Vanderbilt Women’s Tennis clinches spot in ITA National Indoors with win over Oklahoma


Photo by Mattigan Kelly

Ryan Suddath

The Vanderbilt women’s tennis team clinched the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-Off championship with a 4-3 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday afternoon.

Despite their underdog status coming into the match, the unranked Sooners proved to be a formidable test for the second-ranked Commodores.

Vanderbilt and Oklahoma traded narrow victories in the first two doubles matches. While the Commodores’ line one duo of Emily Smith and Fernanda Contreras fell to Jasmine Asghar and Ivana Corley of Oklahoma 5-7, Vanderbilt’s Christina Rosca and Summer Dvorak fought back from a 0-4 deficit to beat Martina Capurro and Camila Romero 7-5 at line two. In the deciding match for the doubles point, Emma Kurtz and Georgia Drummy saved four match points for the ‘Dores but ultimately fell to Kianah Motosono and Oleksandra Karashvili 6-7 (6-8).

The Sooners’ unexpected ambush continued into the singles matches. At line four, Asghar swiftly defeated Vanderbilt’s Carolyn Campana 6-0, 6-2.

“The player at four, against Carolyn Campana, played lights-out,” said Vanderbilt head coach Geoff Macdonald. “She was just taking over the point and hitting winners repeatedly.”

Facing adversity, the Commodores showed their character. Shortly after Campana’s match finished, Drummy fought back from being down a break in the second set and beat Oklahoma’s Camila Romero 6-3, 6-4.

On court one, Contreras showed similar resiliency in her 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) victory against Capurro. Despite failing to convert two opportunities at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set to close out the match on her serve, Contreras maintained her composure, saved a set point, and finished Capurro off with an overhead smash to secure the second set tiebreak.

Having dug out of a 0-2 deficit and tied the score 2-2, the Sooners’ upset bid seemed to be fading. However, Oklahoma’s Karashvili responded with a hard-fought victory over Rosca 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 at line two.

With a 3-2 lead, Oklahoma was one victory away from a stunning upset over the No. 2-ranked Commodores, but Vanderbilt seniors Dvorak and Smith remained unfazed at lines five and six, respectively.

Dvorak methodically counter-punched her way to an impressive 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 defeat of hard-hitting Corley, and with a forehand down the line winner to close the match, Smith beat Motosono 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the championship for the Commodores.

With the victory, Vanderbilt qualified for the 2019 ITA National Team Indoors Championship in Seattle, WA in February.

“It [the Indoors Championship] is like the NCAAs early,” said Macdonald. “It’s a great learning and toughening experience, and we’re just grateful to have this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt will play its next match on February 2nd against North Carolina at 12:00 PM C.T.