The Vanderbilt women’s tennis team bounced back from a disappointing 5-2 loss against North Carolina to beat the No. 12-ranked Northwestern Wildcats 5-2 on Sunday Feb. 3.
Despite the convincing score line, the match got off to a rocky start for the Commodores. After Vanderbilt and Northwestern split the first two lines of doubles, Vanderbilt’s line three pair of Georgia Drummy and Emma Kurtz could not hold on to a single break 4-3 lead and lost to Northwestern’s Rheeya Doshi and Caroline Pozo 6-4. For the third match in a row, the Commodores found themselves trailing 0-1.
However, the Wildcats’ momentum proved to be fleeting.
In just under thirty minutes, Vanderbilt’s Carolyn Campana concluded a dominant performance against Inci Ogut to win 6-0, 6-0 at line four.
Meanwhile, on court one, the Commodores’ Fernanda Contreras brushed off an early 0-2 deficit to roar back against the Wildcats’ Clarissa Hand and win 6-2, 6-0.
While the first two singles matches suggested that the Commodores may be pulling away, Northwestern refused to go down without a fight, as the next three matches were each decided in third sets.
After being broken four times and losing the first set 4-6, Emily Smith, who played line five singles instead of her usual line six for the Commodores, won the second set 6-1 and used her aggressive gameplay to trounce Doshi 6-0 in the deciding set and to give Vanderbilt a 3-1 lead in the match.
One point away from an impressive victory against the No.12-ranked team in the nation, the Commodores rose to the occasion.
Vanderbilt’s Christina Rosca, who was locked in a third set battle against Northwestern’s Julie Byrne at line two, bounced back from an unforced error-ridden second set to cruise to a 6-2 victory in the deciding set and to clinch the match for the Commodores.
With the match already secured, Drummy added icing to the cake as she topped Lee Or to win 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 at line three.
The Commodores’ matches against North Carolina and Northwestern should give the team a sense of the level of play that they will face in the upcoming ITA National Team Indoors Championships, and coach Geoff Macdonald believes that the victory today should instill a sense of confidence going forward.
“We were in some trouble on a lot of courts today, and they’re a great team, so we view this as a quality win,” said Macdonald.
Vanderbilt’s next match will take place at the ITA National Team Indoors in Seattle, WA, which will start on Feb. 8.