|Womens Tennis Prepares for
2003 Dual Match Opener 1/8/03
Commodores look for ninth-consecutive trip to NCAA Tournament
Tenn. The Vanderbilt womens tennis team will
begin its quest toward a ninth-consecutive appearance in the
NCAA Tournament, as it kicks off the 2003 dual match portion
of its schedule on Sunday morning at the Brownlee O. Currey
The Commodores will take on Michigan State at 9:00 a.m. and
Louisville at around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 12. The
Spartans and Cardinals will compete against each other between
the Commodores two matches.
Vanderbilt competed against both of these teams last season
in Nashville, which ended in decisive 7-0 victories for the
Commodores. Against the Spartans, the Commodores were tested
a little bit more but still surrendered only 26 games in six
singles and three doubles matches. Against the Cardinals,
the Commodores allowed a mere eight games in five singles
and two doubles matches.
Head coach Geoff Macdonald will have a full complement of
players available for Vanderbilts season openers, which
is important because several players dealt with injuries throughout
the fall season. Along with that, the Commodores only have
seven players on their roster, so injuries will be unaffordable
and they contend for a Southeastern Conference championship.
Sarah Riske (McMurray, Pa.), juniors Kelly Schmandt (Santa
Barbara, Calif.) and Aleke Tsoubanos (Chesterfield, Mo.) all
earned Intercollege Tennis Association Southeast Regional
Rankings following the fall season. Riske enters 2003 ranked
No. 8, while Schmandt and Tsoubanos are No. 22 and 23, respectively.
Riske and Tsoubanos also earned a No. 1 Southeast ranking
in doubles, which is mainly attributed to winning the Riviera/ITA
All-American Doubles Championship back in October. The tournament
showcased the top collegiate singles and doubles players from
around the country.
Sophomore Audra Falk (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Ashley
Schellhas (Edina, Minn.) had promising fall seasons for Macdonald.
Falk finished with a 5-0 record, while Schellhas compiled
an 8-1 mark. Both won their respective flights at the annual
June Stewart Invitational.
Michigan State is the first of 18 teams Vanderbilt will take
on this season that finished in the final ITA Top 75 team
rankings of 2002. Under the tutelage of Tim Bauer, Michigan
State will be one of the youngest teams the Commodores will
take on this season. Ten of Michigan States 13 players
are either freshmen or sophomores. Four of Bauers top
six from last years match against Vanderbilt return
Leading the way is sophomore Dora Vastag, who is ranked No.
10 in the ITA Midwest Regional Rankings. Vastag competed at
the No. 1 position last year against the Commodores, which
she lost to Riske, 6-1, 6-1.
Louisville head coach Greg Davis, who is in his first season
with the Cardinals program, has his sites set on getting
the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament. Davis was just named
the 2002 Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year after leading
the Auburn-Montgomery mens team to a national runner-up
finish at the NAIA Team Championship.
The Cardinals are looking to rebound from a difficult 2002,
which they amassed only six victories in 25 dual matches.
With another year of experience, Louisville is poised to improve
on last years struggles. Davis returns all five singles
competitors from last seasons match against Vanderbilt.