May 11, 2002
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Marshall University women's tennis team saw its season end with a 4-0 loss to 13th-ranked Tennessee in NCAA Tournament first round action Friday. Marshall (21-8) gave Tennessee (18-9) a hard fought battle, however the Lady Vols proved to be too much for the Thundering Herd on their home court.
Marshall's best performance was turned in by sophomore Jessica Johnson (Sewickly, Pa.), who teamed with freshman Ashley Kroh (Louisville, Ky.), to give the Thundering Herd an 8-5 victory in number two doubles over Tennessee's Kim Gates and Alison Ojeda. Johnson later bested Tennessee's number one singles player Vilmarie Castellvi 7-5 in the first set of a match that was later suspended when the Lady Vols clinched the victory.
The Thundering Herd was making a bid to take the doubles point when rain forced the tournament to move to Tennessee's indoor facility. Johnson and Kroh led 6-3 at number two doubles and Marshall's number one tandem of Anna Mitina (senior, Sochi, Russia) and Lille Nzudi (freshman, Cameroon) had just won four straight games to take a 5-4 lead when the rains came.
Upon resuming action indoors, the Tennessee duo of Vilmarie Castellvi and Agnes Wiski staged a comeback and toppled Mitina and Nzudi, 9-7. Earlier, UT's number three doubles team of Crystal Cleveland and Breanna Kray defeated Marshall?s Alice Sukner (sophomore, Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Danielle Hock (Wiggin, England), 8-2. By virtue of winning two of the three doubles matches UT won the doubles point.
Tennessee's indoor facility contains only four courts. Therefore, the number five and six singles matches would have taken place only if they would have affected the overall outcome. The Lady Vols made it a moot point by quickly winning at three singles positions to win the overall match.
UT's Wiski beat Marshall?s Nzudi 6-2, 6-4 in the number four slot to give the Lady Vols its first singles victory. Ojeda then dispatched of Marshall's Mitina 7-5, 6-0 in the number two slot, before Tennessee's Gates sealed the victory with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Sukner at the number three position.
Tennessee now advances to Saturday's second round to face Alabama, which defeated Ohio State 4-0 earlier in the day. That match is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.