Lady netters beat Vandy

The doubles point proved decisive as the No. 10 Lady Vol tennis squad posted a 4-3 triumph over ninth-rated Vanderbilt Sunday at the Goodfriend Tennis Center. The win upped UT's record to 9-3 and 1-1 in SEC play, while Vandy dropped to 9-3 and 0-2 in the league.

The Lady Vols dominated the doubles for the second straight match, sweeping all three positions. The first victory came from junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink at No. 2, where they notched an 8-4 decision over sophomore Audra Falk and junior Kelly Schmandt to move to 5-0 on the year.

The clincher came at No. 3 from senior Crystal Cleveland and freshman Sabita Maharaj, who teamed up for the first time in their careers. The duo held a commanding 6-1 advantage over sophomore Annie Menees and freshman Ashley Schellhas before letting the opposition run off four games in a row to put the contest back on serve. With Schellhas serving down 7-6, UT quickly found itself with double break point and on the next serve Maharaj hit a laser directly at Menees that she only managed to graze with the frame of her racket, giving Tennessee the 8-6 triumph and a 1-0 lead.

At No. 1 doubles, the nation's 17th-rated combo of UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi and freshman Melissa Schaub shocked the third-ranked tandem of senior Sarah Riske and junior Aleke Tsoubanos, 8-5. Riske and Tsoubanos were 19-2 heading into the matchup. Castellvi and Schaub improved to 17-3 with the win and 10-2 at No. 1 doubles.

''In my 16 years at Tennessee, I have never seen all three doubles teams play that well at the same time,'' said Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. ''Vanderbilt has very strong doubles and what we did out there was simply unbelievable.''

Encina rebounded from a tough loss on Friday night against Kentucky with a dominating upset of No. 70 Tsoubanos at No. 2 singles, 6-3, 6-0, to give the Orange and White a 2-0 advantage. The Miami Beach, Fla., native upped her record to 15-10 and 7-5 at the No. 2 slot with the win.

The Commodores sliced UT's margin in half after Schmandt walked past Schaub at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-0. It was Schaub's second-straight defeat and downed her record on the season to 15-10 and 9-3 at the third position.

At No. 4, 99th-rated Cleveland registered the Lady Volsâ third upset on the afternoon when she upended No. 48 Falk in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, for her ninth consecutive conquest. Cleveland trailed early in the second set, 3-1, but proceeded to mesmerize Falk with her unorthodox and dynamic strokes and constant change in the pace of play. Cleveland's record improved to 19-7 with the win and 10-2 in dual match competition.

Needing only one more point for its first SEC victory in 2003, Tennessee turned to Castellvi at No. 1 singles. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native lived up to her No. 3 national billing by adding 12th-rated Riske to her ever-growing list of victims by a 6-4, 6-0 count. Castellvi is now 23-3 versus ranked opponents and 26-4 overall. She is also 11-1 at one singles.

The Commodores tallied the next two points, the first of which came when Schellhas posted a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Maharaj at No. 5 singles. The afternoon concluded at six singles, where Immink came out on the short end against Menees, 6-3, 6-3.


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