Women's tennis eliminated from NCAAs
May 15, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -Vanderbilt's 28th-ranked women's tennis team saw its season come to end Saturday when they fell 4-1 in a hard-fought match to 14th-ranked Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Knoxville.
Saturday's match was another classic epic battle between the two historic tennis programs as it took nearly four hours to decide the outcome.
"I told the team after the match that I am real proud of them because we went through an enormous amount of adversity this year," head coach Geoff Macdonald said. "We didn't quit and we showed great character especially at the end of the match. Tennessee had all the momentum going for them but we dug in and fought back and made the match potentially winnable. It was just one of those years where we were a little bit shy of winning the 4-3 type of matches."
Tennessee came out of the gates strong as they took an early 3-0 lead in the match after taking the doubles point and winning at No. 1 and No. 4 singles.
In doubles, the Commodores battled hard with one of the SEC's and nation's best doubles lineup but came up on the short end of the stick for the fourth time against Tennessee this year.
Vanderbilt's No. 2 doubles team of Erica Robertson and Catherine Newman were in tight match with No. 30 Rosalia Alda and Zsofia Zubor when UT clinched the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3.
The Lady Vols started strong in singles as well, taking the first set on five courts and holding leads in the second set of four matches when play was suspended due to lightning over the UT Varsity courts, moving the match indoors for the rest of the night.
Once the match moved indoors, UT extended its lead to 3-0 when posting wins at No. 1 and No. 4 singles.
With the `Dores on the verge of elimination, they fought back into the match and caught a new wind as they captured the second set in three of the remaining matches while Hannah Blatt got Vanderbilt on the board with an impressive straight set win at No. 6.
Blatt defeated Kata Szekely, 6-2, 6-4 for her ninth victory in her last 10 matches. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Blatt finished the dual season 16-4, and more impressively won the opening set in all 20 of her matches this spring.
With Tennessee leading 3-1 in the match, VU's Jackie Wu, Rachael Dillon and Chelsea Preeg were battling it out with their respected opponent in the third set on their court. Both Dillon and Preeg were down 3-4 in the second set of their matches before rallying to win their second set, extending the match later into the night.
UT's 62nd-ranked Maria Sorbello eventually clinched the match for the Lady Vols with a hard-fought, three-set win over Wu on court two.
Saturday's meeting with UT marked the final collegiate dual match for seniors Catherine Newman and Blatt. Both seniors wrapped up their dual career by having an excellent senior campaigns.
Newman earned First Team All-SEC honors in addition to being named the SEC Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year while Blatt won a career-best 27 games, including a team-best 9-1 mark in the SEC during the regular season.
"I am really proud of our two seniors, Hannah and Catherine," Macdonald added. "They both had unbelievable senior years and I couldn't be more proud of them."
Entering Saturday's match against Tennessee, Vanderbilt had won 12 of its 13 matches ever played in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Commodores are now 33-16 overall in the NCAA Tournament in 16 appearances.
Even though the dual season came to a close, VU's Catherine Newman and Jackie Wu will now prepare for the NCAA Singles Championships. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 26-31 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Newman will make her third NCAA singles appearance of her career while Wu is making her second straight.
NCAA Tournament (Second Round) - Knoxville, Tenn.
No. 14 Tennessee 4, No. 28 Vanderbilt 1
May 15, 2010
1. No. 11 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. No. 23 Catherine Newman (VU) 6-1, 6-0
2. No. 62 Maria Sorbello (UT) def. No. 32 Jackie Wu 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
3. Rosalia Alda (UT) vs. No. 86 Chelsea Preeg 6-3, 3-6, 4-4, unfinished
4. Zsofia Zubor (UT) def. Keilly Ulery (VU) 6-3, 6-0
5. Rachael Dillon (VU) vs. Jennifer Meredith (UT) 2-6, 7-5, 2-3, unfinished
6. Hannah Blatt (VU) def. Kata Szekely (UT) 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 6, 2*
1. No. 1 Whoriskey / Pluskota (UT) def. No. 33 Preeg / Wu (VU) 8-2
2. Robertson / Newman (VU) vs. No. 30 Alda / Zubor (UT) 4-5, unfinished
3. Sorbello / Szekely (UT) def. Blatt / Dillon (VU) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1
Tennessee improved to 18-8
Vanderbilt fell to 14-10
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