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NCAA Second Round
Pepperdine Recap
W, 4-2

Men's Tennis Comes Back to Defeat Pepperdine in NCAA Second Round 5/11/03
Commodores will now square off with Texas A&M in Sweet 16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The sixth-ranked Vanderbilt men's tennis team's miracle run in 2003 will live to see another day, as the Commodores battled back to defeat an extremely talented team in Pepperdine, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Brownlee O. Currey Tennis Center.

"This win was big," Vanderbilt head coach Ken Flach said. "Winning the SEC Championships was awesome, but the NCAAs and postseason is what it's all about. If we would have lost today, I think this season would have been somewhat of a disappointment. I've been stressing to this team that they are good enough to win, and go to the Sweet 16. I'm elated and just thrilled for this team."

This was the first time the Commodores have advanced past the second round of the tournament. Vanderbilt will now have a showdown with 10th-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday, May 17, at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The NCAA has not released times for the eight third round matches. Check back to VUCommodores.com for further updates.

The hero of Sunday's match was junior Bobby Reynolds. With the Commodores leading the team score 3-2 and junior Chad Harris trailing at the No. 2 singles position, Reynolds battled back from a break of serve down in the third set to Calle Hansen to give the Commodores the victory.

Reynolds came out quickly to start the match, as he won the first set, 6-1. He broke Hansen in the first game of the second set and seemed to be in the driver seat, but Hansen would not fold. Hansen was able to break back in the next game and still another break later on to take the second set, 6-3. Hansen carried the momentum into the final set and was able to race out to a 4-2 lead. After cutting the deficit to 4-3, Reynolds dug down deep to finally break back and get the match back on serve. With all the momentum on his side, Reynolds won the next two games and the match.

"Bobby was huge, just huge," Flach said. "He dug down and played great when we really needed him. It's amazing how much heart he has. He was down a break in the third (set) and know his team needed him. He simply put us on his neck, like he has all year."

Prior to the start of singles, the Commodores set the early tone in doubles for what was to be an incredible dual match. Vanderbilt won its 22nd doubles point of the year, as the Commodores scored victories at No. 1 and No. 3. Juniors Zach Dailey and Lewie continued their outstanding play at No. 3, as they defeated Alexis Rafidison and Kevin Borzenski, 8-4. The point was wrapped up when Reynolds and sophomore Scott Brown defeated Hansen and Diego Acuna, 8-3.

With the early momentum on the Commodores' side, Pepperdine would not go away. The Waves picked up two quick wins at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions to take a 2-1 lead in the team score. Acuna used an incredible baseline game to defeat Vanderbilt sophomore Matt Lockin, 6-3, 6-1. Their other win would come from Scott Doerner, as he defeated Brown, 6-2, 6-0.

"For a moment there, I thought it was our match," Pepperdine head coach Adam Steinberg said. "We played hard, about as good as we could."

With Vanderbilt's back against the wall, Smith continued his dominance at the No. 6 position. He defeated Borzenski in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to pick his 26th singles victory of the year.

Dailey would give the Commodores a 3-2 advantage by defeating Rafidison in a lopsided three-set match, 6-2, 0-6, 6-0. With the win, he is now 21-3 in dual matches this season.

Singles

Vanderbilt Pepperdine Winner Score
Bobby Reynolds Calle Hansen VU 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Chad Harris Pedro Rico DNF 7-6 (9), 5-4 (PU Led)
Matt Lockin Diego Acuna PU 6-3, 6-1
Scott Brown Scott Doerner PU 6-2, 6-0
Zach Dailey Alexis Rafidison VU 6-2, 0-6, 6-0
Lewie Smith Kevin Borzenski VU 6-3, 6-2

Doubles

Vanderbilt Pepperdine Winner Score
Reynolds/Brownb Hansen/Acuna VU 8-3
Harris/Lockin Rico/Doerner DNF 7-5 (PU Led)
Dailey/Smith Rafidison/Borzenski VU 8-4

Quotes

Pepperdine Head Coach Adam Steinberg

"I'm very disappointed in the loss, but not the effort. Our guys played great tennis against a terrific Vanderbilt team."

"The spectators saw great college tennis today. For my guys to come into this environment and have a chance win this match was thrilling. We played hard, but it simply wasn't meant to be."

"For a moment there, I thought it was our match. We played hard, about as good as we could."

"I'm disappointed, but we learned a lot today. Like Vanderbilt, we have a young team, with everybody coming back. Maybe we will be back in this position next season."

Vanderbilt Head Coach Ken Flach

"What an exciting, awesome match. It was a just a great match between two teams that wanted to win."

"This was just a total team effort. It's been that way the whole season, one guy picking up another guy. We are just a scrappy bunch that has defied all the odds and never backed down. We kept thinking we would find a way to win. In the end, we did."

"Bobby (Reynolds) was huge, just huge. He dug down and played great when we really needed him. It's amazing how much heart he has. He was down a break in the third (set) and know his team needed him. He simply put us on his neck, like he has all year."

"This win was big. Winning the SEC Championships was awesome, but the NCAAs and postseason is what it's all about. If we would have lost today, I think this season would have been somewhat of a disappointment. I've been stressing to this team that they are good enough to win, and go to the Sweet 16. I'm elated and just thrilled for this team."

 

 







 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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