The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Dominating singles lead Lady Vols past Bama

589 days ago
Alabama Athletics
Photo: Southeastern Conference

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (April 21, 2022) - In a come-from-behind victory led by tremendous singles play, the Tennessee women's tennis team defeated Alabama, 4-1, Thursday night in the second round of the SEC Championships.

Three quick singles victories proved massive for the Lady Vols (14-8), who dropped the doubles point with losses on Courts 1 and 3. Daria Kuczer was the first to secure a win for the Big Orange, winning 6-1, 6-3 over Anne Marie Hiser, the same Alabama player she defeated last Sunday.

Eleonora Molinaro, playing a strong, aggressive match on both the forehand and backhand side, swiftly collected the second point with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Court 6. Elza Tomase finished out the furious Tennessee blitz, grabbing a third straight-set victory on Court 3, 6-2, 6-2.

"The doubles today was not good enough if we want to win tomorrow," associate head coach Jarryd Chaplin said. "But credit to our girls, today was an outstanding singles performance I thought. It will require a similar effort for us tomorrow."

Rebeka Mertena and Esther Adeshina were both in the final game of their matches when the Lady Vols delivered the clinch. Mertena, in a battle on the top court, posted a straight-sets victory over 83rd-ranked Loudmilla Bencheikh, 6-4, 6-4, to finish the day.

Adeshina was mere seconds away from getting a victory on Court 4. She was up 30-15 and leading 5-0 in the third set, when Mertena delivered the winner.


Tennessee will be back in action tomorrow night as it faces the second-seeded Auburn Tigers at 6 p.m. at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The match marks the first contest of the tournament for AU.


With Elza Tomase's victory on Court 3, the Lady Vols improved to 13-0 when winning or going unfinished at No. 3. UT is 0-8 when it loses on 3.


Head coach Alison Ojeda kept her unbeaten streak alive vs. Alabama since taking over the program in 2017, winning her eighth match vs. Bama.

#26 Tennessee 4, #40 Alabama 1


1. #34 Mertena, Rebeka (TENN) def. #83 Loudmilla Bencheikh (UA) 6-4, 6-4

2. #60 McGiffin, Tenika (TENN) vs. #75 Petra Sedlackova (UA) 3-6, 6-4, 0-1, unfinished

3. #121 Tomase, Elza (TENN) def. Ola Pitak (UA) 6-2, 6-2

4. Adeshina, Esther (TENN) vs. Anna Parkhomenko (UA) 6-2, 4-6, 5-0, unfinished

5. Kuczer, Daria (TENN) def. Anne Marie Hiser (UA) 6-1, 6-3

6. Molinaro, Eleonora (TENN) def. Kasia Pitak (UA) 6-3, 6-2


1. #77 Anna Parkhomenko/Petra Sedlackova (UA) def. #71 Mertena, Rebeka/Adeshina, Esther (TENN) 6-2

2. McGiffin, Tenika/Tomase, Elza (TENN) def. Anne Marie Hiser/Loudmilla Bencheikh (UA) 6-1

3. Kasia Pitak/Ola Pitak (UA) def. Molinaro, Eleonora/Kuczer, Daria (TENN) 6-4