April 13, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite being short-handed the fifth-ranked Vanderbilt women's tennis team held to defeat No. 35 South Carolina, 4-2, Sunday at the Carolina Tennis Center. With the win the Commodores finish the regular season in a tie for second in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt will head into the 2014 SEC Women's Tennis Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed, and will face the winner of No. 7 Auburn and No. 10 Kentucky.
Vanderbilt (18-5, 11-2 SEC) got off to a tough start in doubles play, dropping matches at both No. 2 and No. 3 to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 advantage.
In singles, South Carolina jumped out to early leads, eventually taking four first sets but the Commodores never went away.
"We did a great job of regrouping after doubles," said Vanderbilt head coach Geoff Macdonald. "We had to fight a lot of adversity today with our No. 1 and No. 2 singles players out, and I think we did that tremendously. We got down to start but everyone kept their emotions in check and we were able to pull out a great team win."
With both Sydney Campbell and Georgina Sellyn sidelined due to injury, walk-on sophomore Maggie Leavell made her SEC dual match debut. Despite the outcome, Coach Macdonald praised the way Leavell fought the whole match, saying "she (Leavell) showed tremendous toughness in her first ever SEC match."
After falling into a 2-0 hole, the Commodores quickly evened things up winning in straight-sets at two and three.
Courtney Colton notched her 20th win of the season with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 3 over Megan Blevins. She was followed by Marie Casares who picked up her 30th win of the season at No. 2 to become just one win shy of tying the Vanderbilt school record for singles wins in a season.
With the match at 2-2, Frances Altick gutted out a tough three-set win over South Carolina's top player Elixane Lechemia, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a clinching situation for the Dores.
After losing an early lead in the first set of her match at No. 5 singles, Lauren Mira took over eventually clinching the match for the Commodores, 6-2 in the third set.
Vanderbilt earns a first-round bye in the 2014 SEC Women's Tennis Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed. The Commodores will face the winner of Auburn and Kentucky on Friday, April 18 at 8 a.m.
#5 Vanderbilt 4, #35 South Carolina 2
1. #62 Frances Altick (VU) def. #98 Elixane Lechemia (SC) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
2. #99 Marie Casares (VU) def. #90 Katerina Popova (SC) 6-4, 6-2
3. #85 Courtney Colton (VU) def. Meghan Blevins (SC) 6-1, 6-4
4. Brigit Folland (SC) vs. Ashleigh Antal (VU) 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 5-2, unfinished
5. Lauren Mira (VU) def. Caroline Dailey (SC) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
6. Ximena Siles Luna (SC) def. Maggie Leavell (VU) 6-1, 6-1
1. #30 Dominika Kanakova/Elixane Lechemia (SC) vs. #32 Lauren Mira/Courtney Colton (VU) 6-5, unfinished
2. #76 Meghan Blevins/Katerina Popova (SC) def. #40 Ashleigh Antal/Sydney Campbell (VU) 8-3
3. Ximena Siles Luna/Caroline Dailey (SC) def. #58 Frances Altick/Marie Casares (VU) 8-5
Vanderbilt 18-5, 11-2 SEC; National ranking #5
South Carolina 15-9, 6-7 SEC; National ranking #35
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,3,2,1,5)