Weekend in Lady Vol sports

The Lady Vol swimming and tennis squads had a very good weekend in action.

Lady netters win fifth straight

The 11th-rated Lady Vol tennis squad notched its fifth straight victory Sunday afternoon with a 7-0 blitzof the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks in Fayetteville. With the win, the Orangeimproved to 13-3 and 5-1 in conference play. The Lady 'Backs dropped to 7-7 and remained winless in the SEC at 0-6 with the loss.

Tennessee got started on the right foot by winning the doubles point for the 14th time this season. The first victory came at the No. 2 slot, where the 36th-rated duo of junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink won their ninth match in a row, defeating sophomore Simona Arghire and rookie Melissa Cornett, 8-6. The win kept their perfect 9-0 record in tact as well. Senior Crystal Cleveland and freshman Sabita Maharaj clinched the point at the third position over junior Megan Ferreira and sophomore Whitney Morton by virtue of an 8-6 margin. Cleveland and Maharaj are 5-0.

Arkansas got its lone victory on the day at the No. 1 doubles slot. UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi teamed with sophomore Breanna Kray and fell 8-6, to junior Anna Dybicz and sophomore Iliana Pacheco. Castellvi normally pairs up with freshman Melissa Schaub to form the nation's No. 5-ranked duo, but Co-Head Coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick decided to give the rookie a rest.

In the singles, the No. 3-ranked Castellvi registered her ninth consecutive victory, defeating Arghire in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. The win gave the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native her 30th win of the year and upped her overall mark to 30-4 and 15-1 in dual matches. It marked her third-straight season with at least 30 wins.

Kray gave UT a 3-0 advantage when she disposed of sophomore Katie Horne, 6-2, 6-1, for her ninth triumph of the year. It also marked Kray's first appearance in singles since Feb. 8 when she filled the No. 4 hole against Northwestern.

Maharaj secured the victory for UT when she upended Ferreira at three singles, 6-1, 6-2. It was Maharaj's third win in a row and moved her to 10-9 on the season.

The next point came from Immink at the No. 5 spot. She beat Cornett in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, for her third win of the year.

Tennessee held a 6-0 lead after No. 56 Cleveland won her 13th-straight match, cruising by Dybicz, 6-2, 6-4, at two singles. Her record improved to 23-7 and 14-2 in dual match play with the win. Cleveland's victory also tied her with Wendy Anderson on the school's all-time list with 115.

Sophomore Ashley Robards finished up the singles sweep for the Lady Vols with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Pacheco at No. 4 singles.

Wells shines in Zone B

Tennessee junior Kylee Wells continued to dive well at the NCAA Zone B Regional at Auburn, Ala., taking second on the platform during the final day of competition on Sunday.

Wells, who also placed second on the one-meter springboard earlier in the competition, tallied a score of 432.40 on the platform. Because she already had qualified for the NCAA Championships by placing in the top five on the 3m, the competition served mainly as a good NCAA tune-up for this season's SEC platform winner.

Unfortunately for the Lady Vols, senior Stacy Binyon's qualifying attempt on the platform came up just short as she placed ninth with a total of 362.80. Binyon would have needed to place in the top four to earn a bid to NCAAs.

Wells, along with Lady Vols senior Jaime Sanger (Plymouth, Minn.), sophomore Lauryn McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.), and freshmen Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Noelle Bassi (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) must ready themselves for the NCAA Championships, which will take place from March 20-22 at the same venue as the Zone B Diving Regional, the Martin Aquatics Center. Wells will compete on the 1m, 3m and platform, while McCalley and Sanger will dive both on the 1m and 3m. Fessel will swim the 100y and 200y back events, while Bassi competes in the 200y fly.

Lady netters win fifth straight

The 11th-rated Lady Vol tennis squad notched its fifth straight victory Sunday afternoon with a 7-0 blitzof the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks in Fayetteville. With the win, the Orangeimproved to 13-3 and 5-1 in conference play. The Lady 'Backs dropped to 7-7 and remained winless in the SEC at 0-6 with the loss.

Tennessee got started on the right foot by winning the doubles point for the 14th time this season. The first victory came at the No. 2 slot, where the 36th-rated duo of junior Tammy Encina and sophomore Majen Immink won their ninth match in a row, defeating sophomore Simona Arghire and rookie Melissa Cornett, 8-6. The win kept their perfect 9-0 record in tact as well. Senior Crystal Cleveland and freshman Sabita Maharaj clinched the point at the third position over junior Megan Ferreira and sophomore Whitney Morton by virtue of an 8-6 margin. Cleveland and Maharaj are 5-0.

Arkansas got its lone victory on the day at the No. 1 doubles slot. UT senior Vilmarie Castellvi teamed with sophomore Breanna Kray and fell 8-6, to junior Anna Dybicz and sophomore Iliana Pacheco. Castellvi normally pairs up with freshman Melissa Schaub to form the nation's No. 5-ranked duo, but Co-Head Coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick decided to give the rookie a rest.

In the singles, the No. 3-ranked Castellvi registered her ninth consecutive victory, defeating Arghire in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. The win gave the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native her 30th win of the year and upped her overall mark to 30-4 and 15-1 in dual matches. It marked her third-straight season with at least 30 wins.

Kray gave UT a 3-0 advantage when she disposed of sophomore Katie Horne, 6-2, 6-1, for her ninth triumph of the year. It also marked Kray's first appearance in singles since Feb. 8 when she filled the No. 4 hole against Northwestern.

Maharaj secured the victory for UT when she upended Ferreira at three singles, 6-1, 6-2. It was Maharaj's third win in a row and moved her to 10-9 on the season.

The next point came from Immink at the No. 5 spot. She beat Cornett in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, for her third win of the year.

Tennessee held a 6-0 lead after No. 56 Cleveland won her 13th-straight match, cruising by Dybicz, 6-2, 6-4, at two singles. Her record improved to 23-7 and 14-2 in dual match play with the win. Cleveland's victory also tied her with Wendy Anderson on the school's all-time list with 115.

Sophomore Ashley Robards finished up the singles sweep for the Lady Vols with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Pacheco at No. 4 singles.

Cook second in NCAA track meet

Tennessee's Nicole Cook came within 7/100ths of a second of claiming the 800-meter title Saturday night at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The Lady Vol sophomore ran the best race of her career, yet UCLA's Lena Nilsson held off a valiant charge by the UT middle distance standout at the finish line by the narrowest of margins.

Nilsson, who was edged at the tape by Cook on Friday night in the prelims, turned the tables in the finals. It wasn't by much, however, as her 2:05.13 clocking was just enough to top Cook's 2:05.19 and prevent the second-year Big Orange performer from becoming Tennessee's first NCAA indoor champ since Patty Wiegand won the 3000m in 1991.

As it was, Cook became the Lady Vols' first top-three finisher in the 800m at NCAA Indoors since Kathi Harris was third in 1985. Additionally, she is UT's first indoor 800m scorer since Jasmin Jones placed fourth in 1991 and is Tennessee's most recent top-three NCAA indoor finisher since Sue Walton was the 200m runner-up in 1995.

''I'm extremely proud of Nicole and very happy for her,'' first-year Lady Vol Head Coach J.J. Clark said. ''Nicole ran a very smart race and did a lot of things right with positioning. She ran two PRs this weekend and has really learned a lot at this meet.

''Having me as her coach this year has also been a factor for Nicole, because she has had to get used to my style and develop a trust in me. I am proud of the way she has learned to run from the start (of a race). That's why she has been able to improve tremendously and record personal bests this season. That's an accomplishment in itself, because her times last year were not too shabby.''

UT teammates Toyin Olupona (7.39 seconds in the 60-meter dash) and Dee Dee Trotter (23.42 seconds in the 200-meter dash) did not qualify for event finals in their specialties.

Softballers go 1-2 vs. Bama

Stacey Jennings and Amber Rhinehart did the damage as the Lady Vol softball team beat No. 18 Alabama 2-1 in the doubleheader of a Saturday doubleheader at Tyson Park.

Bama won Game 1 by a 9-1 score and took Sunday's rubber game by an 8-0 margin.

Jennings (13-5) went all the way in the circle for her first complete-game effort in Southeastern Conference play and also snapped a 1-1 deadlock with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth to provide the winning margin. Tennessee (22-10/2-4 SEC) ended a five-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide (19-10/4-1 SEC).

''Stacey (Jennings) gave us a super performance and both Katherine (Card) and Amber (Rhinehart) provided an offensive spark for us,'' UT co-coach Ralph Weekly said. ''Alabama will be ready tomorrow and we need to be prepared for a very intense game.''

Senior catcher Lacy Prejean's one-out homer in the second off Jennings enabled the Crimson Tide to draw first blood. The dinger was the fourth of the campaign for the three-time All-SEC selection and cleared the left field wall with ease.

In the bottom of the stanza, freshmen Mandie Fishback (Banks, Ore.) and Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn.) laced consecutive one-out singles and a base-hit by rookie Kristi Durant (Placentia, Calif.) filled the bases against UA junior hurler Erin Wright. A sacrifice fly into left field by freshman Katherine Card (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) brought in Fishback with the tying run but Wright stranded the two runners on base by striking out junior Lauren Mattox (Charlotte, N.C.).

Amber Rhinehart's 3-for-3 performance led Tennessee's 11-attack. The trio of rookies Card (RBI), Fishback (run) and Fekete each contributed a pair of hits. Jennings tossed her seventh complete-game of the year by scattering nine hits with two strikeouts.


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