No. 22 Tennessee (7-1) won two matches on a Valentine’s Day doubleheader. The Lady Vols’ tennis team took down UT Martin 4-0 and Marquette 5-2. Here are three takeaways from the matches.
Tennessee got its first point early against UT Martin by winning all three doubles matches. Senior Johanna Silva and freshman Hadley Doyle won their match first, by a score of 6-1. Junior Kaitlin Staines and junior Julie Ball clinched the doubles point for the Lady Vols by winning 6-2. In the third doubles match, senior Ariadna Riley and freshman Carly Briggs won 6-3, completing the doubles sweep.
Tennessee also got a lead against Marquette by winning the doubles point, two matches to one. Staines and freshman Callie Creath won first, by a score of 6-2. Briggs and Riley lost their match against Natalija Popovic and Fleur Eggink, 6-4. The Lady Vols clinched the doubles point in the deciding match, where Doyle and Silva won 6-4.
The fast pace with which Tennessee won the doubles put the Lady Vols in a great position heading into singles play.
Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week
On Wednesday, Carly Briggs was honored as the SEC Freshman of the Week. Today, she played like she wanted to win next week’s award.
Briggs was terrific in singles play today, winning first in both of her matches. She defeated UT Martin’s Amelia Campbell 6-1, 6-0. Against Marquette’s Milica Novakovic, Briggs won 6-1, 6-2.
“She wants to win so badly for her team,” head coach Allison Ojeda said about Briggs. “And more importantly she’s willing to do whatever it takes per point. Carly will win doing whatever it takes. That separates her from everybody else.”
“It feels really good,” Briggs said of today’s wins. “I’m just out here playing for my team."
More Playing Time
Ahead of the doubleheader, Ojeda wanted to use more of her roster than normal. She was successful with that plan, as eight different Lady Vols played between the two matches.
“We got to play our whole lineup, which is nice,” Ojeda said of the double header. “You get people like Kylie Duckworth and Julie Ball, those guys are working their tails off, and when you don’t get to compete its tough. It’s nice for them to be able to go out and compete today, and they did a good job.”
Duckworth lost 6-0 and was down 4-2 in an unfinished match in singles against Sina Albersmeier of UT Martin. Ball won the match she played 6-2, clinching the doubles point with Staines against UT Martin.
“(Ari) Riley got to compete in her first singles match since early October,” Ojeda said of Riley’s performance. “That kid brings so much energy to the table every time she competes, so it’s nice to have her back on the court as well.”
Riley played in doubles against both UT Martin and Marquette, a 6-3 win and 6-4 loss respectively. In singles against Marquette, she defeated Isabella franks 6-4, 6-0.
Tennessee’s next match is Friday, Feb. 21 in Knoxville. The Lady Vols play Cincinnati at 9:30 a.m. ET and UT Chattanooga at 12:30 p.m. ET.