Women’s Tennis: Vanderbilt ‘hungry to play’ after sweep of Memphis

Hear from Coach Aleke Tsoubanos on Vanderbilt women’s tennis’ impressive start to the spring season.

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Emma Kurtz serves in Vanderbilt’s early-season victory over Memphis. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Andy Carr, Staff Writer

Vanderbilt’s women’s tennis team kept its hot streak going, as it defeated Memphis 6-1 last weekend to start the season 3-0.

The No. 2 duo of Anna Ross and Holly Staff led the way with a 6-1 victory to start the day. Vanderbilt’s other victories this season have come from defeating both Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State 7-0.

After the victory over Memphis, Coach Aleke Tsoubanos was happy with her team’s performance but focused on what’s next.

“It’s always nice to get in the win column,” she said. “Right now, we’re focused on getting back into the groove of things. It was such a long break and match play has been hard to come by. Wins are great, but we’re trying to pace ourselves and focus on an earlier-than-usual SEC schedule this season.”

And Coach Tsoubanos knew exactly what to contribute to the team’s early success.

“We’re hungry to play,” she said. “The team is competitive and eager to get back out there. We got Miami coming up, who we have a lot of respect for. It’s a storied program and an early test. We’re planning on fighting tooth and nail this weekend.”

On Jan. 30 the Hurricanes come to Nashville to face the Commodores. Vanderbilt starts conference play when LSU comes to Nashville on Feb. 18.

Coach Tsoubanos acknowledged the challenges of playing during a pandemic:

“Our team is a cohesive group that is very close—a challenge so far has been keeping them away from each other because they like spending time together,” she said.“We have a bit of a different non conference schedule that’s more regional with teams from Tennessee and Western Kentucky, so that has also been something we’ve had to adjust to.” 

After the Jan. 30 match against the University of Miami, the Commodores host three-straight nearby opponents: Lipscomb, East Tennessee State and Louisville. 

Although the team is pleased with its start to the season, there is a long way to go, as the SEC tournament does not begin until April 19, and the NCAA tournament is not held until mid-May.

Coach Tsoubanos summarized her focus going forward:

“The team works to get better and the players add to their games. For us, it’s more about the process than the result, and kids buy into that. We worry about work ethic, and we’re trying to stay focused for the later months of conference play.”