to register second-highest total of the season.

Also diving well for the Orange and White, senior Jaime Sanger (Plymouth, Minn.) grabbed third place finishes on both the 1m and 3m.

"I'm relatively pleased with our performance today," UT Diving Coach Dave Parrington said. "We didn't necessarily dive great, but we came into an adverse environment and competed very well."

In the pool, meanwhile, Lady Vol freshman Noelle Bassi (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) broke the two-minute mark for the second time this season in the 200y fly with a clocking of 1:59.91. Bassi placed second in the event, which marks the first 200y fly race she has not won during her collegiate career. The Garden State native now has seven victories in eight 200y fly races this season.

UT Freshman Abbi Terveer had a strong race in the 50y free, placing second with a clocking of 24.13, the fastest time by a Lady Vol this season.

Also swimming well for the Big Orange, freshman Jacque Fessel grabbed second place in the 200y back with a time of 2:05.45.

Tennessee placed 1-2-3 in the 500y free and 200y breast after Florida exhibitioned all of its swimmers in the events. This allowed freshman Kara Boland to place first, Bassi second and junior Raellen Arnold third in the 500y free, and senior Nicole Brannock (Ellicott City, Md.) to place first, freshman Danielle Lundy (Columbia, Md.) second and junior Kristin Souppa (Napierville, Ill.) third in the 200y breast.

Other Lady Vols placing in the top 5 of individual events included senior Bethany Hall in the 100y free (third) 200y free (fifth), sophomore Jessica Blevins in the 100y free (fourth), freshman Randi Vogel in the 1000y free (fourth) and 200y back (fourth), freshman Graciela Breece-Rodriguez in the 200y fly (fourth), senior Courtney Naparlo in the 50y free (fifth), freshman Amy Roberts in the 200y IM (fifth) and 200y back (fifth), junior Kylee Wells in the three-meter springboard (fifth) as well as Arnold in the 1000y free (fifth).

"Overall, we saw some improvements on our times from last week," UT Head Coach Dan Colella said. "This was a good final test for the team heading into SECs."

With the loss, Tennessee finishes the dual-meet season with an even record of 4-4, while posting a winning mark of 3-2 in the SEC. With a meet against Florida Atlantic remaining, the defending SEC champion Gators now have a record of 11-1 (4-1 SEC).

* Softball team starts 1-3

The Lady Vol softball team stands 1-3 after an 11-1 loss to No. 3 California Saturday concluded its first weekend of action. Earlier in the day, UT notched its initial win of the season, beating San Jose State 5-3.

Playing in Berkeley, Calif., the Lady Vols got stout pitching from freshman Stacey Jennings (Aurora, Colo.) and senior Stephanie Humphrey (Knoxville), as well as solo home runs in the fifth inning by freshman Mandie Fishback (Banks, Ore.) and sophomore Amber Rhinehart (Citrus Heights, Calif.)

Tennessee plated three extra runs in the seventh and withstood a furious Spartan rally to secure the triumph. SJSU (1-2) had posted a 3-1 victory over UT on Friday.

"We're very proud of our kids to get their first win of the year," said Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. "The kids played hard and hit the ball well."

With one out in the fifth, Fishback launched her first career homer to straightaway center field to break the scoreless tie. The solo shot cleared the 220-foot-sign and bounced off the top of one fence over another one beyond the playing area. Following a flyout by Kristi Durant, Rhinehart stepped to the dish and cranked a 3-2 offering from McCollister deep into the trees overlooking right field to provide the Orange with a 2-0 lead. Moments later, the Spartans' starter departed after working 4.2 innings, in which she struck out six and allowed four hits. Sophomore Carol Forbes, who went the distance in her club's previous win over UT, came on to replace McCollister.

San Jose State put its leadoff runner aboard in the fifth, as freshman Courtney Lewis beat out an infield single. After Eakins sacrificed her teammate to second base, Jennings worked out of the jam by having Delgado and sophomore Elisa Barrios ground out.

Things shifted in the bottom of the sixth, as SJSU senior Becca Baldridge stroked a single up the middle to start the stanza and classmate Tara Hall reached on a ball that went through the wickets in the infield. With runners on second and third and none down, senior Veronica Ramos slapped a bouncer close enough for Jennings to field and tag the batter for the initial out. Seconds later, freshman Jessica Guillen smashed a liner to short that was snared by shortstop Danielle Arriaga for out number two. A walk to senior Miranda Gonzales loaded the bases before Jennings issued a base on balls to sophomore pinch hitter Stefanie McMinn to bring the count to 2-1 in favor of Tennessee. However, the rookie responded by catching Eakins looking on strikes to keep the bases full of Spartans and preserve the Lady Vols' one-run advantage.

The Orange and White added some insurance in the seventh both during and after Blaine Teasley's plate appearance. Previously, Fishbank had led off with a single, Rhinehart was hit by a pitch and Brewer had drawn a walk. As Teasley was batting, San Jose State's catcher had a passed ball, enabling Fishback to come racing home with UT's third run. Teasley sliced a single into left to score Rhinehart and freshman Chemil Washington (Vancouver, Wash.) lofted a sacrifice fly to plate Brewer and increase the margin to 5-1.

In the home portion of the seventh three singles loaded the sacks with nobody out and chased Jennings from the contest. Sophomore pinch hitter Shannon Anderson greeted reliever Humphrey with a walk to bring home one run and a sacrifice fly by Guillen narrowed the gap to 5-3. Another walk issued to Gonzales re-loaded the sacks but Humphrey would punch out junior pinch hitter Stephanie Miran to end the game.

For Tennessee, junior Ellisha Humphrey (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 2-for-2 with a single and a double and Fishback finished 2-for-4 and scored twice. Jennings (1-1) pitched three innings and gave up five hits en route to the win, while Humphrey was credited with the save.

* Trotter paces Lady Vol track team

Dee Dee Trotter and Toyin Olupona placed 1-3 in the 200 meters, Nicole Cook bagged an NCAA provisional en route to second place in the 800 meters, and the 4x400m relay captured second to pace Head Coach J.J. Clark's Lady Vol track squad Saturday at University Park, Pa.

Trotter cranked out a season-best 24.19 and overcame a slow start to take the crown. The sophomore from Decatur, Ga., didn't get out of the blocks as she would have liked, but as is always the case, her chase speed was out of this world. With the hometown fans sensing victory for Penn State's Consuella Moore, Trotter never gave up, closing the Nittany Lion's sizeable advantage and nipping her at the line by 2/10ths of a second. OIupona, meanwhile, turned in a career-best time of 24.41 to take third and finish just behind Moore as she did in Friday night's 60m dash finals.

Trotter's contribution wasn't finished with the 200m, as she submitted a stellar anchor leg to join junior Christina Billings (Madison, Wis.), Cook and sophomore Antoinette Gorham (Glenarden, Md.) for a second-place jaunt of 3:44.09 in the 4x400m relay. That result, which also featured a superb second leg by Cook, was Tennessee's best of the year and just four seconds off the NCAA provisional.

Cook, running her first half-mile race of the 2003 campaign after earning All-America honors indoors and outlast season as a freshman, rolled to an impressive 2:07.54 result to place herself easily below the provisional of 2:09.00 and within striking distance of the 2:06.20 automatic standard. That time was good enough to rank her first among collegians and second overall just behind the 2:07.31 readout of unattached competitor Jill Snyder, who was a three-time All-American and four-time ACC champ in the 1500m at Wake Forest. Nikeya Green, a 2002 800m All-American from Wake Forest, was third in 2:07.96.

The race couldn't have shaped up any better for Cook, who had the good fortune to have 2000 U.S. Olympic 800m standout Jearl Miles-Clark setting the pace through the first two and a half laps. After completing 500 meters as part of her training plan for the afternoon (she also won the 400m in 54.22), Miles-Clark dropped out and passed the leader's torch to Snyder, with Cook giving chase a few steps back.

Despite a strong kick on the final lap, and a hard close down the stretch that resembled her charge to victory at the SEC Outdoor Championships, Cook came up just short in her quest for number one. She did not, however, miss out on the opportunity to log a qualifying mark or finish ahead of her college peers.

Her debut performance topped her 2002 opener of 2:11.36 at the Kentucky Invitational on Jan. 12 and surpassed her first provisional as a rookie, a 2:08.27 reading on Feb. 9 at the Virginia Tech Challenge. Cook would go on to post an indoor season best of 2:06.92 to place third at the SEC Championships.

In the 3000 meters, senior Sharon Dickie (Grand Blanc, Mich.) rebounded nicely from her provisional Friday night in the tiring 5000 meters to chart a 9:37.63 and take seventh place. That mark was just off the 9:35.00 NCAA safety and was right on Dickie's career-best reading of 9:36.65 that she posted way back in 1999 during her freshman season. Junior Jessica Southers (Ashland, Ky.) and sophomore Elizabeth McCalley (Knoxville, Tenn.) were 26th and 39th in the 3K in personal bests of 10:01.54 and a 10:24.17, respectively.

Upon Further Review...The results for the pole vault were re-posted on Saturday, and there was a shuffling in the order of finish. Tennessee's Christie Elwin, Lauren McNeil, Jessica Andrews, Kendra Rhyne and Jessica Reust are now 4th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 32nd. Previously, they were listed as second, 10th, eighth, 16th and 30th, respectively.

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