Coming off of an Oklahoma trip that saw the team split its two matches, the Tennessee Volunteer men's tennis team came into the weekend tasked with downing a pair of top 20 opponents.
And they did just that.
The weekend began with a visit from the No. 13 Duke Blue Devils on Friday.
No. 14 Tennessee was able to capitalize on some late points en route to a 4-2 victory over the Blue Devils.
Senior Jarryd Chaplin provided the clinching team point for the Vols on court 4.
With junior Hunter Reese serving deep in the third set on court 2, Chaplin made good on his first match point attempt against No. 95 Bruno Semenzato to clinch a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win and secure the Vols' victory.
"That was one of the most exciting and fun times I've had at UT in terms of the crowd," Chaplin said in a university release. "I want to thank everyone who came out tonight, because they really made that happen. They made it very easy for us to play for that win."
The Vols dug out a close doubles point that came down to the wire. Reese and Mikelis Libietis, the nation's top pair, won 6-3 on court 1. Chaplin and Brandon Fickey ended a two-match losing streak to earn a 6-4 win to clinch the doubles point from Court 2.
Freshman Markus Kerner also improved to 8-0 on this spring, taking a 6-3, 6-4 victory against No. 77 Josh Levine. The win gave him his first career ranked win.
UT followed up its Friday success on Sunday afternoon when the squad defeated the No. 19 Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 4-1.
Tennessee came out of the gate with the same high energy level it showed on Friday and Libietis won his first match since Jan. 25 when he defeated the Demon Deacon's Romain Bogaerts – ranked No. 20 nationally, 6-4, 6-5 (8-6).
The Vols first earned the doubles point, thanks in part to the No. 1 pair of Reese and Libietis, who defeated No. 30 duo of Adam Lee and Pedro Dumont, 6-3. The win was the 20th for the pair on the season and their 57th overall, moving them to fourth place in the Tennessee record books.
"I'd put that one down as our best performance of the season," head coach Sam Winterbotham said in the release. "It was a real challenge to come up and get yourself emotionally ready to play a good team after a high on Friday."
Next up for the Vols is the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas, which spans from Feb. 14-17.
"We've put the work in," Winterbotham said. "These guys have been working really hard. As a coaching staff going into a big tournament, it's not like we have to clamber to get them ready. They need to now rest emotionally (and) physically.
"They know that they've put the effort in to be able to handle whatever's coming."