Women’s Tennis Central: #22 Tennessee at Furman, #10 NC State

After their home game and two wins on Wednesday, the No. 22 Tennessee women’s tennis team is back on the road while spending the weekend in the Carolinas, taking on Furman on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Mickel Tennis Center with No. 10 NC State on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the JW Isenhour Tennis Center.

The Lady Vols (3-1) shot past Western Carolina in their home game just a day ago, beating the Catamounts 5-2 in the first game before claiming a 4-0 win in the afternoon session. Rebeka Mertena continued her dominant style of play after notching two singles victories in the rankings at the ITA Kickoff Weekend with an aggregate score of 36-3 between singles and doubles on Wednesday afternoon.

Daria Kuczer and Lauren Anzalotta were perfect in singles on Wednesday, each going 2-0, while Ashtin Hara and Leyla Britez Risso each celebrated their first doubles win in college.

Tennessee’s will travel to Greenville for the first time in 36 years to face Furman on the road since the Lady Vols last played at the Furman on October 29, 1986. On the other hand, UT and NC State have been frequent foes lately, having faced each other four more times since the start of the 2021 season. Tennessee hosted the Wolfpack last February and played in the first and second rounds of the 2022 NCAA Team Championship in the Raleigh Regional.

Live stats for Friday’s game at Furman can be found HERE. Additionally, Sunday’s competition at NC State will be streamed and can be viewed HERE, while live stats can be found HERE.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend, we have two opportunities to play against teams of NCAA championship caliber. Furman usually wins their conference (SoCon) and is a team we play against in the first round of the tournament. NC State is a team that will play in the final rounds of the tournament. Both are very good and will help us to get even better. That’s what we’re concentrating on now.”

Scout out the paladins
Furman is 0-4 to start the season after losing both games at ITA Kickoff Weekend in Raleigh and finishing at No. 4 Duke and fell on the road at home against Iowa.

Furman, as coach Ojeda noted, is a very strong team that consistently tops the Southern Conference. The Paladins haven’t lost a SoCon match in seven years, going back to the 2015 season.

FU will be managed by freshman head coach Michelle Dasso, a former assistant at Duke having spent the last seven seasons under Adam Herendeen’s stewardship.

NC State goes into the weekend 2-1 after losing 3-4 to Vanderbilt in the ITA Kickoff Regional Finals. However, the Wolfpack faced stiff competition earlier in the year, defeating South Carolina 6-1 in the season opener away from home before beating Illinois 4-0 in the first game of the Raleigh Regional.

Prior to Sunday’s clash with the Lady Vols, NCSU will host Oklahoma No. 15 on Saturday noon.

NC State is ranked 10th in the ITA team rankings released Feb. 1 and has a total of six players in the rankings — four singles and two doubles teams. The list of ranked players on NC State is below.

Alana Smith – No. 13
Amelia Rajecki – No. 23
Abigail Rencheli – No. 25
Sophie Abrams – No. 97

Nell Miller/Amelia Rajecki – No. 8
Sophie Abrams/Abigail Rencheli – No. 60

Tennessee has an all-time 11-0 record against Furman and is 2-0 against the Paladins in Greenville, South Carolina. The match will be UT’s first road showdown against Furman since 1986.

The Lady Vols also lead the all-time series with NC State, 5-4, although the Wolfpack have won each of their last four encounters. Tennessee will be looking for their first win since 1985 at Raleigh.

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