The 12th rated University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer tennis team celebrated the last home match for seniors Kim Gates, Alison Ojeda and Agnes Wiski on Sunday by capturing a 6-1 triumph over No. 28 Mississippi in the Goodfriend Tennis Center. The seniors were honored in a pre-match ceremony. The win improves Tennessee to 16-5 overall, 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference.
"It was a good way to send the seniors out," said co-head coach Mike Patrick. "Alison, Agnes and Kim have made a lot of great contributions to this program."
The Lady Vols seized the doubles point by winning two out of the three contests. Wiski and junior Vilmarie Castellvi took an 8-3 decision from Alesya Ignatieva and Audra Adams first, and then Crystal Cleveland and Breanna Kray added an 8-3 win of their own to take a 1-0 lead heading into the singles portion of the match.
In singles action, Wiski put UT up 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Sabrina Peppl at the No. 4 slot. Mississippi then got on the board as Karem Harboe dealt Kim Gates a 6-3, 6-1 setback on court three. Ojeda struck next for the Lady Vols, taking a 6-4, 6-3 decision from No. 68 Ignatieva. Cleveland clinched the match by taking the No. 5 tilt from Florencia Basil, 6-3, 6-2.
After the match was decided, Ashley Robards added a straight set, 6-1 6-2 win at No. 6 and Castellvi came from behind and was heading toward victory when No. 13 Mira Radu retired from the match with Castellvi in the lead 6-7, 6-1, 3-0.
The loss drops Mississippi State to 8-9 overall and 1-7 in the SEC.
"We have some really tough matches down the stretch," Patrick said. "They are all on the road so it was good to pick up a solid win heading into the road trip."
The Lady Vols will close out the regular season on the road over the next two weeks. First, UT heads to No. 1 Florida at 5 p.m. on April 5. A meeting with No. 24 South Carolina follows at 1 p.m. on April 7. Tennessee wraps the season up on April 13 at No. 2 Georgia. The match is set for noon.
Men's tennis drops match to Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 13-ranked Tennessee tennis team fell in another close contest to No. 6-ranked Ole Miss 4-3 Sunday, in Oxford, Miss. For the Vols (12-5, 5-3 SEC), the contest which came down to the final pairing was their third 4-3 loss in conference play this season.
Ole Miss (13-4, 6-3 SEC) began the match by taking the first doubles point from the Vols in five matches. The Rebel duo of Alex Hartman and Claes Lindholm started the scoring effort, with an 8-2 win at No. 3. The Vols came back and evened the segment at one, when Adam Carey and Peter Handoyo continued their undefeated season in an 8-4 win at No. 2. The Ole Miss tandem of Martin Selin and Kristofer Stahlberg then clinched the tally for the Rebels, with an 8-4 upset victory over Tennessee's No. 23-ranked duo of Simon Rea and Mario Toledo at No. 1.
The Rebels would go up 3-0 quickly in the singles segment, when Selin and Lindholm won easily at the No. 4 and 6 positions, respectively Tennessee would fight back however, with wins in the next three matches to even the score at three. No. 8-ranked Peter Handoyo got the Vols on the board first, with an impressive win over No. 25-ranked Hartman at No.1. Sophomore Simon Rea and senior Mario Toledo provided the Vols' final two points, with three-set wins in the No. 2 and 5 matches, respectively. Toledo's win over No. 43-ranked Stahlberg was his 19th win in his last 21 matches. The match came down to Tennessee's Adam Carey against Ole Miss' Catalin Gard in the No. 3 match. The pair split the first two sets, before Gard finished the Vols off, with a 6-2 third-set triumph.
The Vols will finally be back at home this weekend, after playing their last eight matches on the road. No. 9-ranked Florida comes to Knoxville Friday, with a start time of 4 p.m. The Vols will then take on No. 27 South Carolina Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Varsity Tennis Center on the UT campus and admission will be free.