Lady Vols lose heartbreaker to Vandy, ousted from NCAA tournament

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.( -- The No. 13-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team saw its 2010-11 season come a close on Sunday after a 4-3 loss to No. 19 Vanderbilt in an NCAA Championships second round contest at Barksdale Stadium.

Playing without sophomore Kata Szekely, UT wasn't able to overcome injuries or Vanderbilt's experienced lineup.

Co-head coach Mike Patrick said his team simply didn't have enough left in the tank.

"All of our players competed hard today," Patrick said. "We're disappointed in the result but it wasn't from a lack of effort. We just ran out of gas. Give credit to Vanderbilt, they competed hard at every position."

Tennessee began the day by capturing the doubles point in thrilling fashion, rallying from a 6-4 deficit at court two to win, 8-6. Within seconds, Natalie Pluskota and Brynn Boren recorded an 8-5 win on court one to put Tennessee ahead, 1-0.

Boren carried that momentum over to her singles match, defeating No. 88 Chelsea Preeg, 6-3, 6-1, to put UT ahead, 2-0.

Vanderbilt cut the deficit to 2-1 with a win by Rachael Dillon at court six, but Tennessee answered with a straight-set victory by Natalie Pluskota on court one to stretch its lead to 3-1.

However, the Orange and White was unable to put away a feisty Commodore squad. Jackie Wu's win at No. 2 singles narrowed the gap to 3-2, and Keilly Ulery topped Millie Nichols in three sets at No. 5 singles to even the score at 3-3.

Freshman Lauren Mira clinched the victory for VU with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Maria Sorbello at No. 4 singles.

The loss wraps up the team portion of Tennessee's 2010-11 season. However, four members of the team will be competing in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., starting on May 25. UT will have two doubles teams (Pluskota/Boren and Alda/Nichols) and two singles players (Pluskota and Boren) in the field.

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