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Penn Tops Tennessee, Advances to Face Georgia Tech in NCAA Tennis Regional

May 12, 2006

ATLANTA–Caroline Stanislawski’s three-set victory at No. 5 singles lifted 45th-ranked Pennsylvania to a 4-2 victory over No. 30 Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Atlanta Women’s Tennis Regional Friday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center on the campus of Georgia Tech.

The Quakers (13-5) advance to face host and sixth-ranked Georgia Tech, a 4-0 winner over Southeastern Louisiana, in Saturday’s regional final, scheduled for 12 noon. Regional winners move on to the NCAA Championships at Stanford, beginning May 18.

Penn jumped to a 3-0 lead in the match and then had to hold off the Volunteers (12-13), who won the next two matches and forced third sets in the other two matches.

“It was a very dramatic match,” said Penn head coach Michael Dowd. “Three of the five singles flights went to three sets, and every match was a battle. Every player on both teams competed extremely hard.

“After a match that tough and long, we’ll enjoy it for a little while, and then put our game faces on for tomorrow’s match.”

The Quakers led 3-1 and had a chance to win the match at No. 1 singles, but Tennessee’s Melissa Schaub fought off two potential match points by Yulia Rivelis, who was serving with a 5-4, 40-15 lead in the third set. Schaub went on to win the third set tie-breaker, 7-3, taking the match, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6, to pull the Vols within 3-2 with flights four and five in third sets.

That’s when Stanislawski clinched the victory for the Quakers by winning three straight games to defeat Samantha Orlin, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. Ciochina broke to go up 5-4 in the third, then served out the match. Tennessee’s Ghizela Schutte was clinging to a 4-3 lead in the third set at No. 4 singles when the match ended.

Penn began the match by winning the doubles point. Stanislawski and Michelle Mitchell won 8-0 at No. 3 doubles, and then Julia Koulbitskaya and Yulia Rivelis clinched the point with an 8-4 win over Melissa Schaub and Ghizela Schutte at the No. 1 flight. The Quakers were also ahead at No. 2 doubles.

With Tennessee down to five singles players, the Quakers began singles play with a default win at No. 6 to move ahead 2-0. Penn extended its lead to 3-0 as Koulbitskaya defeated Victoria Jones at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-3.

The Vols got on the scoreboard with a win at No. 3 singles, where Blakeley Griffith downed Michelle Mitchell in three sets to cut the deficit to 3-1.

“We didn’t play well in doubles. We competed much better most places in singles, but came up a little short in the end,” said Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick. “We had chances and hung in there. That’s the thing that is frustrating. Give Penn a lot of credit; we tried all over the place, but just didn’t have enough.”

#45 Penn 4, #30 Tennessee 2

Singles competition 1. Melissa Schaub (TN) def. Yulia Rivelis (PU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) 2. Julia Koulbitskaya (PU) def. Victoria Jones (TN) 6-1, 6-3 3. Blakeley Griffith (TN) def. Michelle Mitchell (PU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 4. Ghizela Schutte (TN) vs. Raluca Ciochina (PU) 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 4-3, unfinished 5. CarolineStanislawski (PU) def. Samantha Orlin (TN) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 6. Penn earned the point by default

Doubles competition 1. Julia Koulbitskaya/Yulia Rivelis (PU) def. #32 Melissa Schaub/Ghizela Schutte (TN) 8-4 2. Alexis Plukas/Raluca Ciochina (PU) def. Blakeley Griffith/Victoria Jones (TN) 7-3 3. CarolineStanislawski/Michelle Mitchell (PU) def. Samantha Orlin/Hayley Prendergast (TN) 8-0

Match Notes: Penn 13-5; National ranking #45 Tennessee 12-13; National ranking #30 Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,2,3,1,5)

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