FAYETTEVILLE – Standing tall and fighting hard the 53rd-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback tennis team upset the 46th-ranked Southern Methodist Mustangs in convincing fashion 7-0 at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center in Fayetteville on Tuesday afternoon.
Playing their fifth, and toughest, match in four days, the Lady Razorbacks battled tired and sore arms and legs throughout the four-hour affair to take down SMU despite four three-set matches.
“This match wasn’t much different from some of the 4-3 matches we’ve had this year,” Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. “There were a bunch of singles matches that were still in doubt after an hour and a half and this shows that we are improving.”
The Arkansas victory puts the Lady Razorbacks record at 10-0 for their best start in school history. It also extends Arkansas longest winning streak in its 33-year history.
“At the beginning of the season I thought that we could be 10-0, but I also felt that we could be 5-5,” Hegarty said. “Realistically I thought that 8-2 was feasible. This win was perhaps our best of the season based on the way that we played.”
Arkansas got the afternoon started off right when they swept the Mustangs during doubles action. Winning two doubles sets quickly, Arkansas’ tandem of Melissa Cornett and Vlatka Jovanovic and Audrey Bordelea and Yawna Allen looked very strong winning their respective matches, 8-6 and 8-3, respectively. Having already clinched the doubles point, the pair of Karina Ledaja and Maryori Franco could have allowed a strong SMU comeback to overtake them, but their desire to win overcame the surge as they took the 8-8 tiebreaker 7-2 to complete the Lady Razorback sweep.
In singles action, Arkansas’ Jovanovic made quick work of SMU’s Jenny Langerat the number one position taking the match 6-1, 6-2 to put the Lady Razorbacks up 2-0. Playing solid throughout the match Jovanovic forced numerous Mustang errors to control the contest.
The Lady Razorbacks took a commanding 3-0 lead in the contest when Franco battled back from being down in the second set to take her match in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (5). Making Franco’s effort even more impressive was the fact that she was forced to take a medical timeout in the middle of the second set to recoup from illness, following the break she came back to take six of the next eight matches including the tiebreaker for victory.
“Maryori’s victory shows me her resourcefulness,” Hegarty said. “She could have easily let it get her down, but she doesn’t know how good she can be.
Arkansas clinched the victory with their fourth point on a comeback win from Ledaja at number three singles. Losing the first set 6-3, Ledaja came back in the second with a single break late to win 6-4, then used her power in game three to take the third set 6-2.
With the victory in hand, SMU retired in the fifth singles match to injury in the third set with Allen up 4-2. Court six saw Arkansas’ Cornett dispatch Halley Rambally 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-0, while Iliana Pacheco mopped up at the number four singles position, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday, March 4, when they open the Southeastern Conference schedule with a match against South Carolina. For more information about Lady Razorback tennis or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit www.ladybacks.com.
Tennis Match ResultsSouthern Methodist University vs University of ArkansasFeb 15, 2005 at Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas 7, Southern Methodist University 0
Singles competition:1. Vlatka Jovanovic (UA) def.Jenny Langer(SMU) 6-1, 6-22. Maryori Franco (UA) def.Svetlana Kouzmenko(SMU) 6-3, 7-6(5)3. Karina Ledaja (UA) def.Jennifer Chay(SMU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2*4. Iliana Pacheco (UA) def.Allison Lueszler(SMU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-25. Yawna Allen (UA) def. Lynsie Jones (SMU) 6-7(5), 6-3, 4-26. Melissa Cornett (UA) def. Halley Rambally (SMU) 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-0
Doubles competition:1. Karina Ledaja/Maryori Franco (UA) def. Svetlana Kouzmenko/Lynsie Jones (SMU) 9-8(2)2. Melissa Cornett/Vlatka Jovanovic (UA) def. Jennifer Chay/Jenny Langer (SMU) 8-63. Audrey Bordeleau/Yawna Allen (UA) def. Allison Lueszler/Maria Braniecka (SMU) 8-3
Notes:T-4 hrs A-30
* Clinched Match