The Lady Volunteers (12-2, 5-0 SEC) are off to their best start in conference action since 2011, when they won the first eight matches.
Friday afternoon’s matches were a clinic from Tennessee in singles. The Lady Vols won in straight-sets on all six singles courts and took care of the Tigers in just two hours and 14 minutes, using just under an hour and a half of that time to clean up on all six courts.
“Everyone on our squad is doing the work that it takes to succeed at this level,” head coach Alison Ojeda said. “Because of that, you are seeing accelerated growth throughout the week. We are always proud of our team and tonight, I am especially happy for our team.”
Auburn (13-3, 3-1 SEC) battled Tennessee for much of the first sets on each court, but the Lady Vols were consistent in their pressure and shot selection to make the Tigers work a little extra for each point. The success of one player would translate down the courts and boost up the team’s level of play. That momentum was especially key for the Lady Vols after dropping the doubles point.
Rebeka Mertena provided the spark early for Tennessee, jumping out to a 4-0 lead over #41 Carolyn Ansari. Meanwhile, Esther Adeshina, Catherine Aulia and Lauren Anzalotta worked on nice leads of their own, eventually culminating in set victories of 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3, respectively.
Adeshina, Aulia and Anzalotta were the first to finish their matches, cruising through the second set to wins on Courts 5, 4 and 6.
Elza Tomase secured the clinch. Earning yet another ranked win, she outdueled #46 Ariana Arseneault, 6-4, 6-4 on Court 1. Not even a minute after Tomase secured victory for UT, Mertena finished off a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ansari on Court 2. Daria Kuczer sent the Big Orange fans home happy, knocking off Kaitlyn Carnicella 7-5, 6-2, on Court 3.
“As always, we will let the team enjoy this one, this was a big win,” Ojeda finished saying. “Jarryd Chaplin and I will get back to work as we look ahead to a very good Alabama team coming to town on Sunday.”
The Lady Volunteers host the Crimson Tide at Noon ET on Sunday, March 19. The location of the match is still to be determined, based on weather.
Full results from Friday’s victory over No. 8 Auburn can be found below:
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