KNOXVILLE, TENN. — The 22nd-ranked women’s tennis team extended their losing streak to three matches on Sunday after falling at the hands of the 15th-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 4-3, at the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville. The Hogs again fell victim to dropping the doubles point, but were able to take a 3-2 team lead with only two singles matches remaining. Unfortunately, Arkansas lost those last two matches, giving Tennessee the win and forcing the Razorbacks to 2-4 in the SEC. With the win, Tennessee moves to 11-5 overall and 5-1 in the conference.
“Hats off to Tennessee,” said head coach Michael Hegarty. “This was a very close and exciting match and they deserved to pull it out at the end.”
Arkansas (12-6, 2-4) was looking to get their third conference win of the season on Sunday after enduring a tough loss to Georgia just two days before in Fayetteville. In doubles action, the Hogs, again, were able to strike early, after the team of freshmen Claudine Paulson and Valentina Starkova defeated Jennifer Meredith and Kata Szekely, 8-3, at the number three spot. The Lady Vols then answered right back at court one when the No. 57 ranked team of Caitlin Whoriskey and Maria Sorbello took down the duo of senior Anouk Tigu and sophomore Stephanie Roy, 8-5, at court one. Tennessee then took that momentum throughout the final doubles match, winning 8-4 at court two and giving the Lady Volunteers the important doubles point as the two teams headed into singles play.
Even though the Razorbacks were in an early hole as singles began, they were the ones to score the first singles win at the number four spot after Roy dropped Zsofia Zubor in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, to tie the team score at one a piece. With the win, Roy now has 14 singles victory during the spring season. After that, Tennessee’s number one player in Whoriskey took back the team lead as she defeated Tigu at the number one spot in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. The Hogs then got a gutsy three-set performance from sophomore Kate Lukomskaya, who ended up defeating the No. 58 player, Maria Sorbello, 1-6, 6-4, 7-5, to tie the team score back up at two. Then, sophomore Emily Carbone gave Arkansas the lead at the number three spot in what was also a tough three-set performance, taking down Rosalia Alda, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Arkansas was now just one singles win away from winning their third SEC match of the season with two matches remaining. Unfortunately, Tennessee was able to rally at the number five and six positions, getting wins from Jennifer Meredith in three sets over freshman Kelsey Sundaram and a straight set win from Katie Lee over Paulson.
The Hogs will now return to Fayetteville for their final two home matches of the spring against No. 50 Auburn on Friday, April 2nd and No. 71 Alabama on Sunday, April 4th. Both matches are set to begin at noon and will be played at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center. For complete coverage of the Razorback women’s tennis team and live match results as they occur, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.Complete ResultsNo. 15 Tennessee 4No. 22 Arkansas 3DoublesOrder of Finish: 3, 1, 2*No. 1 #57 Caitlin Whoriskey/Maria Sorbello (UT) def. Anouk Tigu/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 8-5No. 2 #18 Rosalia Alda/Zsofia Zubor (UT) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) 8-4No. 3 Claudine Paulson/Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Jennifer Meredith/Kata Szekely (UT) 8-3SinglesOrder of Finish: 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 6*No. 1 #12 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. #55 Anouk Tigu (ARK) 6-4, 6-2No. 2 Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) def. #58 Maria Sorbello (UT) 1-6, 6-4, 7-5No. 3 Emily Carbone (ARK) def. Rosalia Alda (UT) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3No. 4 Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Zsofia Zubor (UT) 6-3, 6-1No. 5 Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3No. 6 Katie Lee (UT) def. Claudine Paulson (ARK) 6-2, 6-4