The No. 3 Tennessee men's tennis team hosted two matchups over the Easter weekend, featuring two SEC western division opponents in the Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Friday: Ole Miss Rebels
Friday's matchup with No. 16 Ole Miss went smoothly for the Volunteers; especially senior Davey Sandgren, who made a crucial play for a double victory alongside J.P. Smith, while dominating his singles match at the No. 6 position, which was vacated by senior Matt Brewer who is suffering an ankle injury.
Sandgren defeated Jaime Vazquez 6-3, 6-1 to put the Volunteers up 2-0 on the visitors. The win was Sandgren's 79th of his career, putting him at a tie for 16th on the school wins list.
Freshman Rhyne Williams also had a beautiful, albeit exhausting outing. Williams logged a win after a tie-breaker at the No. 3 singles position over Jonas Lutjen 6-1, 7-6, (10-8).
Junior Matteo Fago also had a productive day, winning 8-6 at the No. 3 doubles position with freshman Edward Jones before picking up a singles win at the No. 5.
Fago defeated Harry Fowler 6-4, 6-2.
The No. 1 position in singles was again upheld by junior J.P. Smith, who defeated Marcel Theimann 6-4, 6-1. The win improved Smith's record to 32-5 this season; good enough to earn hold his No. 2 national ranking in singles.
The Volunteers would sweep the Rebels 7-0, tying the 1965 school record for shutouts in a season at 10.
Sunday: Mississippi State Bulldogs
On Easter Sunday, the Volunteers found themselves in unfamiliar territory early against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-9, 1-6).
Senior Davey Sandgren and junior J.P. Smith dropped their second doubles match of the season, losing 8-6. The loss will undoubtedly drop Sandgren and Smith from their second-ranked position in doubles nationally when ITA rankings are released Tuesday.
Doubles play would not get any better for the Volunteers (20-1, 8-0) as the day progressed.
Junior Matteo Fago and freshman Edward Jones would lose in a tiebreaker 9-8, (7-2) to Chris Doerr and Louis Cant.
The duo of Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams, ranked fourth nationally in doubles, would provide a bright spot for the Big Orange. The pair would rebound from their loss Friday to pick up an 8-4 win at the No. 2 position.
Conkic, ranked 26th in singles, would suffer a setback however, losing 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 1-0 (13-11) in a lengthy match with #125 George Coupland. The No. 2 position match would be the lone loss in singles-play for the Volunteers on Sunday.
J.P. Smith would defeat #67 Louis Cant 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 1 position.
Senior Matt Brewer continued to sit out for the Volunteers at the No. 6 position while recovering from an ankle injury suffered a week ago. Davey Sandgren again stepped in for Brewer, winning 6-4, 6-3 for his second singles victory of the weekend.
Younger brother Tennys Sandgren also snagged a win in singles, defeating Antonio Lastre 6-2, 6-4.
Sunday's win put the Volunteers at 8-0, their best conference start since 1990.
The Volunteers next travel to Gainesville to visit the No. 6 Florida Gators on Friday at 3 p.m. EST. Tennessee will finish the weekend with a Sunday stop in Columbia, S.C. for a match with the South Carolina Gamecocks at 1 p.m.