Dores roll into finals, face top-seeded Gators

NASHVILLE-– Second-seeded Vanderbilt advanced to the championship match of the 2004 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Tournament with a 4-0 victory over sixth-seeded Kentucky at the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center Saturday. The Commodores (22-2, 10-1 SEC) will face top-seeded Florida, a 4-1 winner over fifth-seeded LSU, on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

NASHVILLE-– Second-seeded Vanderbilt advanced to the championship match of the 2004 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Tournament with a 4-0 victory over sixth-seeded Kentucky at the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center Saturday.

The Commodores (22-2, 10-1 SEC) will face top-seeded Florida, a 4-1 winner over fifth-seeded LSU, on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

"I thought our team played very focused and disciplined tennis today," VU Head Coach Geoff Macdonald. "They were inspired to take another step in the SEC Tournament."

Vanderbilt defeated Kentucky for the second time in eight days, following up a 5-2 regular season victory on Saturday, April 10. The Commodores moved their record at the Currey Tennis Center to 14-0 this season and have not lost a match at home since March of 2002.

Doubles depth gave the Commodores an early 1-0 lead, as the Dores won matches on lines two and three. Juniors Audra Falk and Annie Menees struck the first blow at second doubles, defeating Wildcats Kim Coventry and Lara Maurer, 8-4.

At third doubles, VU sophomore Ashley Schellhas teamed up with freshman Amanda Fish for an 8-6 victory over Kentucky's Caroline Winebrenner and Joelle Schwenk. The Commodores, now 20-0 when winning the doubles point, moved to singles with momentum on their side.

Vanderbilt continued to pressure Kentucky in singles action, winning four first sets. Fish gave the Dores a 2-0 advantage when she finished a 6-3, 6-1 win over Maurer at fourth singles.

Only minutes later, Schellhas concluded a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Coventry at fifth singles to give Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead. The match concluded when 14th-ranked Falk defeated 19th-ranked Aibika Kalsarieva, 6-4, 6-2, at first singles.

"Kentucky played a great tournament," Macdonald said. "We really respect them. They fought well and this was a good SEC tennis match throughout. I really thought that winning the doubles point again turned out to be huge."

The victory gives VU a second chance at top-seeded Florida, a team which beat the Dores, 6-1, in early March. The Gators finished the regular season with an unblemished 19-0 record (11-0 SEC) and a No. 2 national ranking. The Commodores, second in the SEC Eastern Division, are ranked No. 3 in the ITA's latest national poll.

The last time the Commodores faced Florida in Nashville, Vanderbilt came away with a 4-3 victory over the then-No. 1 Gators.

Doubles play for Sunday's match will begin at 1 p.m. CT, with singles to follow. Admission is free for students of any SEC school, while tickets for the match will be available for $7 to the general public (children 12 and under admitted free).

#2 Vanderbilt def. #6 Kentucky, 4-0

Doubles
1. Foster/Kalsarieva (UK) led Tsoubanos/Schmandt (VU), 6-3 susp.
2. Falk/Menees (VU) def. Coventry/Maurer (UK), 8-4
3. Schellhas/Fish (VU) def. Winebrenner/Schwenk (UK), 8-6
Order of finish: 2, 3*
 
Singles
1. Audra Falk (VU) def. Aibika Kalserieva (UK), 6-4, 6-2
2. Sarah Foster (UK) led  Kelly Schmandt (VU), 6-3, 3-2 susp.
3. Aleke Tsoubanos (VU) led Joelle Schwenk (UK), 6-4, 1-2 susp.
4. Amanda Fish (VU) def. Lara Maurer (UK), 6-3, 6-1
5. Ashley Schellhas (VU) def. Kim Coventry (UK), 6-3, 6-2
6. Christine Simpson (UK) led Annie Meenes (VU), 6-3, 3-3 susp.
Order of finish: 4, 5, 1*

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