March 4, 2010
AUBURN- The No. 36 Auburn women's tennis team (6-2, 0-0 SEC) is set to begin SEC play this weekend, as the Tigers will travel to No. 11 Tennessee on Friday, March 5 at 3 p.m., followed up by a match at No. 17 Georgia on Sunday, March 7 at noon.
"We have two tough matches coming up this weekend in Tennessee and Georgia. These two teams are at the top of the league every year. We have to come out ready to play this weekend," said head coach Tim Gray. "Both teams are well coached and have hard working kids, so the matches will certainly be a challenge."
No. 36 Auburn is lead by the No. 76 singles player in the nation, senior Fani Chifchieva, who is 6-1 on the season. As a team in singles play, Auburn is 31-11. Freshman Paulina Schippers and classmate Plamena Kurteva carry Auburn's top doubles record, as the pair is 7-1. Auburn is a combined 17-7 in doubles action so far this season, and carry a four-match win streak into this weekend.
Tennessee (6-4, 0-0) currently sits in third place in the SEC Eastern division, and is led by the No. 10 singles player in the country, Caitlin Whoriskey (19-8). Additionally, the Lady Volunteers feature another player in the top 50 in Maria Sorbello (16-7), who is ranked No. 47.
Whoriskey is also a part of the top doubles team in the nation, as she and partner Natalie Pluskota hold the top spot in the latest ITA rankings. The pair is 7-0 in dual matches this season and 19-1 overall. The pairing of Rosalia Alda and Zsofia Zubor are also in the top 35, as they are ranked No. 33 with a 18-5 overall record. Tennessee enters the weekend with a two-match losing streak after losing to No. 30 Indiana 5-1 and No. 3 Notre Dame 5-2. As a team, the Lady Vols are 79-63 in singles action, and an impressive 54-14 in doubles play.
Auburn trails in each all-time series, as the Volunteers hold a 27-6 advantage, taking the last 16 matches in a row. The Tigers have never defeated Tennessee under head coach Tim Gray
, as the last time the Tigers knocked off the Lady Vols was April 23, 1994 when Auburn was under the guidance of former head coach Troy Porco.
Georgia is 4-3, and currently sit in third place. Prior to hosting Auburn, Alabama will travel to Athens to take on the Bulldogs, who hold a one-match losing streak after losing to No. 16 Miami (OH) 5-2 on Feb. 14. The Bulldogs feature a pair of top singles players in No. 6 Chelsey Gullickson and No. 23 Nadja Gilchrist, who are a combined 30-8 on the season.
The pair combine to rank as the No. 7 doubles tandem in the country, as they are a 11-3 and 7-0 in No.1 doubles play. As a team, Georgia is 58-48 in singles action and 29-15 in doubles play.
Georgia holds a four match win streak over Auburn, as the last time the Tigers knocked off the Bulldogs was on March 23, 2007 on The Plains. Later that season, Georgia avenged the regular-season defeat by knocking off Auburn 4-1 in the SEC tournament and 4-0 in the NCAA Regional. In all, Georgia holds a 44-6 advantage over the Tigers.
"We need to focus on the things that we need to do, and if we do that, we can match up with anybody. Doubles will certainly be a key this weekend," said Gray.
Live Stats will be available via AuburnTigers.com for each match.