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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.

Vanderbilt Women’s Tennis goes winless at ITA Indoor National Championships

Vanderbilt drops to No. 15 after losing three consecutive matches.
Lily Mae Cochell
Holly Staff versus Louisville, as photographed on Feb. 3, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Lily Mae Cochell)

Last week, the No. 15 ranked Vanderbilt Commodores traveled to Seattle for the annual ITA Indoor National Championship. Vanderbilt clinched a tournament berth on February 3rd alongside 15 of the other top women’s teams in Division I tennis. 

Vanderbilt earned a spot at the tournament after a tremendous undefeated start to the season. The Commodores won their first four matches, including a thrilling upset over No. 3 NC State to rise to No. 8 in the National Rankings. As the 8-seed in the Indoor Championship Tournament, Vanderbilt found themselves matched up against a talented Iowa St. team in the first round. The two teams found themselves in a war of attrition, splitting the first six points. Ultimately, Vanderbilt lost in heartbreaking fashion after Amy Stevens fell in a tiebreaker to wrap up the eighth and final match. Sophomore Celia Belle Mohr (No. 34) won both her singles and doubles matches for the Commodores and Junior Anessa Lee extended her singles win streak to nine in a row. 

After the crushing first-round exit, head coach Aleke Tsoubanos consoled her team and praised the quality of their opponent.

“This was a great college tennis match and ended up being a heartbreaker for us. Hats off to [Iowa St. Coach] Boomer Saiaand his team, they played very well and earned the win today,” Tsoubanos said. 

Although the Commodores were eliminated from championship contention with their loss to Iowa State, they remained in Seattle for two consolation matches to wrap up the weekend. 

Their first consolation match came against Washington, the original 16-seed and host of the tournament. Unfortunately, the Commodores dropped their second consecutive match to the Huskies to move to 4-2 on the season. Anna Ross and Anessa Lee picked up singles wins for the Commodores, but Vanderbilt again lost in the final match after Mohr fell to Hikaru Sato in straight sets. 

While consecutive heartbreaking losses might seem demoralizing, Tsoubanos highlighted the ways that a tough loss can teach resilience and discipline .

“I’m proud of the fight of the team. We’ve been in two third-set tiebreakers and are gaining experience of what these duals are like,” Tsoubanos said. “As a team, we have to be resilient and start to capitalize on early leads with some better discipline and decision making.”

In their third match of the tournament, Vanderbilt’s losing streak grew to three with a difficult loss to Stanford. The Cardinals won two out of three doubles matches to pick up the doubles point, and picked up three singles wins to close out the Commodores. Lee extended her singles record to 11-0, but the team’s overall performance against Stanford was their weakest of the weekend. 

“Tough one again today, but this is the level of tennis we expected all weekend,” Tsoubanos said. “This is a tough tournament, but the experience of playing these matches early in the season will be invaluable to us going forward as we wrap up non-conference play in the next two weekends.”

Although the tournament outcome wasn’t ideal for the Commodores, there are still high expectations for this team as they conclude non-conference play. Vanderbilt faces another tough opponent in No. 19 UCF in their next match as they look to right the ship. 

Vanderbilt will return to play against UCF at 3 p.m. CST on Feb. 17 at the Currey Tennis Pavilion at the Lummis Family Tennis Center.

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About the Contributors
Brandon Karp
Brandon Karp, Senior Staff Writer
Brandon Karp ('25) is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is studying human and organizational development and political science in Peabody College. You can reach him at [email protected].
Lily Mae Cochell
Lily Mae Cochell, Former Staff Photographer
Lily Mae Cochell ('26) is majoring in neuroscience and psychology in the College of Arts and Science. During her free time, Lily Mae loves volunteering with VSVS, going on runs and spending time with her Chi Omega sisters. She can be reached at [email protected].
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