The No. 6 Vanderbilt women's tennis team notched the doubles point along with five singles matches to cruise past the Rice Owls 6-1 at the Currey Tennis Center.
In the doubles draw on Saturday, the Owls got the best of the Dores at the No. 1 position where Rice's combination of Kimberley Patenaude and Blair DiSesa downed VU's pairing of seniors Audra Falk and Annie Menees, 8-4.
At the No. 3 slot, the Commodores roared back to even up the contest. The matchup at the third position pitted VU's freshman tandem of Caroline Ferrell and Amanda Taylor against the Owl twosome of Medeja Egic and Christine Dao. The Dores dropped the first game, but held serve and broke back to take their first lead, 2-1. The Commodores never trailed again, taking the pro-set, 8-4.
With the win at No. 3, all eyes in the Currey Tennis Center focused their attention on the showdown at No. 2. The Owls came out fast against the No. 20 VU pairing of Taka Bertrand and Amanda Fish, building a 4-1 lead to get things started. The Commodores refused to back down, reeling off seven straight games of their own to take the matchup and the doubles point, 8-4.
The Dores needed three singles victories to claim the match.
First off the courts for the Commodores was sophomore sensation Fish. The Scituate, Mass. native brushed off Rice's Patenaude in convincing fashion, 6-2, 7-6 (7).
The third Commodore point of the day came at the No. 4 singles position. VU's Taylor improved her 2005 record to 7-1, dropping Dominique Karas in straights, 7-5, 6-1.
The showdown at the No. 1 position between VU's No. 39 Falk and Rice's No. 89 DiSesa lived up to its billing. Falk laid claim to the first frame, taking it easily, 6-2. DiSesa came back in the second, forcing the VU senior to a tiebreak, knotted up at 6-6. In the intense breaker, Falk proved her toughness and outlasted her opponent 9-7 to take the match and clinch the Commodores seventh victory.
"It's been awhile since we have played a match," said Falk. "It was good to get out there and get a great match. It was great to work out the rustiness from not playing in a few weeks."
Fellow Commodore senior Menees quickly followed her counterpart to the locker room with a three set triumph over Rice's Dao. Menees dropped a hard fought first set 6-3, but battled back to take the second stanza in a tiebreak. The pair faced off in a super-tiebreaker that Menees refused to surrender, claiming it for the Dores, 10-6.
At the third position, Rice's Chong grabbed the first set from VU's Bertrand, 6-4. Bertrand then took the second 6-4 to set up the decisive third. In the third, Chong outlasted Bertrand 6-2 to give the Owls their first point of the day.
The sixth Commodore point on Saturday came by way of VU's Ferrell. The Dore freshman garnered her seventh win of 2005 with a straight-set victory, 6-4, 6-4.
"Rice is vastly improved," said Macdonald. "They are a top-25 team. We hung on and played well through some difficult matches."
With the win, Coach Geoff Macdonald's Commodores move to 7-1 in 2005.
Next up for VU is a date with MTSU this Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at the Currey Tennis Center.
"We were a Final Four team last year and our MTSU match was 4-3. They are always a great match for us," said Macdonald.
1. DiSesa/Patenaude (R) def. Falk/Menees (VU), 8-4
2. Bertrand/Fish (VU) def. Chong/Karas (R), 8-4
3. Ferrell/Taylor (VU) def. Dao/Egic (R), 8-4
1. Audra Falk (VU) def. Blair DiSesa (R), 6-2, 7-6 (7)*
2. Amanda Fish (VU) def. Kimberley Patenaude (R), 6-1, 6-3
3. Tracie Chong (R) def. Taka Bertrand (VU), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
4. Amanda Taylor (VU) def. Dominique Karas (R), 7-5, 6-1
5. Annie Menees (VU) def. Christine Dao (R), 3-6, 7-6 (4), 10-6+
6. Caroline Ferrell (VU) def. Medeja Egic (R), 6-4, 6-4
+ - super tiebreaker