The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Women’s Tennis: Vanderbilt starts off 2-0 with home dual victories against MTSU and Northwestern

The Commodores won 10 out of 12 singles and five out of six doubles matches over the weekend against the two teams.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt’s women’s tennis team huddles during a match. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

After a solid tournament performance in Miami, the Commodores returned to Nashville this past weekend to compete in a pair of dual matches played indoors at the Currey Tennis Center. Vanderbilt dominated Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) 7-0 on Friday and fought through tight matches on Sunday to beat Northwestern 5-2.

In Vanderbilt’s first dual match of the season, the Commodores started the year off on a strong foot with a commanding performance against MTSU, winning all six singles and all three doubles matches. The Blue Raiders traveled about 40 miles up the road to play on Friday but left completely empty-handed as the Commodores defended home court and gained all seven points up for grabs in the match.

Junior Anna Ross and sophomore Anessa Lee teamed up to triumph over the top MTSU pair 6-3.  The second doubles team, junior Marcella Cruz and freshman Amy Stevens, similarly won 6-2. Graduate students Yufei Long and MaryAnn Rompf rounded out the doubles sweep with a 6-4 victory, and Vanderbilt received the doubles point to start the match.

The Commodores continued their success into singles, impressively winning all six matches in straight sets. Ross, Long, Cruz and junior Dasha Kourkina rolled over their opponents easily; none gave more than two games to their competitors in either set. Lee and Stevens, however, overcame obstacles on their way to winning their closer matches. Notably, Lee came back from down 2-5 to win the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7). Head coach Aleke Tsoubanos praised Lee for her resilience, noting that she was not surprised with her comeback ability.

“[Lee] was able to not get down on herself and weather the storm, and that’s what I love about her: she’s incredibly reliable,” Tsoubanos told The Hustler. “It doesn’t matter what the score is in the match—if she’s up, if she’s down—she’s going to keep composed and keep a clear mind, and she’s going to compete every point. That’s invaluable to a team in a dual setting.”

Vanderbilt continued its success on Sunday with a gritty win over Northwestern 5-2. Tsoubanos recognized the Wildcats’ competitiveness, coaching and hitting abilities, and was thrilled with her team’s performance against a team she described as ‘dangerous’ when playing indoors.

“I was really pleased to see the way that we came out and just fought on all of the courts,” Tsoubanos said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win and pulled out some really close matches.”

Vanderbilt started the afternoon winning two out of the three doubles matches. Ross and sophomore Holly Staff took care of business easily, 6-1, as did Lee and Long, 6-2. Cruz and Stevens dropped their doubles match 6-4, but the Commodores picked up the doubles point nonetheless.

Singles play initially seemed bleak as four Commodores lost their first set, and Kourkina was down two service breaks (1-5) in the first set before winning six games in a row to win the initial frame 7-5. Lee and Long rebounded in their matches, each scoring a perfect 6-0 second set and both taking the third set 6-4. Those two come-from-behind wins decided the match and left Kourkina to win her second set 7-5 with the match winner already decided.

Playing in the No. 1 position, Ross commanded the court and imposed her will upon Northwestern’s best player, winning 6-1, 6-3. She and Kourkina finished the weekend without dropping a set. Tsoubanos spoke to her team’s progress early in the spring season and expectations going forward.

“I’ve learned we have a pretty resilient team—a really good solid group of kids that’s slowly getting better,” Tsoubanos said. “I’ve told the team that the goal is to try to get one percent better everyday with an eye on the postseason, getting in really great shape and playing form as we get into SEC play and to the end of the year.”

Next up on the Commodores’ schedule is the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Berkeley, California. Vanderbilt is set to face San Diego on Jan. 28 and will play either BYU or California the next day.

Leave a comment
About the Contributor
Matthew Shipley
Matthew Shipley, Former Senior Staff Writer
Matthew Shipley (‘25) is from Hendersonville, Tenn., and is majoring in economics, mathematics and political science and minoring in data science. He enjoys closely following the U.S. Supreme Court, playing basketball and being involved in his faith community. He can be reached at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments