Tennis fans are used to moving their eyes quickly from player to player, but those in attendance Friday night to watch Tennessee had to move theirs rapidly from court to court.
The reason was that the No. 17 Lady Vols (3-2) dominated five of their six singles matches so much on the way to a 6-1 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame (4-2) that the suspense was in what order the wins would occur at the Goodfriend Tennis Center's indoor courts.
After No. 2 singles player Brynn Boren defeated Kristy Frilling (6-2, 6-0) to gain the Lady Vols' second point following a sweep in doubles, four other matches — including the deciding one — finished within minutes, or maybe even seconds, of each other.
Freshman Caitlyn Williams (6-2, 6-2) from Knoxville was the next to win at No. 4, followed by No. 5 Sarah Toti (6-3, 6-2), No. 3 Kata Szekely (6-3, 6-1), and No. 6 Joanna Henderson (6-4, 6-2).
"We played well," said Lady Vols co-head coach Mike Patrick, whose team lost last year to Notre Dame. "We had a great doubles and the girls came out and played really hard in singles. Every one of them did a great job."
The only match that was close — No. 1 Natalie Pluskota of UT against Shannon Mathews — also ended shortly after the other matches, but for a different reason. Pluskota had won the first set, 7-6 (7-4), but was trailing 2-1 in the second when the UT coaches decided to retire the match and give Notre Dame the point.
"She's been battling some injuries and stuff and to go out there and play an extra hour and a half, which is what it would have taken for her to get it done, is probably not the smartest thing right now," said Patrick of their lone senior. "We have a lot of matches to play in the next couple weeks against a lot of great schools so we need her. We do not get this done without her, so we need her healthy."
Boren, who teamed with Toti for their eighth straight doubles victory, struggled early in the season playing No. 1 singles. But she has admittedly been on a role lately playing on the No. 2 court after also playing even farther down the lineup.
"My confidence is where it needs to be right now," the sophomore from California said.
Williams, meanwhile, is getting used to being on any court. The former home-schooled student had shoulder surgery last March and is readjusting to full-speed tennis while also trying to adjust to college athletics.
"It's a bit different than junior tennis obviously," she said. "I definitely like the team aspect of it a lot more and having to play not just for yourself, but for the whole team as well."
The Lady Vols will host 10th-ranked Michigan on Sunday at 10 a.m. Michigan (3-0) won 4-3 at No. 18 Vanderbilt (6-2) on Friday.