`Dores win a thriller over No. 15 Tennessee
March 21, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 33rd-ranked Vanderbilt men's tennis team picked up a thrilling 4-1 win over No. 15 Tennessee Friday night at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville. After dropping a tightly contested doubles point, the `Dores won four-straight singles matches, capped off by Rhys Johnson at the No. 4 position, to notch its first win against the Vols since 2006.
Vanderbilt (12-5, 3-3 SEC) snapped its three-match losing streak and registered its third win of the season over a top-25 team. Friday's win marked the third time this season the Commodores picked up the victory without winning the doubles point.
VU mixed up its doubles lineup for the third-consecutive match, and seemed to have found a group that clicks. Top-ranked Gonzales Austin and Ryan Lipman remained at the No. 1 position and took on the nations second-ranked team in Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese.
Each team remained on serve until the UT duo earned a break in the 12th game. Libietis and Reese held on their next serve and handed Lipman and Austin just their fourth loss of the season.
The Commodores were able to even things up as Anton Kovrigin and Rhys Johnson won at No. 2, 8-7 (6); but the Vols were able to break at three to notch the 8-6 win over Ryan Smith and Pen Binet to win the doubles point.
Despite dropping the crucial doubles point the `Dores came out of the gate with a lot of energy in singles. Vandy won four first sets, which in turn ended up being a critical part to its come from behind win.
After getting down a break early in the first set Kovrigin became locked in at the No. 5 position. The Vandy junior won 11 of his next 12 games to win the match 6-4, 6-0 and bring the score even at 1-all.
With the momentum in their favor after Kovrigin's quick finish, the Commodores would pick up another straight-set win at the No. 2 position. The battle at No. 2 singles featured two 2013 All-Americans in Lipman and Libietis, ranked in the ITA preseason rankings at four and one, respectively.
Currently the No. 102 player in the country, Lipman upped his win streak to nine with the 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 34 Libietis. The Nashville native took control in the opening set, winning the final five games to be the first to finish the first set. Libietis put up more of a challenge in the second set, as the two traded breaks, but it was Lipman who prevailed and up the `Dores up 2-1.
Jeffrey Offerdahl put the `Dores up 3-1 with his three-set win at No. 6. The junior from Austin, Texas picked up a quick 6-2 win in the second set forcing a split after dropping the first set 6-1. In the final frame, Offerdahl came out on top 6-3 to set up the clinch.
Johnson would seal the win for the Commodores with his 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Jarryd Chaplin at the No. 4 position. The sophomore's win also snapped a three-match losing streak.
No. 16 Austin and Kris Yee went unfinished.
The Commodores will hit the road for the first time since March 2, as they take on No. 10 Georgia on Sunday, March 23 in Athens. The Bulldogs are coming off 4-1 win over Kentucky, and are the last remaining unbeaten team in SEC play. The match is set for 12 p.m. (CT).
#33 Vanderbilt 4, #15 Tennessee 1
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