In middle of packed stretch, UT men's tennis posts two more shutouts

Tennessee sophomore Hunter Reese has no problem facing a stretch of seven tennis matches in five days.

His teammates probably feel the same way. Beats the heck out of beating up on each other.

"I love playing matches," Reese said. "If you gave me a can of balls and said, 'Play a match today,' I'll do that over practice any day. I definitely like this."

UT (4-0) posted two more shutouts Saturday at Goodfriend Tennis Center — beating Oklahoma State 4-0 in the morning and Belmont 7-0 in the afternoon.

The Vols, who shut out Tennessee Tech (4-0) and Alabama-Huntsville (7-0) on Thursday, play host to Eastern Kentucky on Monday at 11 a.m. and follow that with a double-header against Murray State starting at 2:30.

"This time of year you need matches," UT coach Sam Winterbotham said. "We're on the road from next weekend for about six weeks, so we felt like just to play three matches at home (in five days) wouldn't be enough for us. We need six or seven matches at home, so we just put them all in three days."

UT plays at Illinois on Friday and the next day plays either Tulsa or North Carolina.

The Vols' next home match after Monday is March 15 against South Carolina.

Like most of the Vols, Reese is off to a fast start this spring — which started with winning the Wake Forest Spring Invitational last Sunday.

"I put in some hard work last semester," Reese said. "The biggest thing is that I was ready to go. I wanted to play matches, and I was really excited to play."

Reese, ranked No. 40 nationally, is 17-3 in 2012-13 after beating Belmont's Henrique Norbiato 6-4, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. In the morning match, Reese led Oklahoma State's Chris Haworth 6-4, 5-2 when the Vols clinched the match.

"I feel good," Reese said. "I used my serve well. I feel like I need to get off to better starts. I've been maybe a little tentative at the beginning of matches, so that's something we'll work on this week and really go after my shots early in matches."

Ineligible Recruit: UT freshman Bartosz Sawicki of Poland, a January enrollee, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because he took a year off from high school after he'd already started.

"It was a big blow," Winterbotham said. "We felt we won the lottery when we got him. He (visited) us and three top-10 schools, and everybody thought he was eligible. We were jumping for joy when he signed with us. We knew he would be an impact player. There were four schools that thought he would be eligible, and we were all mistaken."

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