KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb women’s tennis team went into Spring Break hoping to pull an upset against either South Alabama or Tennessee.
Both opponents represented tall tasks, and the Jaguars and Volunteers lived up to their billings. After falling to South Alabama by a score of 6-1 on Wednesday, Lipscomb dropped a 4-0 contest to the Vols on Sunday afternoon in Knoxville.
“This was our final push prior to conference (play),” Lipscomb coach Jamie Aid said. “We made a really tough schedule this year and hope to see that pay dividends later on in the season.”
The two losses snapped Lipscomb’s three-match winning streak, which included victories over Arkansas State, Murray State and Detroit.
Against the Jaguars (10-1), freshman Kateryna Popova defeated Milka Pasanen (6-3, 6-4) for Lipscomb’s lone singles win in either match.
“Every week, (Popova) gets better,” Aid said. “We’ve really been working with her to make her a better doubles player as well. She’s had an outstanding non-conference showing.”
On Sunday, the No. 30-ranked Vols (13-5) made quick work of the Bisons, who went winless on the day.
Aid moved junior Viktoriya Dzyuba into the No. 1 singles spot for both matches, as the Ukrainian continues to get back to full strength. Dzyuba dropped a 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 match to South Alabama's Alexandria Stiteler on Wednesday, before her match against Tennessee’s Sadie Hammond went unfinished on Sunday.
“Vika started playing like herself a couple of weeks ago, so we thought we’d make that change and see how it went,” Aid said. “I thought she played fantastic – she was right there in both matches.”
Wednesday, March 14: South Alabama 6, Lipscomb 1
- Alexandria Stiteler (USA) def. Viktoriya Dzyuba (LIP) 6-3, 3-6, 1-0
- Kateryna Popova (LIP) def. Milka Pasanen (USA) 6-3, 6-4
- Yu Fuijoka (USA) def. Madeleine Brooks (LIP) 6-1, 6-2
- Maxine Palmen (USA) def. Denise Buberl (LIP) 6-4, 6-1
- Nikola Kohoutova (USA) def. Thabile Tshatedi (LIP) 6-2, 6-2
- Leslie Soto (USA) def. Kateryna Kandyba (LIP) withdrew
- Patricia Martins/Milka Pasanen (USA) vs. Viktoriya Dzyuba/Denise Buberl (LIP) 6-6, unfinished
- Alina Zolotareva/Yu Fuijoka (USA) def. Madeleine Brooks/Kateryna Popova (LIP) 7-5
- Nikola Kohoutova/Maxine Palmen (USA) def. Thabile Tshatedi/Kateryna Kandyba (LIP) 4-2, retired
Sunday, March 18: Tennessee 4, Lipscomb 0
- Sadie Hammond (UT) vs. Viktoriya Dzyuba (LU) 4-6, 2-2, unfinished
- Elizabeth Profit (UT) vs. Kateryna Popova (LU) 6-4, 1-0, unfinished
- Ariadna Riley (UT) vs. Madeleine Brooks (LU) 6-2, 4-1, unfinished
- Gabby Schuck (UT) def. Denise Buberl (LU) 6-1, 6-0
- Johanna Silva (UT) def. Thabile Tshatedi (LU) 6-1, 6-1
- Chelsea Sawyer (UT) def. Kateryna Kandyba (LU) 6-1, 6-0
- Ariadna Riley/Kaitlin Staines (UT) vs. Viktoriya Dzyuba/Denise Buberl (LU) 5-3, unfinished
- Sadie Hammond/Gabby Schuck (UT) def. Kateryna Popova/Madeleine Brooks (LU) 6-3
- Chelsea Sawyer/Elizabeth Profit (UT) def. Thabile Tshatedi/Kateryna Kandyba (LU) 6-2
The Bisons (6-9) will open conference play next Saturday, March 24 at Kennesaw State. Match time is set for 3 p.m. in Kennesaw, Georgia. Lipscomb opened ASUN play with a 6-1 loss at NJIT in 2017, and Aid said her squad is looking to avoid a repeat loss in this year's ASUN opener.
“Conference is always kind of a new slate,” Aid said. “You feel like you go back to 0-0. Kennesaw (State) is not going to be an easy match. We kind of overlooked NJIT in our (ASUN) opener last year, and you just can’t do that in our conference.”