Lady Vols rip ETSU

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY-- Like a building getting plowed by a bulldozer, the ETSU women's tennis team just couldn't hold up against one of the nation's top programs.
   The Bucs were very respectable against the sixth-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers, but still lost a 7-0 decision in Memorial Center on Sunday.
   It definitely wasn't an easy task for the Lady Bucs, as they do not have one senior on the team.
   Tennessee head coach Mike Patrick has a very experienced squad, and he thinks that played a big role in the convincing win.
   "We've got a real experienced team, and coach Steve Brooks has got a young team," Patrick said. "It's fun for us to come up here and play in the dome. It was a good experience for the girls to get to play a good team."
   The Lady Bucs did take a total of 10 games in seven matches, but the big scare came when ETSU's Jessica Irey and Tatianna Arriaran ran out to a 3-2 lead against the nationally ranked doubles team of Allison Ojeda and Agnes Wiski before the UT tandem rallied back to win the next six games of an eight-game pro set.
   Patrick didn't consider it that big of a surprise.
   "The courts here are a little bit faster than what we are used to," Patrick said. "The girls hit the ball pretty good and flat. They did a good job in that one."
   ETSU head tennis coach Steve Brooks thought the Ojeda and Wiski really stepped up against his number one doubles team.
   "They played really well," Brooks said about his team. "They got up 3-2 against a team that is in the top 10 in the country. When they got up 3-2 the other team kind of picked up their level. Jessica and Tatianna wanted to stay at the level they were at. When the other team picked it up it changed things, and we started getting a little flat. We were really the same as we were, it's just they started playing better.
   Number two singles was also one of the more tighter matches of the day, as ETSU's Gemma Halim made Tennessee's Agnes Wiski work hard for her 6-2, 6-1 win.
   "Gemma just came here from Indonesia in January," Brooks said. "(Wiski) is a senior that has been ranked in the nation every year. It was a very good learning experience for Gemma. When I went to talk to her she was mad because she thought she could win, and I like that. And I'm going to help her learn how to win against those kinds of players."
   Former Elizabethton standout Heather Jones had a very solid collegiate debut for ETSU. Jones held her own in a 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Brooke Cordell.
   "I'm so glad Heather is on the team," Brooks said. "She wants to play, and she wants to do good. Today, she did great. I think she really surprised herself. As the season goes on, she's going to be surprising a lot of people."
   Overall, Brooks felt this match with the Lady Vols was a step in the right direction for his team.
   "I think it was a great experience," said the first-year coach. "I can talk about what happened today in every match, and every practice until all these girls have graduated. We showed them that we're doing better. I was very proud of the girls."