Women’s Tennis: Vanderbilt excels at June Stewart Invitational

Vanderbilt women’s tennis had a strong showing at the June Stewart Invitational last weekend.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Célia-Belle Mohr focuses on a shot at the June Stewart Invitational. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

Following a successful showing at the Debbie Southern Furman Fall Invitational, the Vanderbilt Commodore women’s tennis team had another strong performance this weekend at the June Stewart Invitational, notching 14 singles wins and 8 doubles wins.

The three-day tournament was played from Oct. 7-9 at Vanderbilt’s Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The Commodores competed against Missouri, Purdue, Illinois and Middle Tennessee in the tournament.

All-in-all, [I] thought it was a really solid weekend for us,” head coach Aleke Tsoubanos said. “We got a lot of really nice results, and I thought we competed really well as a group. I was very pleased with how we supported each other off the court and showed some really good spirit.”

Vanderbilt started the invitational in dominant fashion, winning all three doubles matches. The Commodores had two doubles wins against Illinois and one doubles win against Middle Tennessee. Vanderbilt was also successful in singles, thanks to having five straight-set wins over Purdue. Célia-Belle Mohr, Bridget Stammel, Sonya Macavei, Marcella Cruz and Anessa Lee all won their individual matches on Friday.

The Commodores kept their foot on the gas on Saturday, winning all five of their singles matches against Illinois. Freshman star Macavei defeated Illinois’s Megan Heuser in a three-set battle (6-2, 4-6, 10-5), and Stammell, Lee, Cruz and Kourkina won their matches handily in straight sets. The Commodores also won two of their three doubles matches, including a spectacular win from the duo of Stammell and Cruz. Stammell and Cruz won, 7-6 (7-1), over Missouri’s Gabriela Marinez and Koral Koldobski. 

Vanderbilt’s last day of competition was monumental for Tsoubanos’s program. On Sunday, the Commodores went 3-0 in doubles against Purdue and excelled on the singles courts. In singles competition, Vanderbilt’s Belle-Mohr, Stammel, Macavei and Cruz won their matches in straight sets. Although junior Holly Staff and senior Kourkina each forced their opponents to three-set matches, the upperclassmen were unable to win their matches. 

Over the weekend, the Commodores imposed their will and showed a great level of consistency. Tsoubanos said she is proud of the way her team played this weekend, but that the Commodores need to shift their focus to their future matches.

The team will return to action on Oct. 20, when they will travel to Knoxville to compete at ITA Regional Championships.

“We’ll take a few days to recover and rejuvenate before we get ready for ITA Regionals in Knoxville,” Tsoubanos said. “We plan on everyone competing there. I’m excited to see if we can build on the momentum we created this weekend.”