KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2010) - A day removed from opening its 2010 season with a strong win at Eastern Kentucky the ETSU women's tennis team fell just short of making school history less than 24-hours later as head coach Steve Brooks' squad fell 4-3 Sunday at No. 11 Tennessee inside the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in Knoxville.
With the win the Lady Vols improved to 2-0, while ETSU fell to 1-1 on the young season.
"Today I thought we had some great performances out of the girls," said Brooks. "Tennessee is a great program and overall I hate that we came just a little short this afternoon. That being said, in the long run of things I believe this is going to be a confidence booster for us as the season moves forward."
After Tennessee swept all three doubles matches for the early 1-0 lead, the Lady Vols pushed their advantage to 2-0 after ETSU senior Yevgeniya Stupak (Kyiv, Ukraine), fell in straight sets to sixth-ranked Caitln Whoriskey in No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1.
UT then extended its lead to 3-0 as junior Kelly Holtzhausen (Johannesburg, South Africa), dropped her match at No. 3 to Rosalia Alda, 6-2, 6-3.
With their backs against the wall and Tennessee rolling it looked like the Lady Vols would run away with the match needing only one more point for the win. That's when ETSU came alive.
Sophomore Diana Navrostska (Lviv, Urkaine), picked up a default win over Natalie Pluskota, before Tennessee survived a long three-set match at No. 4 as sophomore Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela), fell 6-3, 6-4 to Zsofia Zubor.
"Karina was a bit unlucky today," said Brooks. "Just when she was getting into a rhythm some rain leaked from the roof and it forced the match to move over a court. It's an unfortunate event that could have made things really interesting with Paula and Andra wrapping up their matches."
Near the same time that Tennessee was edging out its victory sophomore Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain), closed out her first career ranked win.
After Jaime cruised in the first set 6-0, 51st-ranked Tennessee sophomore Maria Sorbello forced a tiebreaker in the second at 6-6. In the extra frame the second-year Lady Buc stayed strong matching the momentum of Sorbello at 8-8, before breaking the nationally ranked Lady Vol at 9-8. Jaime then served out the match at 10-8 for the victory.
"I'm very happy and proud for Paula," Brooks said. "This is the third time in our program's history that a player earned a ranked win. Paula is the type of lady that brings a lot of emotion and heart to the court and it's great to see her continue to get better this early in the season."
Rounding out the scores was junior Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romania), who rolled past Tennessee's Katie Lee 6-3, 6-4 (10-5). Voinea, who was injured for the majority of the 2009 season, now sits at 2-0 after her two victories this weekend.
"Andra was an all-conference performer two years ago and now it seems like she's really returned to her old form," said Brooks. "As a coach you always like to see players seal a victory while staying aggressive. Today was a great example of that when Andra ripped a forehand winner down the line that clinched the last match."
After two straight contests on consecutive days ETSU will take almost two weeks off before returning to action February 6 at regional rival Virginia Tech.
Attached above is a link to today's final statistics.
For more information on the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season and Tournament champion women's tennis team, please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.