KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – For the first time since 2010, the 14th-ranked Tennessee women’s tennis team advanced to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Championship after defeating Wake Forest, 4-1, in the finals of the Women’s NCAA Knoxville Regional.
Tennessee (21-5) has advanced to the Round of 16 for the 10th time in program history and will take on Texas A&M at 3 p.m. ET in College Station, Texas, on Friday, May 12.
“These guys have worked so hard. Not just this team, but so many teams that came before them,” SEC Coach of the Year Alison Ojeda said after the match. “We’ve been able to recruit off of the success of other teams. I want to make sure every single Lady Vol knows they’ve been a huge part of us getting to this place. A couple of years ago, we almost did. We almost hosted but didn’t quite get it. Then, we earned the host and took advantage of it. Now, all of the sudden, we have an opportunity to go to the Sweet 16 and keep going.””
The Lady Vols started off with a strong start in doubles, feeding off their decisive victories yesterday. Lauren Anzalotta and Catherine Aulia were the suppliers of momentum, dominating Mia Ahmad and Casie Wooten, 6-2, on Court 2 to put UT in the driver’s seat.
Court 1 finished off the victory with the 45th-ranked pair of Rebeka Mertena and Esther Adeshina toppling No. 24 Brooke Killingsworth and Anna Brylin, 6-4, to clinch the point and put the Big Orange on the board first.
As the afternoon wore on and the heat intensified, it was clear that Tennessee had built up their endurance for play in May. The Lady Vols flashed bursts of speed and agility that allowed them to get to balls and finish points.
“I give a lot of credit and want to shout out performance coach Ryan Metzger and our athletic trainers Yosef Presburger and Izzy Minkin,” Ojeda continued. “Our team was able to give their all for Tennessee today, because of all they have done throughout the year.”
Mertena, playing in her final match on Rocky Top in an illustrious career, was the first to secure a match victory. She dominated #73 Anna Brylin 6-1, 6-1, on Court 2, posting her 104th career singles victory as a Lady Vol. That figure ranks tied for sixth in program history with Peta Kelly who had 104 wins from 1978-1982.
Anzalotta was the next to finish on Court 6, taking care of Jingyi Li 6-1, 6-4. Since February 17, Anzalotta has been 12-3 in singles for Tennessee, playing a huge role in the bottom of the Tennessee lineup.
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