URBANA, Ill. -- The Vols pushed second-seeded Virginia late, but could not pull off the upset Saturday in the NCAA tennis quarterfinals.
With the remaining courts looking favorable for the Vols, Tennessee
season's ended with a 4-0 loss to undefeated Virginia, a team with three players who have all held the No. 1 singles ranking during their careers.
It was the team effort and not the result that head coach Sam Winterbotham will take away most from Saturday's match.
"Some people never understand what it means to give everything you have," Winterbotham said. "They go through careers doing it, they go through their life not quite understanding what it means to honestly giving your best. What makes me so proud as a coach is that this team up and down the line gave everything they had for Tennessee. They gave everything they had for each other.
"It was one of the proudest moments, even though we lost. They learned with that kind of effort, they can achieve anything in life."
The Vols (28-9) lost a closely contested doubles point but kept things close with Virginia entering singles play. The Vols won two of the six first sets from Mikelis Libietis on court 1 and Jarryd Chaplin on court 4 and started digging in across the boards.
Virginia upped its lead to 2-0 when second-ranked Alex Domijian beat sophomore Hunter Reese 6-2, 6-3. Evenly matched competition kept going across the five other courts when the Vols were dealt a serious blow to their upset bid.
Sliding forward to catch up to a ball at the net on set point in the second set, Libietis' knee and ankle buckled and he fell to the court against third-ranked Jarmere Jenkins. Libietis lost the point and the set 6-4, and more importantly, he lost nearly all his mobility.
The Vols' ace, ranked No. 1 is the country, could barely walk around the baseline and had to retire at 4-6, 6-4, 3-0, giving Virginia the 3-0 lead.
"He played on, but he wasn't able to play," Winterbotham said. "He didn't want to stop. It was basically him trying to see if he could feel better, but it didn't."
Winterbotham said he does not expect Libietis
' injury to be a serious one. The sophomore is the No. 1 seed in singles and doubles in next week's NCAA individual tournaments.
Virginia 4, Tennessee 0
1. #3 Jarmere Jenkins, UVA, def. #1 Mikelis Libietis, UT, 4-6, 6-4, 3-0 ret.
2. #2 Alex Domijian, UVA, def. #34 Hunter Reese, UT, 6-2, 6-3
3. #39 Mitchell Frank, UVA, vs. Brandon Fickey, UT, 6-3, 5-5 unf.
4. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, vs. #69 Ryan Shane, UVA, 6-4, 3-6, 4-2
5. #28 Mac Styslinger, UVA, def. John Collins, UT, 6-4, 6-4
6. Julen Uriguen, UVA, vs. Ed Jones, UT, 7-5, 5-5 unf.
1. #4 Jenkins/Stylslinger, UVA, def. #1 Libietis/Reese, UT, 9-7
2. Fickey/Chaplin, UT, vs. #21 Domijian/Frank, UVA, 6-6 unf.
3. #89 Shane/Uriguen, UVA, def. #34 Jones/Collins, UT, 8-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,1,5)