April 1, 2011
NASHVILLE – The Vanderbilt women’s tennis team defeated the University of South Carolina, 4-3, Friday afternoon at the Currey Tennis Center. For the third time this season, senior Keilly Ulery clinched the victory for the Commodores with a three-set victory in the No. 6 singles match.
Vanderbilt opened doubles play with a slightly different lineup than they have been using all season, and ended up winning two of three matches to clinch the point. Alex Leatu and Rachael Dillon earned their 18th win together with an 8-3 victory in the No. 1 match. On court three, Chelsea Preeg and Keilly Ulery were unable to hold off USC’s duo of Katerina Popova and Madeleine Saari-Bystrom, falling 8-6. Playing in their first match together, Jackie Wu and Lauren Mira clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win in on court two.
“I thought we played better at doubles today than we have been playing,” said head coach Geoff Macdonald. “Alex and Rachael played really well and they had good energy out there.”
In singles play, the Commodores jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after Mira and Wu cruised to straight-set wins. Mira handed Saari-Bystrom a 6-1, 6-2 loss on court four, and minutes later Wu picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Popova.
The Gamecocks cut into Vanderbilt’s lead after winning the next two singles matches. 39th-ranked Anya Morgina defeated Leatu, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 1 match, and Preeg was unable to hold off Dijana Stojic on court two.
Ulery sealed the victory for the Commodores after handing Adriana Pereira a three-set loss on court six. Ulery won the first set, 7-5, before falling 1-6 in the second set. In the deciding set, Ulery prevailed with a 6-1 victory to claim the win for Vanderbilt.
“I think Keilly clinching another match for us is a great story for a senior,” said Macdonald. “She really regrouped after the momentum swung the other way and got it back by fighting early in the third set. All of the games were close, but she just out competed [Pereira]. Also, I thought Lauren played really good tennis this afternoon, and so did Jackie. In a couple of places, we didn’t play as well as we can, but any SEC win is one to savor.”
The Commodores will play their final home match of the season on Sunday against the University of Florida. Seniors Keilly Ulery and Rachael Dillon will be honored before the match, which is scheduled to begin at noon. Live stats will be available here.