The No. 18 Tennessee women’s tennis team plays No. 7 Vanderbilt at the Goodfriend Tennis Center on Friday at 4:00 p.m.
“Vanderbilt has been up there for years, they’re one of the best,” head coach Alison Ojeda said. “They won an NCAA Championship a few years ago and have been stellar ever since. There is no secret too it, if we want to have a chance to beat them then we have to be great on every single court and we have to make it difficult for them.
“No question that we have to come out and play our best tennis, which we are ready to do.”
The Lady Vols are currently on a six-match SEC win streak, which stands as the longest since 2011 and is just the second time in which Tennessee has won six conference matches in a row, which dates back to 2003.
Most recently, Tennessee beat No. 44 Arkansas on the road, 4-1. Tennessee now stands at 18-5 overall and 8-3 in conference.
Rebeka Mertena has played well as of late, winning 13 of her past 14 singles matches. Mertena has also played strong in doubles alongside Johanna Silva. The duo has won six of their past seven matches and own a 10-3 record overall.
“The key to my success has been me feeling very confident about what I am doing,” Mertena said. “My goal going into every match is to just help my team win. I just need to keep focusing on each point and I do not need to think about what happened in the past.”
Vanderbilt comes to Knoxville having just beat No. 49 Ole Miss, 4-3. The Commodores currently own a record of 14-5, with a conference record of 9-2. Vanderbilt is also on a four-match win streak.
They currently have five players inside the top 125, according to the ITA rankings. The group of No. 7 Fernanda Contreras, No. 17 Christina Rosca, No. 68 Georgia Drummy, No. 70 Amanda Meyer and No. 105 Emily Smith lead the team.
Vanderbilt also possesses four doubles teams inside the top 90, according to the ITA rankings. The duos include No. 38 Smith/Contreras, No. 42 Contreras/Summer Dvorak, No. 77 Smith/Emma Kurtz and No. 83 Drummy/Rosca.
“There is no pressure on us. Actually, we feel the exact opposite of that and I think when you have a team that is used to winning they feel more pressure,” Ojeda said. “This is fairly new to our team and that is so exciting. The team is playing without pressure and instead is playing with intense internal motivation.”
Tennessee will close out the season this weekend at home, as it will play No. 24 Kentucky this Sunday at 1:00 pm.