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    SEC Tennis Update - Sunday, April 1

    No. 11 Gator Men’s Tennis Downs Alabama, 7-0

    Gainesville, Fla. – On a day that saw over 20 former lettermen from the 1960s-2000s come back to Gainesville for the bi-annual Lettermen’s Weekend sponsored by the Men’s Tennis Booster Club, the No. 11 Florida men’s tennis team downed Alabama 7-0, at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex. With the victory, the Gators improved to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in conference action, while the Crimson Tide fell to 6-12 (1-7 SEC).

    “I think we did a lot of good things as a group,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “I think you gain confidence by doing things the right way and we’re doing the pretty well right now but we have to keep doing it as the season goes on.”

    The number three doubles team of Andrew Butz and Tripper Carleton got the Orange and Blue off to a quick start taking down David Vieyra and Michael Thompson 8-4 in a mere 37 minutes. Shortly thereafter, the UF number one doubles team of Spencer Newman and Bob van Overbeek downed Ricky Doverspike and Jarryd Botha to clinch the doubles point for the Gators. Florent Diep and Billy Federhofer wrapped up doubles action with a tight 8-7 (2) victory at number two doubles.

    Carleton got the Gators on the board in singles action dispatching Botha at number two singles, 6-4, 6-3. Newman quickly followed with a 6-4, 6-2, victory on court three to push the UF advantage to 3-0.

    Butz wrapped up the match for the Orange and Blue with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court six. Butz fell behind 3-1 early in the first before running off victories in the next five games to take the opening set. Butz carried the momentum over into the second set getting up an early break and eventually closing out the match on a powerful overhead slam.

    Two minutes after the conclusion of the Butz match, van Overbeek downed Doverspike at one singles. After the two held serve for the entire first set, van Overbeek took two mini-breaks to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker and cruised to a 7-3 win. In the second set, the two continued their back-and-forth play before van Overbeek broke in the fifth game. From there, van Overbeek was able to hold serve and close out the set 6-4 to give the Gators a 5-0 lead.

    Diep pushed the UF advantage to 6-0 after taking a hard fought contest on court four. After taking the first set 6-3, Diep had to go to a tiebreaker in the second. After rallying to tie the tiebreaker at 4-4, Diep won the next three points to take the set and the match.

    Michael Alford closed out the day for the Orange and Blue with a comeback win on court five. After dropped the first set 6-4, Alford rallied and won the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2 to claim the victory and secured the shutout for Florida.

    A trio of Gator alums were honored on the court between doubles and singles action. Eric Dobsha and three-time All-American Damon Henkel were honored as part of the 1994 SEC Championship team, while All-American and 1993 National Doubles Champion David Blair was also honored.

    The Gators return to action on Friday, April 9, when they travel to Fayetteville to take on SEC foe Arkansas at 2 p.m.

    “We have to improve to have a chance at those two tournaments at the end of the year,” said Jackson. “We’re just going to focus on the Gators and do what we have to get better. Playing on the road will be good for us since we’ll have to beat Ole Miss and Mississippi State in Mississippi at SECs and we’ll have to beat Georgia at Georgia in NCAAs. So we’re looking forward to going out and playing a few on the road.”

    No. 3 Georgia Men’s Tennis Tops Vanderbilt In Regular Season Home Finale

    ATHENS-----The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team closed its regular season home slate with a 7-0 win over No. 38 Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

    It was the 550th career win for Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz, who is in his 24th season at the helm of the Bulldogs.

    “It was great to see the guys respond the way they did after Friday’s loss,” Diaz said. “They played with a lot of confidence and played relaxed. To see our guys bounce back shows that we’re on the right track. It was also really nice to honor the seniors today. Playing at Georgia means a lot to them, and they’ve done a tremendous job.”

    The Bulldogs (17-2, 7-1 SEC) won two of the three doubles matches to take an early 1-0 lead. At No. 2, the No. 59 tandem of Sadio Doumbia and Nathan Pasha cruised past Blake Bazarnik and Jeff Offerdahl, 8-3, then No. 34 Hernus Pieters and Ignacio Taboada clinched the point at No. 1 with an 8-5 win over No. 56 Gonzales Austin and Alex Divalerio. At No. 3, the Commodores’ Joe Dorn and Charlie Jones prevailed 9-8(1) over KU Singh and Wil Spencer. It was the only win of the day for Vanderbilt, which dropped to 7-11 overall and 2-6 in SEC play.

    In singles. 33rd-ranked Taboada increased the Georgia lead to 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Bazarnik at No. 3. With the win, the Atlanta native tied Doumbia for the team lead with his 28th win, including his team-best 17th dual match win.

    No. 32 Singh stormed back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to claim the third point for the Bulldogs at No. 2 with a 7-5. 6-4 win over Austin. Then Pasha furnished his fourth clincher of the year at No. 5 with a 6-1, 7-6(9) win over Kovrigin.

    Pieters followed with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Offerdahl at No. 4, then eighth-ranked Spencer made it 6-0 with his 6-4, 7-5 win over 47th-ranked Jones at No. 1. Sophomore Campbell Johnson closed out the match at No. 6 with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Dorn.

    Doumbia, Will Reynolds, Spencer, Ignacio Taboada and student manager Matt Jackson were honored prior to the meet during the Senior Day ceremony.

    “It was a special win,” Spencer said. “It was my last match here in the regular season, so there are a lot of mixed emotions. We showed a lot of resilience after the loss on Friday, so I’m really proud of the guys today.”

    No. 10 Mississippi State Holds Off Hogs For 4-1 Win On Senior Day

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – With a hard-fought 4-1 triumph on Senior Day, the 10th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis crew improved to 16-4 overall and 7-1 in SEC play with their Sunday victory over the 39th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (12-9, 1-7). State remains in the SEC West lead with the win and in a tie for second overall in the conference after Sunday play.

    The Bulldogs’ 16-4 start this season is the best since MSU’s 1998 team began 17-3 in dual match play. MSU’s 7-1 start in the SEC is the team’s best since 1997 when the program started a similar 7-1 in conference play. The 1998 team reach the NCAA semifinals while the ’97 team made the quarters.

    Arkansas got out to the early lead Sunday as they took the doubles matches on courts 1 and 2 in decisive fashion. In the No. 2 position for Arkansas was Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott, who took an 8-1 decision from MSU’s 43rd-ranked duo of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin. In the top spot for the Bulldogs was the 32nd-ranked duo of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp, who dropped an 8-3 decision to the Razorbacks’ No. 48 duo of Matt Walters and Hall Fess as Arkansas took the doubles point.

    Play on court 3 was suspended as Arkansas’ tandem of Mike Ward and Nikolas Zogaj were leading 6-3 over MSU’s Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson.
    In singles, however, the Bulldogs would battle back to take five out of six first sets, but Arkansas would make things interesting in the second set on many of those courts, forcing the Bulldogs to dig deep for the victory.

    MSU’s 67th-ranked Stropp took a quick two-setter on court 3 6-3, 6-1 over Arkansas’ Walters to tie the match at 1-1. Then, the three State seniors who were honored prior to the match would take care of business by winning the next three points for the Bulldogs.

    The 15th-ranked senior Ilyushin gave MSU their first lead of the day as he ousted 108th-ranked Zogaj 6-3, 6-1 and a 2-1 Bulldog lead. Ilyushin is now on a six-match win streak and is now a remarkable 8-0 in SEC play at the No. 1 position.

    Extending MSU’s lead to 3-1 was 44th-ranked senior Cant. Taking an easy 6-1 first set, his Razorback foe Jenske would battle to stay in it as he took a 5-4 advantage in the second. However, Cant would battle back to break and force a tiebreaker. Cant’s efforts would prove too much as he took the tiebreaker and the match 6-1, 7-6(3).

    The match clincher came in the No. 5 position where 46th-ranked senior Coupland was battling Arkansas’ Mike Ward. After dropping a tough 6-3 first set, Coupland would battle back and take the second 6-2 and send the match to a dramatic third. Up 5-4 in the third set, Coupland broke to take the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and clinch the 4-1 victory for the Bulldogs.

    Play on the remaining courts was suspended. MSU junior James Chaudry was in a tight battle at 6-2, 4-6, 4-4 in the second position while sophomore Zach White was serving up 7-6, 4-6, 5-3 on court 6.


    LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sophomore Brynn Boren matched a career best with her sixth consecutive win, while clinching the 19th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team's first victory since March 11, as UT defeated Kentucky, 6-1, Sunday at the Boone Tennis Complex.

    "It's huge for our team because they're all working together so well," co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "To have a team win like this under all of the circumstances that we've been under is a great confidence booster for them."

    Fielding a complete singles lineup for the first time since their last win at Mississippi State, the Lady Vols (12-9, 3-5 SEC) snapped a four-match skid with a dominating performance Sunday.

    "Our team is getting healthier, but it's still a one-match at a time situation," Hahn-Patrick said. "During a season, we're always taking it one match at a time anyways. I definitely think we have good momentum for the upcoming matches, especially playing at home. It was just a great effort today."
    Boren, now 6-1 in SEC play, used a 6-4, 6-3 advantage to defeat Khristina Blajkevitch and give Tennessee a 4-0 lead, ensuring that the Lady Vols would walk away winners.

    Just prior to Boren's clincher, freshman Caitlyn Williams registered a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Edmee Morin to put UT up 3-0. Playing in just her third match since March 4, Williams appeared to benefit from the recovery time.

    "The thing about Caitlyn is she's a very versatile player," Hahn-Patrick said. "She is one of the clutch players on our team that I know under pressure, she'll know what to do. It's unfortunate that she isn't able to put in the time on the court to practice as much as she would like at this point. She's a smart player with a lot of court sense that knows what she needs to get done. She outsmarted her opponent today."

    Junior Kata Szekely became the third Lady Vol this season to reach her 50th career win, joining Boren and Natalie Pluskota. Szekely won 6-1, 6-2, over Caitlin McGraw for UT's first singles win of the day, which led to a 2-0 advantage.

    After Tennessee and Kentucky (8-11, 0-8 SEC) split courts one and three in doubles, it came down to Boren and Williams on court two. The duo, playing together for the first time and trailing 6-4 at the time UK won on court three, flipped a switch to reel off the next four games and win 8-6, giving the Lady Vols a 1-0 lead.

    No. 18 Pluskota and Szekely finished first, combining for the other half of Tennessee's doubles point. The tandem is undefeated in dual match play (5-0) and is 12-1 overall in 2011-12.

    Tennessee has won the doubles point in 18 of 21 matches this season.

    Also returning to the singles lineup for the Lady Vols was Pluskota, who played for the first time since Tennessee's last win on March 11.

    Pluskota defeated Jessica Stiles 7-6 (2), 6-4 to put Tennessee ahead, 5-0.
    With just four indoor courts, Joanna Henderson and Jesse Grace started their matches after the early contests concluded.

    Each won their first set, before eventually playing third-set 10-point tiebreakers with the match in hand. Henderson trailed 9-6 in the third-set against Stephanie Fox, but rallied to eventually win 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (19-17).

    Grace, meanwhile, saw her third-set go differently, falling 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (3) to Cece Witten.


    COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 15-ranked Auburn men’s tennis team got back on the winning track Sunday afternoon, earning its first SEC road victory of the season with a 4-3 win over No. 40 South Carolina at the Carolina Tennis Center.

    Auburn (15-6, 4-4 SEC) battled back after dropping the doubles point and outlasted an incredibly tough fight from the Gamecocks (14-8, 1-7 SEC) who were playing with a bit of added emotion on their Senior Day.

    “It was tough, we knew it would be,” Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. “I thought we competed hard today, and even though we lost the doubles point, we felt like we were going to battle today and find  a way to win this match. I’m proud of the guys for staying together and fighting through some adversity to win the match. South Carolina is a good young team and they’re getting better.”

    For the first time in conference play and just the third time this year, Auburn earned a victory in the match despite dropping the doubles point. South Carolina took an early 1-0 lead by sweeping the three doubles matches. Auburn’s Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert fell first, dropping an 8-5 decision to Carolina’s Kyle Koch and Carl Eguez, and the Gamecocks clinched the point as Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro downed Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso, 8-6. The 16th-ranked Auburn team of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies came up short in a tough battle against 47th-ranked Chip Cox and Nick Jones at the No. 1 doubles spot, falling 9-8 (7-4).

    The Gamecocks made it 2-0 in their favor as Koch defeated Michael Wardell at the No. 6 singles spot, 6-0, 6-1. But Auburn would find its way onto the scoreboard when Lopasso earned a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cox at the fifth singles position.

    Stamchev, ranked 77th in the country, got back in the win column with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Jones at the No. 2 position to knot the match at two apiece. But Carolina would ease back ahead as Andrew Adams defeated Cochrane at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-2.

    From there, Auburn would find a way to get the win. Mies, the nation’s 27th-ranked singles player, held off a tough fight from 121st-ranked Machado at the No. 1 singles spot, pulling out a 6-3, 7-5 win after trailing 5-3 in the second set. And Ollert put the finishing touches on the Tigers’ win with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Pinheiro at No. 4 singles.

    “I thought Lukas Ollert hadn’t really played well in the last four or five matches, but he came out today and did a very good job for us in singles,” Shore said. “I was proud of him, and I was proud of Lucas Lopasso. He lost a tough doubles match but then battled back and did a good job for us in singles. And Andy Mies, who’s lost some tough matches here recently, battled back from 3-5 down to win 7-5. He showed a lot of heart today.”

    No. 13 Alabama Women’s Tennis Drops First SEC Contest with 7-0 Loss to No. 2 Gators

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 13th-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team had its first Southeastern Conference loss of the season on Sunday, falling to No. 2 Florida, 7-0, at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide drops to 13-3 on the season and 7-1 in the league, while the Gators improve to 15-1 overall and 8-0 against SEC opponents.

    “We will take a lot out of this match,” said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “We fought in every match and didn’t give them anything. We had our chances, but credit to Florida. They brought their best game today. I think they knew they needed to bring it to beat us. That is a testament to the season we have had.”

    Florida took the 1-0 lead following doubles, marking the first time all season Alabama has not earned the point. First to finish was the matchup on court two where the Gators’ 13th-ranked duo of junior Lauren Embree and senior Jo Mather topped the Tide’s 47th-ranked team of junior Antonia Foehse and sophomore Mary Anne Macfarlane, 8-2. Florida would secure the point on No. 1 as the nation’s top-ranked doubles team of junior Allie Will and sophomore Sofie Oyen posted an 8-5 decision against senior Courtney McLane and junior Alexa Guarachi, the No. 19 team in the country. Shortly after, junior Caroline Hitimana and sophomore Olivia Janowicz would take the match on court three with an 8-5 win over senior Taylor Lindsey and freshman Yasmine Ebada.

    “We have to come out and play more aggressive doubles,” added Mainz. “We were a bit passive. Florida was much more aggressive than we were today.”

    In singles, Florida would go on to win all six of the matches en route to the team victory. First to finish was the match on court three where 19th-ranked Mather topped McLane, 6-3, 6-3. Following that, No. 1 Will would post a hard-fought 6-2, 6-2 win over 23rd-ranked Macfarlane. The match was clinched on court four for the Gators as No. 42 Oyen captured a 6-2, 7-5 victory against sophomore Alex Clay. Sophomore Alex Cercone, ranked 64th in singles, gave Florida a 5-0 lead in the match with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Foehse on court five. On court two, 11th-ranked Embree came back from being down in the first set to win 7-5, 6-3 over No. 56 Guarachi. The match would end on court six with Janowicz edging out Lindsey in a third set, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

    “You look at the scores, and it doesn’t indicate the closeness of this match,” said Mainz. “We had our chances in a couple spots, but I think we maybe backed off or got a little too rushed. Overall, I think we played a good match and have a lot to take from this. I am really proud of the way we fought.”

    Next up, the Tide will hit the road to take on Georgia and Tennessee on April 6 and 8, respectively.

    “We are in good shape,” added Mainz. “We will go back to the drawing board and be ready for Georgia on Friday. I can promise that.”

    No. 17 Rebel Netters Down LSU 6-1 To Conclude Road Trip
    BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 17 nationally ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis concluded a successful road trip with a 6-1 win over 35th-ranked LSU here Sunday at the Dub Robinson Tennis Stadium.  With the win, the Rebels wrap up a 2-0 weekend and improve to 13-7 overall, 5-3 in the SEC.
    The Rebels took the early 1-0 lead by winning at No. 1 and 2 doubles.  LSU came out battling in singles, but Ole Miss was able to win in straight sets at No. 1 and hold off the Tigers in three sets at four and five to clinch the victory.
    “We played well in doubles and then won some huge three-setters in singles.  I am proud of the girls for stepping up, because LSU pushed at a lot of positions,” head coach Mark Beyers said.  “It’s great to go on the road and pick up two wins against two good teams.  Now we turn our attention to a big match against Vanderbilt on Friday.”
    The senior duo of Kristi Boxx and Abby Guthrie, ranked No. 6 in the country, improved to 16-2 at No. 1 doubles, 7-1 in the SEC with an 8-4 win.  Gabby Rangel and Erin Stephens clinched the point winning 8-5 at No. 2 doubles.
    Boxx, ranked No. 12 nationally, downed LSU’s Whitney Wolf 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to put the Rebels ahead 2-0 and move to 6-1 in the SEC.
    All the remaining matches went three sets, and the Rebels won four of them.  Freshman Julia Jones rallied to beat Keri Frankenberger 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4 to increase the lead to 3-0.  Moments later Guthrie finished off her comeback against Ebie Wilson at No. 5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to clinch the victory. Jones is now 5-3 in the SEC, and Guthrie improved to 7-1. 
    Stephens won her match against Tiger Kaitlin Burns 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on court three, and sophomore Caroline Rhode-Moe defeated Olivia Howlett 5-7, 7-6(1), 1-0(5) on court two.

    No. 9 UK Rolls No. 16 Tennessee Tying School’s Best Start in SEC

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off one of the biggest wins in program history on Friday at No. 3 Georgia, the ninth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team showed no sign of a letdown in its next match, dominating No. 16 Tennessee 7-0 to tie the best Southeastern Conference start in school history Sunday at Barksdale Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

    The victory was Kentucky’s (20-4, 8-0 SEC) 20th of the season, marking the third-consecutive season and the 18th time in school history UK has had 20 or more wins. UK head coach Dennis Emery, who is in his 30th year as head coach, has now led UK to 13 20-plus win seasons. The Wildcats have posted three consecutive 20-plus win seasons four different times in school history with this recent stretch being the third time under Emery.

    “Obviously, we are very pleased with the way our team not only played today, but how they competed,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “Our coaching staff had some concerns about us having a hangover after the huge win at Georgia, especially mentally and with our fatigue. But our guys handled all of those distractions as well as I have seen us do it all year. I know I have said it before, but this truly was the best all-around performance for us this season.”

    UK has now won eight consecutive matches to start league play, which ties the best start in school history. Kentucky’s 1988 team, which was also coached by Emery, also started league play 8-0.  UK’s win continues its recent success in the SEC as the Wildcats have won 19 of their last 23 matches in league play dating back to last season. The Wildcats are currently first in the SEC ahead of Georgia and Mississippi State, who both sit at 7-1.

    The victory for Kentucky was its first over Tennessee, who has won the last two regular-season SEC titles, since defeating the Vols twice in 2009. UK earned a key upset over No. 4 Tennessee in Knoxville on Feb. 21, 2009, before also defeating the Vols later that year in a regular-season dual match in Lexington. UT would avenge both losses by defeating the Wildcats in the 2009 SEC Tournament.

    “We knew this was going to be a tough match today because Tennessee is such a great team and they were very hungry for the win,” Emery said.  “Tennessee is really positioned well for the postseason because of how well they have played this year. We have a lot of respect for that program.”

    Sunday’s result completes a very successful weekend for the Wildcats. Kentucky started the weekend with a thrilling 4-3 win over No. 3 Georgia, which marked its first win over Georgia in Athens, Ga., since 1997. The win over UGA was Kentucky’s first over a top-three ranked team since defeating No. 2 Virginia in Lexington, Ky., on Feb. 6, 2010.

    The two wins continue Kentucky’s success over quality opponents this season as the Wildcats have defeated a top-25 ranked team in three of their last four matches. UK is now 8-3 on the year against teams that are currently ranked in the top 25, while it has posted an impressive 27 wins over top-25 teams since the start of the 2009 season.

    The Wildcats started the match with a very impressive performance in doubles, moving Kentucky to 14-0 this season when it wins the doubles point. Sophomores Alejandro Gomez and Tom Jomby were the first to finish, dominating Brandon Fickey and Bryan Swartz 8-3 at court three. Tennessee would even the winning at court two when Jarryd Chaplin and Edward Jones defeated UK’s Anthony Rossi and Alex Musialek 8-5.

    Court one would be the decisive point in doubles between UK’s No. 17 Eric Quigley and Panav Jha and Tennessee’s No. 8 Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese. Quigley and Jha earned an early break in the match to go up 3-1, before the talented UT duo erased the break midway through the match. With the score tied 5-5, Quigley and Jha earned another break and then held serve to go up 7-5. UT would hold serve to cut the UK lead to 7-6 before Quigley and Jha were able to fight off break point to hold on for 8-6 win.

    UK played very well in singles action, winning on all six courts to finish off the 7-0 victory. Doubles and the beginning of singles play was played outdoors before rain in the Knoxville area moved play inside. Quigley, who is ranked seventh in the nation in singles, began the action with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Libietis at No. 1 singles. The win continues Quigley’s impressive season as the senior is now 18-1 in dual matches and an unblemished 8-0 against SEC foes.

    Sophomore Grant Roberts finished just behind Quigley, giving Kentucky a 3-0 lead when he took down Swartz 6-1, 6-3 at court six. Roberts, a native of Lexington, Ky., has had a very strong spring, posting a 7-2 mark at No. 6 singles, including a 4-1 record against SEC competition

    Kentucky clinched the match behind a solid performance at No. 2 singles from Musialek, who is ranked 18th in the nation in singles. The native of Dax, France, grabbed the first set from No. 92 Reese 6-3 before controlling the second set 6-0 to earn the win. Musialek, who became the 14th player in school history to earn over 100 career singles wins, is now 11-4 in dual matches and 5-2 in the SEC this spring.

    Three singles matches remained on court when Musialek clinched the victory for Kentucky. UK would earn wins on all three courts. Gomez moved the score up to 5-0 when he took down Jones in straight sets 7-6, 6-4 at court five, before No. 91 Jomby eared the sixth point of the match with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at court four over Chaplin. No. 22 Rossi completed the sweep with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Fickey at court three.

    Tennessee (12-10, 4-4 SEC) entered Sunday on a four-match winning streak after it started the weekend with a home win over Vanderbilt.


    No. 14 Rebel Tennis Defeats LSU 5-2
    OXFORD, Miss. – If the No. 14 nationally ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team wanted any chance at the SEC Western Division title or the overall title, then they knew taking care of business at home this weekend was a must.  Mission accomplished, as the Rebels defeated 27th-ranked LSU 5-2 Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center to cap a 2-0 weekend.       
    “It’s always good to get a win against LSU, especially when they have a good team,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “We had a great team effort from top to bottom.  It was good to get the doubles point.  We played really well in the first sets with the exception of Lutjen. But, he did a good job of coming back.  All-in-all, great weekend for the Rebs!”
    After a solid 6-1 win on Friday against Arkansas, the Rebels came into Sunday’s match vs. LSU wanting to get off to a good start early, and they did by sweeping the doubles.  The twins, Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann won 8-2 at No. 2 and then William Kallberg and Johan Backstrom clinched the point 8-5 at No. 3.
    In fact, Kallberg and Backstrom were instrumental in the win as a whole, picking up two wins singles as well.
    Senior Marcel Thiemann had an outstanding weekend for the Rebels going 3-0 in singles and doubles to lead the team.  He downed LSU’s Neal Skupski 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles to put Ole Miss up 2-0 and improve to 7-1 in the SEC.
    “Marcel is one of the better players in the conference,” and last year Marcel barely beat him.  For him to beat Skupski the way he did today, is great a day for Marcel.”
    Kallberg, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Sweden, made it 3-0 defeating Tiger James Turbervill 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4.  Backstrom clinched it with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Stefan Szacinski on court five.
    “William is coming to play every time.  His parents were here, and it was great that they got to see him come away with two victories in singles and doubles.   That was a big match for Backy. He has had a lot of close matches that didn’t go his way. That has a tendency to play on your psyche.   That was a huge victory for the team, and I think you’re going to see Backy play great ball from this point on.”

    Kanakova Clinches Gamecocks’ Thrilling 4-3 Win at Auburn

    AUBURN, Ala. (April 1, 2012) — The No. 38 South Carolina women’s tennis team used a complete team effort Sunday to pull out a 4-3 victory at No. 62 Auburn. The Gamecocks improved to 12-6 on the year and 3-5 in the SEC with the win, while Auburn fell to 8-9 and 3-5 in the league.

    The Gamecocks gave a phenomenal effort in doubles to earn a 1-0 lead heading to singles play. South Carolina trailed on all three courts before mounting an incredible comeback to win courts one and two. Prior to winning those two matches, Auburn held off South Carolina’s No. 3 squad of Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova by a 9-7 score. The Tiger duo of Olivia Bennet and Plamena Kurteva had a 7-2 advantage on the Gamecocks before Andersson and Popova fought back to win five straight games to make it 7-all.

    On court one, South Carolina’s Anya Morgina and Jaklin Alawi fell behind 2-0 to Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler, but they rebounded quickly to get the match back on serve. Once their match went to 7-all, the pair held and got a break of serve to earn a 9-7 victory, setting up for an exciting finish on court two.

    Auburn’s No. 36-ranked tandem of Jen Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers had a 7-3 advantage on Dominika Kanakova and Adriana Pereira, but the Gamecocks came all the way back to force a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Carolina jumped ahead 6-2, but Pfeifler and Schippers won three straight points to keep themselves alive. On the next rally, Schippers fired a forehand right at Kanakova, who was at the net. Kanakova blocked it back with a two-handed backhand volley that sailed just over the charging Auburn team’s heads and caught the baseline to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 advantage.

    In singles, Carolina had the upper hand on four courts in the early goings of the matches. At one, Morgina ended up making short work of Pfeifler, winning 6-1, 6-2, and Alawi did the same with Flickinger at the No. 2 position by picking up a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Sandwiched between those two Gamecock victories, however, was a win by the Tigers on court six with Lauren Levant defeating Andersson 6-3, 6-0.

    Popova was in control of her match at No. 4 singles against Kasler, winning the first set 6-1 and pulling ahead quickly 3-0 in the second. Kasler, though, stayed tough on the court and made the second set score 3-all before Popova claimed the next game for a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, it was the last game Popova would win, as Kasler ran away with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 triumph to pull her team back to 3-2.

    The final two matches on court at three and five saw the Gamecocks’ Kanakova and Pereira each down a set in their contests. At the No. 5 spot, Pereira had a 5-3 lead in the first set on Schippers, but she ended up losing four straight games to close out the set. In the second, Pereira battled her way through to pick up a 6-4 win to force a deciding set. The third belonged to Schippers, though, who snagged a 5-0 lead before going on to win 6-1 to make the team score 3-all.

    Kanakova dropped her first set to Kurteva 6-2 and she fell behind 4-2 in the second. Still trailing 5-4, Kanakova managed to break Kurteva to make it 5-all, but her opponent came right back with a break of her own to lead 6-5. Kanakova responded again by breaking Kurteva’s serve to get to a tiebreaker, which she won 7-4 to force a decisive third set.

    Kanakova had a 2-1 lead after the first three games, but Kurteva then won two straight to make it 3-2 and put the match back on serve. After holding in the sixth game, Kanakova got a break to go up 4-3 at the changeover. She nearly went ahead 5-3 after taking a 30-love lead on her serve in the ensuring game, but Kurteva fought back to get a break for 4-all. Kanakova broke serve yet again in the next game for a chance to serve out the match. After getting to deuce, Kanakova had two match points in the 10th game but was unable to capitalize on both of them and Kurteva held on to get the break. Kanakova got her final break of serve in the next game for her second chance to serve out the match. This time, Kanakova outlasted her exhausted opponent on the court, using relentless side-to-side ball movement during the points to pick up a 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win for South Carolina.

    Georgia Women Defeat Vandy In Nashville

    Nashville, Tenn.--- Seventh-ranked Georgia edged the 25th-ranked Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon 4-3.
    The Bulldogs (17-2, 7-1 SEC) lost the doubles point but rallied back in singles with wins on courts 1, 2, 4, and 6.
    In doubles, the Georgia pair of Maho Kowase and Lilly Kimbell blanked Vanderbilt’s Nelly Radeva and Megan Gornet, 8-0.  Kowase and Kimbell move their winning streak to 15 with a perfect 7-0 record in SEC play.  Vanderbilt fired back on court two as Ashleigh Antal and Marie Casares downed the Georgia duo of Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring, 8-3.  The Commodores clinched the doubles point with Jackie Wu and Lauren Mira topping the Bulldog tandem of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, 8-3.
    “Today was a great epic battle,” said head Coach Jeff Wallace.  “Vanderbilt played fantastic.”
    The Bulldogs battled through singles as sophomore Kimbell quickly evened the match score with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Gornet on court six.  The Bulldog’s continued to move forward as senior Gullickson, ranked 8th nationally, ousted Wu 6-0, 6-2.  Vanderbilt tied the match score 2-2 after Radeva defeated Fuller 6-2, 6-4.  Georgia’s Kowase, ranked 50th nationally was next off as she downed Antal 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.  Vanderbilt’s Casares outlasted Georgia senior Gilchrist 6-0, 4-6, 3-6 to tie the match 3-3.  For her seventh match clincher of the season, Bulldog freshman Lauren Herring knocked off Vanderbilt’s Mira 7-6, 0-6, 7-5.
    “I’m very proud of Lauren,” added Wallace.  “She started cramping and had to take an injury timeout.  She ended up having to serve underhanded to finish out the match.”

    No. 2 Florida Women’s Tennis Sweeps No. 13 Alabama for First Place in SEC

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The second-ranked University of Florida blanked Alabama, 7-0, on Sunday and became the lone remaining undefeated team remaining in Southeastern Conference action with three conference matches left on the 2011-12 regular-season schedule.

    The Gators (15-1, 8-0) handed the SEC Western Division leading Crimson Tide (13-3, 7-1) its first league loss of the season and halted Alabama’s eight-match winning streak while earning their 10th consecutive dual match victory, including their 33rd straight in SEC regular-season action.

    “I thought we played great. It was beautiful, it was a great crowd, it was a tremendous college tennis atmosphere,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We were very disciplined. I was proud to see that we competed like champions. Our body language looked professional. We played a hard-hitting Alabama team and I was just really pleased to see that we were able to neutralize some of their aggression and play great defense. Overall, I am very, very pleased with the weekend and that we are continuing to get better.”

    Florida captured the win on all three singles courts, with the Gator teams of Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth Ga.) both winning their 13th consecutive matches, respectively. The victories marked the 80th individual doubles win for Embree, as well as the 98th for Mather, the 50th for Oyen and the 82nd for Will. Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) posted the third doubles win to complete the sweep.

    Mather, who was the first to net a win on the singles court with a 6-3, 6-3 decision against Courtney McLane, earned her 95th career singles victory.

    Will then followed with a 6-2, 6-2 win against No. 23 Mary Anne Macfarlane and Oyen provided the clinching dual match victory with a 6-2, 7-5 win versus Alex Clay. Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) continued the winning with a 7-5, 6-2 final, before Embree collected her 10th straight singles win, a 7-5, 6-3 mark against No. 56 Alexa Guarachi, and Janowicz polished off the sweep with a three-set victory on court six.

    Mississippi State Registers 4-3 Upset At No. 29 Arkansas
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis posted three three-set comeback victories in singles Sunday to rally from a 3-1 deficit and defeat No. 29 ranked Arkansas in a thrilling 4-3 decision on the road.
    The victory improved State to 7-10 overall, 1-7 in SEC play. Arkansas fell to 10-9, 2-6. The victory was State's highest ranked win since a triumph over #16 LSU in 2009 in Starkville.
    With wins on courts one and two, the Lady Bulldogs were able to secure the critical opening doubles point, advancing the team to an early 1-0 lead. Olesya Tsigvintseva and Ekaterina Iakovleva kicked off State's doubles success with an 8-3 triumph against Emily Carbone and Stephanie Roy of Arkansas at the No. 2 position. Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran continued the winning trend, pairing up against Arkansas’s Laurie Gingras and Claudine Paulson to notch a closely contested 9-7 victory. The Lady Bulldogs almost pulled off the doubles sweep, but Roseline Dion and Petra Ferancova were unable to hold of the Razorbacks, falling 7-5 in the deciding tiebreaker at the No. 3 position.
    Arkansas rallied back strong from MSU's early success, executing three consecutive straight-set wins in singles competition. Roy initiated the string with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against the MSU senior Tsigvintseva on court two. Court four followed suit, as Gingras took down the MSU rookie Tran in a 6-0, 6-2 decision. State's Dion fell in a first-set tiebreaker at No. 6, but Parenteau continued the Razorback’s roll, claiming the tiebreaker 7-2, and ultimately taking the match 7-6(2), 6-3.
    With the odds and the momentum against them, MSU was in need of a spark, having lost the first set in all remaining matches as well. Fortunately, that is just what the 113th ranked Perper provided. Coming back from a 6-3 first-set loss at the No. 1 position, the sophomore was able to battle back and take the second set 6-4. Perper dominated the third set 6-1 putting the Bulldogs back in reach of an overall victory at 3-2 down.
    Following the set-splitting pattern, Iakovleva fought back from a 6-4 first set deficit to claim court three in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 comeback decision, evening the overall score at 3-3. Iakovleva’s win left the fate of the match in the hands of the true freshman Bulldog Ferancova at the No. 5 spot.
    Ferancova dropped her first set against Arkansas senior Lukomskaya 6-4, but displayed exceptional perseverance throughout the second set, and was able to take it 6-4. With the match resting on her shoulders, Ferancova played with confidence in the third set, breaking serve at a 3-3 deadlock and holding serve twice to complete the incredible rally for Mississippi State.
    "This was a great win and a big confidence boost for our team," MSU head coach Daryl Greenan said. "We have had a few near misses against good teams this year. The girls have been resilient and have continued to work hard and today it paid off. Winning the doubles proved to be crucial but coming back and winning three singles after losing the first set on all six courts was amazing.
    "Sasha (Perper) and Kate (Iakovleva) did a great job coming back and winning but Petra (Feroncova)'s comeback over a very good player at #5 to seal the victory was extra special. I am very proud of our team's effort today. Hopefully we can carry some momentum from this win into our last few matches of the season."