Tennis Vols finish the year ranked sixth in the nation

(UNDATED) -- The Tennessee Volunteers ended the 2013 season ranked sixth in the final ITA national tennis team rankings, the collegiate tennis governing body released Tuesday.

The Vols (26-9, 8-4 SEC) reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships for the third time in the last four seasons under head coach Sam Winterbotham and associate head coach Chris Woodruff.

Tennessee has finished in the top 10 in the final rankings in five of the last six seasons.

After finishing 20th to end the 2012 season, all six singles starters returned for 2013, and the more-experienced Vols steadily climbed the rankings as a result. The Vols improved at every position in the lineup, with six players logging at least 20 singles victories and most recording career bests.

Coaches around the country recognized Tennessee's marked improvement this year. Winterbotham was voted the ITA National Coach of the Year, and Woodruff took home Tennessee's first ITA Assistant Coach of the Year honors.

Sophomore Mikelis Libietis, who held the No. 1 ranking in singles and doubles entering May, was voted both the ITA National Player to Watch and the SEC Player of the Year. The Latvia native will be among college tennis' top-ranked players heading into the fall tournament season.

By virtue of been seeded in the NCAA individual championships, Libietis and fellow sophomore Hunter Reese will both earn All-America honors when the final rankings are released next week.

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