Golovin Clinches Monumental Win Over No. 17 Tennessee
Communications Student Assistant
BATON ROUGE --- The No. 43 LSU women’s tennis team mounted a ferocious comeback effort to defeat the 17th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols by a score of 4-3 behind junior Jessica Golovin’s gritty three-set performance Sunday at the LSU Tennis Complex.
The Tigers improved to 10-2 (1-1 SEC) on the season with the win while Tennessee fell to 12-2 (0-2 SEC).
“This is about as good as it gets,” co-head coach Julia Sell said. “That’s what the SEC is all about. It’s an unbelievably competitive atmosphere and I’m proud of our girls for pulling through. We showed a lot of improvement and a lot of resiliency, and it shows a lot about our mental strength when we’re able to win a match and execute our game like that.”
The Tigers dropped the doubles point to start the match with Eden Richardson and Golovin just a point away from claiming their second ranked doubles win of the weekend, but Tennessee picked up wins on courts one and three to gain the early 1-0 lead.
Tennessee picked up the first singles win of the afternoon on court six, giving the Lady Vols the 2-0 lead, but LSU took the next two singles matches to even the score. Richardson, ranked No. 105 in the country, gave LSU its first point of the afternoon with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Elizabeth Profit on court three before senior Ryann Foster dominated on court one against Sadie Hammond, 6-2, 6-3. Richardson’s win Sunday was her eighth-straight, giving her the team lead with 20 singles wins on the season.
After the first set on court four went to a dead-even tiebreak, Tennessee eventually took the decision on court four and gained the 3-2 lead in the process.
Freshman Luba Vasilyuk similarly went to a first-set tiebreak and came out on top, 7-6(5) before continuing her momentum into the second set, which she won 6-4 to tie the match at three points apiece.
With the win of court five, all eyes were on Golovin on court two in the midst of her third set against Tennessee’ Ariadna Riley. Golovin had taken the first set handily, 6-3, before Riley rallied back to take the second and had a 6-5 lead on Golovin in the third. With her 12-match win streak on the line, the junior refused to back down and tied the match at 6-6 before overpowering Riley in the tiebreak, 7-2, to clinch the match for LSU.
“It means a lot to me that I was able to pull through for my team today,” Golovin said. “Being in year three playing for LSU, this is huge for me.”
Golovin, ranked No. 80 in the country, leads the team with 11 dual singles wins and extended her win streak to 13 straight matches dating back to the fall in today’s match.
“She wants it this year,” Sell said. “She rose to the occasion so many times today. There were so many times where she could have just folded, but she didn’t. She really took control and became the dominant player there in the tiebreaker at the end and I love how she’s been competing.”
The Tigers’ next match will come on the road against the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Friday, March 9, at 4 p.m. CT before heading to Columbia for a match against South Carolina on Sunday, March 11, at noon CT.
For more information on the LSU women’s tennis program follow the Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten and @LSUJuliaSell, on Instagram @LSUWTen and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.
#43 LSU 4, #17 Tennessee 3
1. #102 Ryann Foster (LSU) def. Sadie Hammond (UT) 6-2, 6-3
2. #80 Jessica Golovin (LSU) def. Ariadna Riley (UT) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(2)
3. #105 Eden Richardson (LSU) def. Elizabeth Profit (UT) 6-4, 6-1
4. Gabby Schuck (UT) def. Kennan Johnson (LSU) 7-6(1), 6-4
5. Luba Vasilyuk (LSU) def. Johanna Silva (UT) 7-6(5), 6-4
6. Kaitlin Staines (UT) def. Ashton Rabalais (LSU) 6-1, 6-0
1. Sadie Hammond/Gabby Schuck (UT) def. Ryann Foster/Kennan Johnson (LSU) 6-4
2. Eden Richardson/Jessica Golovin (LSU) vs. No. 56 Ariadna Riley/Kaitlin Staines (UT) 5-4, unfinished
3. Chelsea Sawyer/Tenika McGiffin (UT) def. Luba Vasilyuk/Ashton Rabalais (LSU) 6-0
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,3,1,4,5,2)