Vanderbilt women's tennis advances in NCAA

NASHVILLE- The Vanderbilt women's tennis team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Currey Tennis Center in the second round of the NCAA Women's Team Tennis Championship. With the victory Vanderbilt advances to a Sweet 16 match with #5 Baylor on May 18 in Stanford, California.

"The doubles point was the key because Georgia's really good in the singles, especially in the middle of the lineup at 3, 4, and 5," said Coach Geoff Macdonald after the match.

The 'Dores and Dawgs split the first two doubles contests, with Amanda Fish and Taka Bertrand winning at #1 doubles 8-4, and Amanda Taylor and Caroline Ferrell falling in #2 doubles 8-6.

In the meantime, in #3 doubles, Liberty Sveke and Courtney Ulery fell behind 7-3, and it looked as though Georgia would take the doubles point. But Sveke and Ulery staged a dramatic comeback to tie the match at 8-8. They then won the tiebreaker to give the Commodores the 1-0 lead going into singles play.

In singles competition, Vanderbilt won two of the matches in fairly short order. Bertrand at #2 decisively defeated Evgenia Subbotina 6-1, 6-1, amd Maggie Yahner at #6 won over Sara Lett 6-2, 6-3. Georgia, on the other hand, took #4 as Kelley Hyndman defeated Courtney Ulery 6-3 6-0.

With the score 3-1 and three singles matches still in progress, Vanderbilt had to win at least one of them to win the contest. Both Amanda Taylor #3 and Caroline Ferrell at #5 had lost their first sets to the Bulldogs, and Amanda Fish at #1 had to fight tooth and nail to win her first set 7-5 over Natalie Frazier.

Fish, who is not only the #1 singles player but also the only upperclassman on the team, stepped up to the challenge and battled to win the second set 6-3, clinching the victory for the Commodores.

"Amanda Fish's win at 1 was a prize fight," Macdonald said. "Two great players going head to head and she just came through.

"Its so much pressure to have everybody here watching and to just take that moment and seize it says a lot about her."

With the victory, Vanderbilt moves on to Stanford, California, where all the remaining rounds of the tournament will be held. The Round of 16 will be played on Thursday, May 18. Quarterfinals follow on May 19, then semifinals on May 21 and the national championship on May 22.

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Left to right: Amanda Fish, Maggie Yahner, Liberty Sveke, Courtney Ullery, Taka Bertrand, Amanda Taylor, Caroline Ferrell. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

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Photos copyright 2006 by Whitney D for

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