FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In not so ideal outdoor conditions, the 12th-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team suffered their first loss at home this season to the No. 21 Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 6-1, at the Billingsley Tennis Center. This loss breaks a two-match winning streak the team had going into the weekend’s matches and is the second straight loss to Tennessee the team has suffered in the last two years.
Arkansas (13-5, 3-2 SEC), who nearly won the doubles point after dropping two of three matches, had first set wins in three of six singles matches, but were then forced to deciding third sets in two of those matches. Tennessee (12-4, 4-0 SEC) went on to win both of those three-setters and then took five of six singles matches.
“This was actually a really good match from start to finish,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “It was very close in the beginning and middle until the very end. We had our chances to get four points today, but give full credit to Tennessee to getting ahead of us when it counted.”
The Lady Vols struck in doubles first at court three when Jennifer Meredith and Kata Szekely got a strong victory over freshman Jade Frampton and junior Emily Carbone, 8-5. However, the 26th-ranked tandem of sophomore Claudine Paulson and senior Anouk Tigu got their 20th victory of season together. This win came against the No. 59 team of Natalie Pluskota and Millie Nichols, 8-5, and is their third straight.
Doubles then came down to the final match at court two which was actually taken to a tiebreaker. Juniors Stephanie Roy and Kate Lukomskaya were neck and neck with Rosalia Alda and Maria Sorbello, but couldn’t pull it out in the tiebreaker, 9-8(5). The loss dropped the Hog team to 8-6 on the season.
With a 1-0 lead, Tennessee went right to work in singles winning on courts two and five for two more quick points to have a huge 3-0 team lead. Needing only one more point, the Lady Vols were clearly in the driver’s seat, but Frampton had different ideas as she gave the Razorbacks their first team point with a straight set win over Nichols, 6-4, 6-4. The win by Frampton continues her strong season as she has now won 11 of her last 12 matches.
In the cornerstone match between Tigu and Pluskota at court one, a tight first set won in tiebreak form by Pluskota would end up being the momentum shifter as Tennessee went on to win at courts three and four after Pluskota won in straight sets. Winning the final three matches was what gave Tennessee the final winning score of 6-1.
The Razorbacks hit the road, once again, for their next match which will take place against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga on Sunday at noon. Live stats for that match will be available on the main website as well as a full match recap as soon as the match goes final. No. 21 Tennessee 6No. 12 Arkansas 1Complete Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 3, 1, 2*No. 1 #26 Claudine Paulson/Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. #59 Natalie Pluskota/Millie Nichols (TENN) 8-5No. 2 Rosalia Alda/Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Stephanie Roy/Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 9-8(5)No. 3 Jennifer Meredith/Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Jade Frampton/Emily Carbone (ARK) 8-5Complete Singles ResultsOrder of Finish: 2, 5, 6, 1*, 4, 3No. 1 #42 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #22 Anouk Tigu (ARK) 7-6(6), 6-4No. 2 Rosalia Alda (TENN) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-2, 6-3No. 3 #36 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3No. 4 Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Claudine Paulson (ARK) 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4No. 5 Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Emily Carbone (ARK) 6-3, 6-1No. 6 Jade Frampton (ARK) def. Millie Nichols (TENN) 6-4, 6-4