April 11, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After dropping the doubles point for the second time in three days, the Vanderbilt women’s tennis team responded with another strong performance in singles, winning all six matches to earn a 6-1 win over LSU at the Currey Tennis Center Sunday. Five of the Commodores six singles wins came in straight sets.
The Commodores moved to 11-8 overall and 6-4 in Southeastern Conference play, while LSU fell to 9-13 and 4-6 in league play.
LSU struck first on the scoreboard when they took two of three from Vanderbilt in doubles play to earn the doubles point. Vanderbilt’s No. 2 tandem of Catherine Newman and Erica Robertson defeated LSU’s team of Kaitlin Burns and Hannah Robinson, 8-2 in the first completed match of doubles, to give VU a step closer to clinching the point. However, LSU’s No. 1 team of Whitney Wolf and Keri Frankenberger came back from a 5-3 deficit to beat VU’s 25th-ranked team of Chelsea Preeg and Jackie Wu on court one. The Lady Tigers clinched the tightly-contested doubles point when Nicole Kantor and Ebie Wilson edged VU’s Hannah Blatt and Rachael Dillon, 9-8.
Losing the doubles point didn’t phase the Commodores on Sunday, as they have learned to excel in singles after dropping seven of the 10 doubles points in conference play to their respected opponents.
“Our doubles play this season has been a bit of a puzzle to figure out,” head coach Geoff Macdonald said. “Sometimes it feels like we are in control and than it slips away towards the end but we’re working on it and we’ll get it corrected. We have responded well after doubles though, and I am real pleased with how we’re playing in singles right now. We basically held a good LSU team to one set and that’s pretty good.”
With LSU leading 1-0 after doubles, Vanderbilt, for the second time this weekend came out of the short intermission on fire in singles as four Commodores jumped out to early 3-0 leads in their match.
Vanderbilt tied that match at 1-1 when Newman took down LSU’s Wolf in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 position. It marked the second straight match that Newman was the first Commodore to finish and first to score towards the team score. Newman improved to 13-6 in dual play, including 7-3 in the SEC.
The Commodores extended its lead to 2-1 just minutes later when Preeg defeated Kantor in consecutive sets, 6-1, 6-3 for her third straight conference win at No. 3. Preeg improved to 13-6 in singles this spring, including 7-3 in the SEC.
Senior Hannah Blatt gave VU a 3-1 lead in the match when she outlasted LSU’s Robinson for her team leading eighth win of the conference season. Sunday’s match on court six was an uncharacteristic one for Blatt, who has now won the opening set in every match she has played in this season. Blatt, who came into the match having never played more than 10 games in a first set, battled Robinson for 12 long games before winning 7-5 in the opening set on court six. The Nashville, Tenn., native used her endurance in the second set to help her cruise to a six-love second set win.
With Vanderbilt holding a 3-1 lead, Vanderbilt’s Wu put the match away for good when she posted a 7-6, 6-0 match-clinching win over Burns at No. 2. Similar to Blatt’s first-set, Wu battled Burns back-and-forth in a tightly contested first-set showdown. Wu fought back from a 5-6 deficit in the first set to claim a 7-6 (3 in the tiebreak) win In the first before cruising to a 6-0 win in the second for her ninth win of the dual season. Wu improved to 4-1 in the SEC with a win on Sunday.
With the match already in hand, VU’s Rachael Dillon posted an impressive straight-set 6-1, 6-4 win over Wilson at No. 5, giving the ‘Dores a 5-1 lead. The Dublin, Ireland native is now 8-8 this spring in singles, and 4-6 in the SEC.
“I thought Rachael played superb tennis today against a quality player,” Macdonald said.
Junior Keilly Ulery closed out the dual with the tightest match of the day against Frankenberger on court four. After dropping the first set 6-3, Ulery showed a lot of toughness in the second set and pulled out one of the best comeback wins of the 2010 season. With Ulery down 4-0 in the second set, she stormed back to win five of the next six games to tie the second set at five games apiece. Frankenberger than broke Ulery’s serve to take a 6-5 lead but than Ulery returned the favor to tie things at six-all. The Wellington, Fla., native than grinded out a 9-7 win in the second set tiebreaker, setting the stage for a superset (10-point) tiebreaker. Just like the rest of the match went, the super tiebreaker was neck-and-neck the whole way until Ulery outlasted Frankenberger, 10-8 in the super tiebreaker to earn the win.
“I thought Keilly did an excellent job of coming back to earn the win in her match,” Macdonald said. “A match like that really sets the tone and gives our team momentum heading into the Kentucky match.”
The ‘Dores will close out its home schedule next week when they host Kentucky on Senior Day at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 16. The match will mark the final regular season home match for the team’s two seniors; Catherine Newman and Hannah Blatt.
Blatt and Newman will be recognized by their teammates, coaches and senior administrators after practice (around 5 p.m.) on Thursday for their outstanding efforts on the court and in the classroom during their last four years at Vanderbilt University.
Both events are free and open to the public.
No. 31 Vanderbilt 6, No. 70 LSU 1
April 11, 2010
1. No. 23 Catherine Newman (VU) def. Whitney Wolf (LSU) 6-2, 6-3
2. No. 27 Jackie Wu (VU) def. Kaitlin Burns (LSU) 7-6(3), 6-0
3. No. 82 Chelsea Preeg (VU) def. Nicole Kantor (LSU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Keilly Ulery (VU) def. Keri Frankenberger (LSU) 3-6, 7-6(7), (10-8)
5. Rachael Dillon (VU) def. Ebie Wilson (LSU) 6-1, 6-4
6. Hannah Blatt (VU) def. Hannah Robinson (LSU) 7-5, 6-0
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 6, 2*, 5, 4
1. Frankenberger / Wolf (LSU) def. No. 25 Preeg / Wu (VU) 8-6
2. Newman / Robertson (VU) def. Burns / Robinson (LSU) 8-2
3. Kantor / Wilson (LSU) def. Blatt / Dillon (VU) 9-8
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
Vanderbilt improves to 11-8 overall and 6-4 in the SEC
LSU falls to 9-13 overall and 4-6 in the SEC