Oxford, Miss. – After just over seven and a half hours of collegiate tennis Sunday afternoon and evening, the University of Arkansas women’s tennis team extended their Southeastern Conference winning streak to three matches with a 4-3 win over the University of Mississippi.
With the win, the Lady Razorbacks (7-8, 3-5) move one game ahead of the Rebels (9-7, 2-6) and take sole possession of second place in the Western Division.
For just eighth time all season, the Lady’Backs failed to convert the doubles point in their favor. However, the narrow loss in doubles sparked the singles competition and got Arkansas going.
With only three courts to work with, Aurelija Miseviciute, Ela Kaluder and Vlatka Jovanovic went on court first. Miseviciute won her fifth SEC match this spring and third in a row in straight sets over Ole Miss’ s Ilona Somers 7-6(5), 6-2. The win also gives the Klaipeda, Lithuania, native her 25th career wins at Arkansas.
Freshman Kaluder also notched a win on Sunday afternoon that gave Arkansas the lead in the dual match with a comeback win over Kseniia Tokarieva, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Kaluder is now 6-3 in matches going more than two sets this year.
On court three, Jovanovic gave the top of the Lady’Backs lineup the sweep as she came back from being a set down to win decisively in the third set over Virginia Tomatis, 6-7, 6-4, 6-0. The win marks just the fourth time all season that the top three Arkansas singles matches have ended in Lady’Back victories.
Ole Miss tied the match score with wins on courts four and five, leaving the match up to senior Karina Ledaja on court six against Mimi Renaudin. Ledaja took the first set, 6-3, and was up in the second 4-1 before Renaudin went on a six-game winning streak to tie the match. In the third set with the score tied at four apiece, Ledaja finally surged ahead to take her first complete SEC match victory of the spring.
“There isn’t any quit in this team,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “After losing the doubles and putting ourselves in a deep hole, the top of our lineup played their best tennis of the season to allow Karina to be the hero.”
The league winning streak is the third-longest in the program’s history. The longest in-conference winning streak stands at seven from the 1997-98 season. That Lady’Back tennis team finished 10-5 in league play and finished fifth overall.
This year’s Arkansas squad has another chance to chase the nine-year-old record on April 7 and 9 at home against Auburn and Alabama, respectively. For more information on Arkansas tennis or any other Lady’Back sport, please visit LADYBACKS.COM.
Tennis Match Results
Sunday, April 2, 2006
Gillom Sports Center
1. Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. Ilona Somers (OM) 7-6(5), 6-2
2. Ela Kaluder (UA) def. Kseniia Tokarieva (OM) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. Vlatka Jovanovic (UA) def. Virginia Tomatis (OM) 6-7, 6-4, 6-0
4. Nika Koukhartchouk (OM) def. Maryori Franco (UA) 7-5, 6-2
5. Preethi Subramanian (OM) def. Melissa Cornett (UA) 6-4, 6-1
6. Karina Ledaja (UA) def. Mimi Renaudin (OM) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4*
1. Tomatis-Somers (OM) def. Karina Ledaja/Maryori Franco (UA) 9-7
2. Koukhartchouk-Tokarieva (OM) def. Ela Kaluder/Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) 9-7
3. Subramanian-Cochran (OM) def. Melissa Cornett/Vlatka Jovanovic (UA) 8-3*
*- Clinched Match/Point