Lady Vols punch semis ticket with sweep of Kentucky
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Dominating from start to finish, the 15th-ranked and third-seeded Tennessee women's tennis team shutout Kentucky, 4-0, in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon Billingsley Tennis Center
Tennessee (19-4) kicked the day off by claiming the doubles point. It got very strong performances from both pairings on the end courts as the two finished with the same final tally, 6-3, and concluded at nearly the same time. The first pairing to win was Lauren Anzalotta and Catherine Aulia on Court 2, they dropped Lidia Gonzalez/Maialen Morante while Eleonora Molinaro and Daria Kuczer took down Ellie Eades/Makayla Mills on Court 3 for the clinch.
"Kentucky did a great job competing the last couple of days, so we made sure to prepare our team for the best version of Kentucky possible," head coach Alison Ojeda said after the match. "That meant we needed to be ready from the first point in doubles and make sure our intensity lasted until the final point was played. That is exactly what our team did."
"Our team is good," Ojeda continued. "I thin we are all in for a treat tomorrow with the level of tennis we will see."
That momentum carried through from doubles into singles as the Lady Vols took the first set on each of the six courts.
Molinaro was especially impressive on Court 4. She cleaned up her victories in just 14 games. After a 6-2 first set decision, she stepped on the gas and closed out a 6-0 second set, quickly putting the Lady Vols on the board in singles.
That victory immediately gave a jolt of energy to the rest of the lineup as Tennessee started stacking points on top of each other and pulling away from the Wildcats.
Kuczer and Anzalotta were the ones to finish it off, in that order. On Court 3, Kuczer earned her team-leading 15th victory of dual season, topping Eades, 6-3, 6-2. Shortly after, Anzalotta finished it off with a clinch, dropping Lidia Gonzalez 6-3, 6-3, and punching Tennessee's ticket to the semifinals.
Full results from Friday's match can be found below.
UP NEXT: The Lady Vols turn their attention to second-seeded Georgia, which they will face at 4 p.m. ET at Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+ which is available to anyone who has SEC Network through their cable or streaming provider.
#15 Tennessee 4, #57 Kentucky 0
1. #26 Elza Tomase (TENN) vs. #42 Florence Urrutia (UK) 7-6 (7-2), 2-3, unfinished
2. #27 Rebeka Mertena (TENN) vs. #118 Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished
3. #46 Daria Kuczer (TENN) def. Ellie Eades (UK) 6-3, 6-2
4. Eleonora Molinaro (TENN) def. Carlota Molina (UK) 6-2, 6-0
5. Lauren Anzalotta (TENN) def. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 6-3, 6-3
6. Esther Adeshina (TENN) vs. Zoe Hammond (UK) 6-4, 5-4, unfinished
Order of finish: 4,3,5
1. #22 Carlota Molina/Elizabeth Stevens (UK) def. #40 Esther Adeshina/Rebeka Mertena (TENN) 6-4
2. Catherine Aulia/Lauren Anzalotta (TENN) def. Lidia Gonzalez/Maialen Morante (UK) 6-3
3. Daria Kuczer/Eleonora Molinaro (TENN) def. Ellie Eades/Makayla Mills (UK) 6-3
Order of finish: 1,2,3