The Tennessee men's tennis team went from receiving an F grade by their coach in its first tournament to an A this past weekend in the SEC Fall Classic.
However, it is not as simple as that.
Of the six Vols in the singles draw at the SEC Fall Classic held in Nashville, only junior Brandon Fickey made it past the round of 32.
Fickey was knocked out the next day by William Kallberg of Ole Miss, leaving all the Vols in the consolation ladder.
Jarryd Chaplin advanced to the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket but was defeated by Florida's Maxx Lipman.
In total, UT finished with an 8-9 record in consolations and a 6-6 record in the main draw.
The Vols were also winless in their doubles draw, losing all three matches they played.
Coach Sam Winterbotham was not pleased with the performances, but he still took positives from it.
"I think I'd give it an A for effort," Winterbotham said. "We got a lot of matches in, but didn't play particularly well.
"We're still clueless as freshmen. We have no idea what we're doing, and the intensity that is necessary to compete at this level."
Winterbotham said he is more concerned with showing improvement than getting results at this stage in the season.
"The results were mixed but they got so much more out of the weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday," he said. "They got five singles matches and their effort on their back draw matches were outstanding. The results were good, but I don't put stock into this. I put stock into the attitude."
For most of the team, the next tournament is the ITA All-American Championships held in Tulsa, Okla., which begin Saturday. Schools from around the country send their best players to compete in the event.
The tournament takes place over nine days. It starts with pre-qualifying, followed by qualifying and the main draw.
Tennessee is sending six of its players to compete in this tournament — two in each stage.
Two freshmen — Sean Karl and Markus Kerner — will start in pre-qualifying.
Chaplin and Fickey will be in the qualifying round, while fellow 2013 ITA All-Americans Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese already own a spot in the main draw.
For Libietis, this will be his first collegiate tournament of the season. He has been away playing the Davis Cup for the Latvian national team.
The former No. 1 ITA singles star is excited to finally play alongside his teammates again, but he is not setting the bar too high for himself.
"I don't have a goal," Libietis said. "Of course I would like to win the tournament, but I would just like to play and get better.
"I'm struggling a little bit with my confidence right now but I think I'm going to be good to go by next Friday."
Freshman Sunay Bhat and senior Colton Norton will be competing at the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., this weekend, a regional tournament that will be used to provide the newcomers with experience.
Winterbotham said he will be looking for improvement in all his players during their respective tournaments.
"I expect them to compete better than what they've done the last two tournaments," Winterbotham said. "The younger guys are starting to understand what we expect, so I expect to see that. I expect our older guys to be a little more competitive. I think they're all capable of doing well."