April 6, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 63 Auburn women’s tennis (8-10) lost another close match on Friday to No. 22 Tennessee, 4-3. The Tigers fell behind early when they dropped the doubles point, and were unable to come up with enough key points in singles to rally for the win.
“We just came out too flat today and you can’t do that against a team as good as Tennessee,” said head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner. “Even though they were down a player, you still have to come out fiery and play to their level. Unfortunately, we didn’t and found ourselves fighting an uphill battle. I was happy that we regrouped and fought hard in singles to give ourselves a chance, but we just couldn’t win some key points to get an upset today.”
The point would come down to doubles spot No. 2 and the Lady Vols prevailed there as well when Brynn Boren and Jessie Grace downed Auburn’s 36th-ranked pair of Paulina Schippers and Jen Pfeifler, 8-4.
Auburn surged ahead in singles and took an early 2-1 lead. Tennessee had surrendered the point at No. 6 due to an injury, and soon after had to give up another point.
Kasler, a sophomore, raced ahead to a 5-0 first-set lead at the No. 4 spot before her opponent also retired due to injury. The Gulf Breeze, Fla., native won for the 11th time this season and for the second consecutive match. Kasler is 6-4 in SEC play.
Schippers claimed the Tigers’ third point on the afternoon with a come-from-behind win at No. 5.
The junior dropped the first set to Jesse Grace 6-2, before winning the second 6-4. With the match in hand in favor of Tennessee thanks to a trio of wins at the top of its lineup, the two players would play a third-set tiebreaker. Schippers prevailed in the breaker, 10-8, for her second straight win and sixth this spring.
Auburn returns to the courts on Sunday when it travels to No. 5 Georgia. Georgia is 17-2 this season, including a 6-1 mark in the SEC. Four singles players for the Bulldogs rank in the top 80, led by eighth-ranked Chelsey Gullickson.
Sunday’s Easter match against the Bulldogs will begin at 12 p.m. CT.
For links to Sunday’s match stats and for all the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter.
No. 22 Tennessee 4, No. 63 Auburn 3
1. #18 Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Emily Flickinger/Jackie Kasler (AU) 8-2
2. Brynn Boren/Jesse Grace (TENN) def. No. 36 Paulina Schippers/Jen Pfeifler (AU) 8-4
3. Plamena Kurteva/Olivia Bennett (AU) win by default
1. #29 Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. #118 Jen Pfeifler (AU) 6-1, 6-3
2. #28 Brynn Boren (RENN) def. Emily Flickinger (AU) 7-5, 6-2
3. #49 Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Jackie Kasler (AU) def. Joanna Henderson (TENN) 5-0, def.
5. Paulina Schippers (AU) def. Jesse Grace (TENN) 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8)
6. Olivia Bennett (AU) win by default
Order of finish: Doubles (3, 1, 2*) Singles (6, 4, 1, 3, 2* 5)