The 23rd-ranked Lady Vols tennis team knocked off No. 38 LSU 5-2 Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., to complete a weekend sweep of two Southeastern Conference opponents.
Tennessee (9-3, 3-1 SEC) rebounded from its first conference loss of the season on March 6 at then-No. 36 Alabama with a 6-1 win over No. 52 Arkansas Friday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
The pair of wins sets up a highly-anticipated non-conference match Friday at 5 p.m. when No. 22 Notre Dame visits for the Lady Vols’ first home contest in three weeks.
Sunday’s win against LSU (7-5, 1-3) improved the Lady Vols’ record to 7-0 this season when they win the doubles point. No. 1 doubles pair Sabita Maharaj and Melissa Schaub defeated Lauren Seaman and Tiffany Tucker, 8-2. The pair won both of their doubles matches over the weekend to improve to 5-2 on the season and end a two-match losing skid.
In singles play, Victoria Jones saw her 10-match winning streak come to a close with a 6-4, 0-6, 4-6 loss to LSU sophomore Tiffany Tucker.
Despite Jones’ loss, Tennessee led the Lady Tigers 3-1, and Ashley Robards closed out the team victory with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 win against LSU’s Camila Caliari.
“She stayed tough and closed out the match pretty solidly,” Lady Vols co-coach Mike Patrick said.
Maharaj, ranked No. 44 nationally, won her fifth straight singles match in the No. 1 spot, earning a 6-7, 6-1, 6-4 win over Amanda Mang to give UT an early 2-0 lead.
“Every match was highly contested,” Patrick said. “That's nothing unusual because we've had tough matches with LSU before. They are a hard hard-fighting team.
“I'm proud of the girls and the effort they put forth.”
Sunday’s match also marked Tennessee’s first outdoor match of the season after starting the year 8-3 in 11 indoor matches.
“We’re playing outside in hot, windy weather for the first time this season after playing indoors on Friday,” Patrick said. “It was tough, and the girls fought hard.”
Friday’s match was never in doubt. The Lady Vols took the first five points before Schaub lost to Karina Ledaja in straight sets.
Maharaj, Blakeley Griffith, Bryce Marable, Jones and Ghizela Schutte all captured straight-set wins against the Razorbacks (10-3, 0-3).
“It was nice to get another SEC win under our belt,” UT co-coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said.