NCAA Tournament Round of 16
Tennessee Recap

Schmandt Leads Commodores into NCAA Final Eight; 'Dores Shock Tennessee, 4-3 5/15/03
Junior wins decisive match at No. 3 singles

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 10th-seeded Vanderbilt women’s tennis team (21-5) came up with its best when it mattered the most, as the Commodores upset the seventh-seeded Lady Volunteers of Tennessee (22-7), 4-3, in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 on the Varsity Courts of the Ring Tennis Complex. The Commodores had dropped their previous three matches to the Lady Volunteers, including a loss in last year’s Sweet 16.

The Commodores will now take on Florida, who defeated Arizona State earlier in the afternoon, at 10 a.m. Friday. Vanderbilt defeated Florida back on March 16 in Nashville, 4-3. The victory gave the Commodores their first win over the Gators in 28 attempts.

The star of the Tennessee match was junior Kelly Schmandt (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who gutted out a three-set marathon with 51st-ranked Crystal Cleveland at the No. 3 position, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4. After splitting the first two sets, both players battled back-and-forth in the third. Schmandt’s break finally came in the ninth game of the set, as she was able to break Cleveland’s serve and take a 5-4 lead. With all the pressure on Schmandt to hold her serve, she was able to grind out a long game and win the match. Schmandt improves to 23-4 in singles matches this year. Cleveland had been a perfect 11-0 in SEC dual matches this season prior to her loss on Thursday.

"I had a feeling the match would come down to our court," Schmandt said. "We went for two hours at SECs. I knew it would be a battle. In the first set I thought I played flawless and didnŐt make any mistakes. In the second set I was tired and began to play a little flat. The third set was a battle to string points together. By the last one I thought I was going to fall over. "

Vanderbilt’s third-ranked team of senior Sarah Riske (McMurray, Pa.) and junior Aleke Tsoubanos (Chesterfield, Mo.) got things going at the No. 1 position, as they defeated the fifth-ranked team of Vilmarie Castellvi and Melissa Schaub, 8-3. It is Riske and Tsoubanos’ second straight win over Tennessee’s top doubles duo. The win also gives them their 30th doubles victory of the 2002-03 season.

The Lady Volunteers rebounded at No. 2 doubles, as Crystal Cleveland and Sabita Maharaj defeated Vanderbilt’s 37th-ranked team of Schmandt and sophomore Audra Falk (Cincinnati, Ohio), 8-6.

The decisive match pitted Vanderbilt junior Kori Scott (Houston, Texas) and sophomore Annie Menees (St. Louis, Mo.) against Tammy Encina and Breanna Kray. Scott and Menees surged out to a 7-4 lead in the pro-set, but had to hold off a late charge by the Tennessee duo to win the match and the point, 8-6.

The Lady Volunteers evened the team score up a 1-1 when the top-ranked Castellvi defeated the 17th-ranked Riske in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. This is the third time Castellvi has defeated Riske in 2003. Castellvi improved her dual-match to 24-1, while Riske falls to 19-6.

The Commodores regained the advantage when Falk scored a straight-set victory over Schaub at the No. 4 position, 6-3, 6-3. Falk has now defeated Schaub twice in the last month, as the other win came in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Falk has now amassed an 24-4 overall record in 2002-03. She has also compiled a 45-9 singles record over her first two seasons at Vanderbilt.

Tennessee bounced right back at the No. 2 position, as the 57th-ranked Encina scored a straight-set win against the 80th-ranked Tsoubanos, 6-4, 6-2. For Encina, it is her second time in the last month to defeat Tsoubanos. Tsoubanos is now 18-5 in dual matches in 2003.

At the No. 5 position, Vanderbilt freshman Ashley Schellhas (Edina, Minn.), who has been one of the biggest surprises this season for the Commodores, battled by Sabita Majarah in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Schellhas is now 26-4 for the 2002-03 season, which includes an 18-2 dual-match record.

The Lady Volunteers knotted the team score up at 3-3, when Ashley Robards battled back from one set down to Menees at No. 6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.


Vanderbilt Tennessee Winner Score
Sarah Riske (#17) Vilmarie Castellvi (#1) UT 6-1, 6-2
Aleke Tsoubanos (#80) Tammy Encina (#59) UT 6-4, 6-2
Kelly Schmandt Crystal Cleveland (#51) VU 6-0, 3-6, 6-4
Audra Falk Melissa Schaub VU 6-3, 6-3
Ashley Schellhas (#122) Sabita Majarah VU 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Annie Menees Ashley Robards UT 4-6, 6-1, 6-2


Vanderbilt Tennessee Winner Score
Riske/Tsoubanos (#3) Castellvi/Schaub (UT) VU 8-3
Schmandt/Falk (#37) Cleveland/Majarah UT 8-6
Menees/Scott Encina/Bray VU 8-6





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