CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Even the hottest of teams can be stopped and that's what happened to the VCU women's tennis team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Winners of 11 straight entering the tournament, the Rams (20-5) fell 4-0 to the 23rd-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (15-12) on a sunny Friday afternoon on the campus of the University of Virginia.
The Vols entered the year as one of the country's top-20 teams, but battled injuries all year. On Friday, their health seemed to be just fine with three of the nation's 60 players in their lineup.
Tennessee started the day with a 8-1 win at the top doubles spot behind the 10th-ranked duo of Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely. But VCU battled the Vols hard in the other two doubles matches, but the sophomore tandem of Olga Terteac and Daria Yakauleva eventually fell, 8-5 to give UT an early 1-0 lead.
The Black & Gold, who sported at least three underclassmen in the lineup all year long, fought hard up and down the singles lineup, but the talented Vols were too much, picking up straight set singles wins at #3, #1 and #4 to close out the 4-0 first round win.
The Black & Gold will look to return to the postseason next year, looking for the program's 14th NCAA Tournament appearance.
#23 Tennessee 4, #40 VCU 0
1. #35 Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. Ana Bara (VCU) 6-0, 6-3
2. #32 Brynn Boren (UT) vs. Alex Bara (VCU) 7-6 (2), 2-0 DNF
3. #57 Kata Szekely (UT) def. Olga Terteac (VCU) 6-2, 6-1
4. Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Salome Kvitashvili (VCU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Joanna Henderson (UT) vs. Daria Yakauleva (VCU) 3-6, 5-2 DNF
6. Jesse Grace (UT) vs. Josefin Hjertquist (VCU) 7-6 (5), 0-2 DNF
1. #10 Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (UT) def. Alex Bara/Ana Bara (VCU) 8-1
2. Brynn Boren/Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Olga Terteac/Daria Yakauleva (VCU) 8-5
3. Joanna Henderson/Jesse Grace (UT) vs. Salome Kvitashvili/Josefin Hjertquist (VCU) 6-6 DNF