Women’s Tennis Prepares for 2003 Dual Match Opener 1/8/03
Commodores look for ninth-consecutive trip to NCAA Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt women’s 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 Tennis Center.

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 Vanderbilt’s 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.

Senior 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 State’s 13 players are either freshmen or sophomores. Four of Bauer’s top six from last year’s match against Vanderbilt return this season.

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 men’s 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 year’s struggles. Davis returns all five singles competitors from last season’s match against Vanderbilt.




Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
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