Women’s Tennis Central: Tennessee at Arkansas, Missouri

Back on the road, the 29th-ranked Tennessee women’s tennis team faces No. 32 Arkansas on Friday, April 1 at 2 pm ET at Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Ark. After the weekend opener, the Lady Volunteers traveled north to Columbia, Mo. to take on Missouri at 11 am ET on Sunday to wrap up the two game set.

Fans can tune into the SEC CrossCourt Cast by Cracked Racquets, hosted on UTSports.com. This will be available for Friday‚Äôs match against Arkansas and can be seen here. Live stats for Friday’s match against the Razorbacks can be found here. For Sunday, live video of the action at Missouri can be viewed here, while live stats can be seen by clicking here.

LAST TIME OUT
The Lady Vols (9-6, 3-4 SEC) owned their Sunday match against LSU, winning 7-0, after falling in the Friday dual, 4-3, to Texas A&M.

Tennessee put together complete performances on ‘all nine courts,’ as coach Alison Ojeda said it after the match Sunday.

Rebecca Mertena dominated a third set tiebreak to earn her sixth ranked win of the season on Court 1. Fellow countrywoman Elza Tomase also earned a ranked win on Court 3, her fifth of the season. The sweep for Tennessee was capped by Eleonora Molinaro’s three-set victory on Court 6, which marked her 13th victory in her last 14 matches.

HEAD COACH ALISON OJEDA
‘Our emphasis continues to be on ourselves.’ What can I do to better myself today and grow from yesterday? ‘ If we continue to tighten things up individually, then each of us will impact the overall team in a significant and meaningful way. “

“We start off the weekend with a really good team in Arkansas and I’m looking forward to another day of tough competition.”

RANKING THE LADY VOLS
For the last time this season, there were no individual rankings this week. Tennessee holds the same individual rankings as it did when the chart was released on March 23:

Singles
Tenika McGiffin – No. 37
Rebecca Mertena – No. 44
Elza Tomase – No. 88

Doubles
Daria Kuczer / Tenika McGiffin – No. 13
Vs. Esther Adeshina / Elza Tomase – No. 59

SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
Arkansas (12-5, 5-2 SEC) is off and rolling this season under the direction of first-year head coach Christina Sanchez-Quintanar. Sanchez-Quintanar spent the last five seasons as an assistant at UCF before taking the head job with the Hogs. No stranger to the league, Sanchez-Quintanar graduated from Texas A&M in 2014 and spent two years on tour before beginning her coaching career.

Arkansas’ singles lineup is headlined by Lenka Stara. She is 19-5 overall this season 12-2 in duals. The sophomore transfer from Oklahoma State is 10-2 at No. 4 and 2-0 playing at No. 3.

The doubles side holds the only ranked individuals on for the Razorbacks as Morgan Cross and Tatum Rice come in at No. 53. The pair boats a team-best 20-4 record in doubles and already holds 10 wins at No. 1 this season.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Missouri (6-14, 1-6 SEC) is the only team in the SEC not represented in the ITA computerized team ranks. The Tigers picked up their only SEC win on the road earlier this year, downing Kentucky, 4-3, on March 11th in Lexington, Ky. Missouri has spent much of the season on the road, playing only its fifth and sixth home matches this weekend.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Tennessee leads the all-time series against both Arkansas and Missouri.

The Lady Vols hold a 26-8 advantage over the Razorbacks and are 11-3 in Fayetteville. Facing Missouri, Tennessee is 6-2, holding a 3-1 record both in Knoxville and in Columbia.

BATTLE TESTED
Tennessee’s three ranked singles players, # 37 McGiffin, # 44 Mertena and # 88 Tomase, each own at least five ranked victories this season. Mertena leads the group with 6 ranked wins, while McGiffin and Tomase each hold five.

WINDICATORS
The No. 3 position in Tennessee’s singles lineup and the No. 1 doubles spot appear to hold incredible weight on the outcome of the match. When the Lady Vols win or go unfinished on Court 3 in singles, the team is 9-0. When UT loses, it is 0-6. Similarly, when UT wins C1 dubs, it is 7-0. After losing it? The Big Orange is 0-5.

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