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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.

Women’s Tennis: Vanderbilt narrowly defeats Northwestern

Bridget Stammel delivered the Commodores to victory in a match that was narrow from start to finish.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt defeats Northwestern 4-2 on Feb. 11. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The No. 22 Vanderbilt Commodores improved to 4-2 on the season on Sunday when they defeated Northwestern (4-3) in their second home match of the season. After taking the opening doubles point, the Commodores had to fight down to the wire to seal the match against the Wildcats, ultimately triumphing 4-2.

“Overall, that was an incredible team win,” head coach Aleke Tsoubanos said. “I was telling the team after [the match] we should feel really good about that win.”

Vanderbilt rushed out to an early lead in the doubles matches as the No. 17 duo of Celia-Belle Mohr and Anessa Lee quickly disposed of Justine Leong and Elisa Van Meetren by a score of 6-1. Despite the quick leg up, the doubles point came down to the wire as both remaining courts read scores of 5-4.

As Holly Staff and Sonya Macavei stared into the jaws of defeat trailing 40-0 with a match score of 5-4, Bridget Stammel and Valeria Ray launched a furious comeback from down 30-0 on court 2. The Commodore pair brought the total to 40-30 before conceding another score, but they triumphed on the match-deciding point to win 6-4 and give Vanderbilt the two match wins necessary to claim the doubles point.

With the tie-breaking point in tow, Vanderbilt entered the singles matches only needing to win three of the six matches. The path to victory narrowed quickly. After falling 6-1 in the opening set, No. 17 Mohr retired from the match against Leong, conceding a team point to Northwestern.

“She’s not feeling well,” Tsoubanos said. “It was hard to see her go off like that, but sometimes those things happen and you have to pull together as a group.”

Vanderbilt regained the lead roughly half an hour later when Staff bested Britany Lau in two quick sets. The senior won four straight games en route to a 6-3 victory in the first set, followed by an even quicker 6-2 dismantling of her opponent. With many of the remaining courts locked in a stalemate, Staff’s win could not have been more timely.

Next breaking through the stalemate was No. 110 Ray, who narrowly defeated fellow freshman Autumn Rabjohns 6-4 and 6-4 in two sets. Ray’s victory put Vanderbilt up 3-1 but in a precarious position as Northwestern led all three remaining matches.

With Sonya Macavei dropping her first set 6-2 and trailing in the second, Vanderbilt’s path to victory would almost certainly require either Lee or Stammel emerging victorious. After a tightly contested first set ended 7-5 in favor of Northwestern, No. 119 Lee narrowly trailed through most of the second set, struggling to fully break through.

No. 23 Stammel appeared at first to be the Commodore most poised to deliver the final team point, but a 6-2 defeat in the second set tied her series at 1-1. Her opponent, graduate Christina Hand, took an early 2-0 lead in the third set that was soon equalized. Lummis Center erupted as Stammel took her first lead of the set after a victory in game 9.

As the tenth game progressed, Vanderbilt suffered a major setback as Lee dropped her match in the ninth game of the second set. With Macavei still trailing, Stammel looked to be perhaps not the Commodores’ best hope, but their only one.

After Hand took an early lead, Stammel bounced back and contested the game down to the wire, tying it 40-40. With the match on the line, Hand faltered by hitting the ball just a hair too light, causing it to be caught by the net. By a margin of 6-4, Stammel would win the third set; and, with it, Vanderbilt would win the match 4-2.

“[Stammel] had a couple points to go ahead … she didn’t get that [but] then she didn’t let that bleed over into the next game,” Tsoubanos said. “She just kind of settled in and it was one point at a time with really simple tennis and really simple decisions. I’m so proud of the way she came through in that moment.”

Vanderbilt will be back in action on Sun. Feb. 25 as they face both Austin Peay and Tennessee State at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville.

Singles Results:

Leong def. Mohr 6-1 (retired)

Shusharina def. Lee 7-5, 6-3

Stammel def. Hand 6-2, 2-6, 6-4

Ray def. Rabjohns 6-4, 6-4

Staff def. Lau 6-3, 6-2

Pratt vs Macavei 6-2, 5-2 (unfinished)
Doubles Results:

Mohr/Lee def. Leong/Van Meetren 6-1

Stammel/Rey def. Hand/Pratt 6-4

Shusharina/Lau vs Staff/Macavei 5-4 (unfinished)

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About the Contributor
Jayce Pollard
Jayce Pollard, Non-revenue Sports Specialist
Jayce Pollard (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy and economics and minoring in data science and Spanish. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can catch Jayce trying to learn the rules of soccer, hating on the Arkansas Razorbacks and being chronically on Twitter. He can be reached at [email protected]
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