After a tough, hard fought loss to the No. 2 Florida Gators on Friday, the Tennessee Lady Volunteer tennis team came into Sunday's match against the South Carolina Gamecocks hoping to end a four-game losing streak.
Four hours later, the Lady Vols ended their losing streak and earned their first SEC win.
The Lady Vols defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 4-2 Sunday at Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in a match that lasted four hours.
"For us that was a huge match, after the loss on Friday night we were looking to set a tone," junior Joanna Henderson said. "The doubles we came out a bit slowly, they really took it to us. In singles I was really proud the way the girls fought."
The final result was not as positive for Tennessee on Friday against Florida. While Tennessee freshmen Laurence Guevremont and Brittany Lindl battled hard on courts three and five, Florida ultimately left Knoxville with a 7-0 sweep of the Lady Vols.
It looked as though the same result might happen Sunday against South Carolina, as the Gamecocks took the doubles point by easily winning on courts one (8-1) and three (8-3).
The Lady Vol freshmen, however, responded in the singles match with Eve Repic, Lindl, and Guevremont defeating their opponents in the singles match and giving UT three big points needed to win the match.
Tennessee freshmen Victoria Olivarez fell to her opponent on court three though and the fate of the match would be determined on courts two and six.
South Carolina made sure that nothing would come easy for Tennessee on Sunday, but sophomore Tiffany Tavares broke through in the third set and clinched the victory for her team.
"For me, it was just really important for me to just keep fighting," Tavares said. "I have a tendency to get really tight which I am sure everybody saw. But I am at this point where I am playing where I need to just keep battling and trying to fight my way through that."
While he was disappointed at his team's performance in the doubles match, Tennessee women's tennis head coach Mike Patrick was proud of how his young team stepped up in the singles matches.
"Our freshmen stepped up and did a great job in the singles, we got blown out in the doubles," Patrick said. "We needed to pay them for that lesson they gave us, and hopefully we learn from that. We have come out a couple times like that, real tentative in the doubles. Can't do that in this league. But we came out and played really well and really tough in the singles."
Patrick was also proud of his two upperclassmen Henderson's and Tavares' toughness down the stretch, saying that both are examples to the younger players about what it takes to win matches in the SEC.
"That's how hard you have to play and that is how long you have to play to be successful, and we haven't gotten that yet from some of the younger ones," Patrick said. "The older ones today showed that when it counts that is what you have got to do. You just have to have a stronger will and be able to be tougher than them."