WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –The Vanderbilt women’s team is officially back in the NCAA National Championship match.
In the grittiest match of NCAA play, top-seeded Vanderbilt defeated fourth-seeded/No. 4 Georgia Tech, 4-2, in NCAA semifinal play at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex to seal their place once again in the Vanderbilt women’s tennis history books.
Vanderbilt will face the 15th-seeded Stanford Cardinal on Tuesday at 12 p.m. CT in the Commodores’ third NCAA finale. Vanderbilt is 1-1 when attempting to clinch a national title, defeating UCLA 4-2 in Waco, Texas for the 2015 NCAA crown. Vanderbilt’s 2001 runner-up finish came against the Cardinal, as Stanford walked away with the 4-0 win.
The Commodores defeated Stanford this past February at home in regular season play. The Dores handed the then-No. 1 Cardinal their first 7-0 sweep as far as results date.
Monday’s fourth-straight Final Four appearance began with the Dores taking a closely contested doubles point over Georgia Tech.
No. 69 Emma Kurtz/Emily Smith earned an upset victory at No. 2 doubles to begin the day. Undefeated in NCAA play, the Dore duo held on to a 4-2 lead over Tech’s No. 48 Ida Jarlskog and Victoria Flores to cement a 6-3 victory.
Down 3-4, Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer took three games in a row to secure what turned out a hugely important doubles point. The tandem put Thursday’s doubles loss behind them, clinching the one-point team lead with a 6-4 victory over Johnnise Renaud and Nami Otsuka.
The Commodores headed into singles with quiet confidence, taking the four first sets over the Ramblin’ Wreck.
No. 11 Sharma was first off the court in singles action for the black and gold. The Aussie handled business in a top-25 showdown on court one, defeating GT’s No. 14 Hourigan in straight sets. The Aussie flew through her first set 6-0, and allowed her opponent just six games in the match, 6-0, 6-3. The singles victory was Sharma’s 110th of her career (110-31) and 14th NCAA victory (14-1).
Vanderbilt suffered its first loss of NCAA play on court five as Otsuka defeated Kurtz 6-1, 6-3.
Following the loss, No. 10 Contreras ensured VU the 3-1 lead. Up 5-1 in the first set, the junior put the set away, 6-4, on court two and cemented the straight set victory against 60th-ranked Jones, 6-4, 6-4. The victory tied Vanderbilt’s single-season win record with 39 wins. The win was also Contreras’ 100th Commodore victory.
Up 3-1, No. 125 Jarlskog chipped away at the VU lead, downing Meyer in a close 6-2, 6-4 competition on court four. The loss broke a five-match winning streak for the freshman out of Delray Beach, Fla.
Leading 3-2, momentum shifted for the Commodore camp as Summer Dvorak dropped her second set on court six against Flores and Rosca by taking a 7-6(6) second set tiebreaker to force a third set on court three.
Following the powerful tiebreak victory, the 44th-ranked Rosca displayed laser focus in her third and final set against Renaud, amassing a 5-1 lead. Over on court six, Dvorak owned a 5-1 lead of her own. It was a race for the clinch.
With both opponents up 5-1, Rosca’s opponent earned her second game of the set. Crowds then ran to court six, hoping to watch Dvorak clinch. However Tech’s Flores also earned her second game. Back to court three crowds went, where Rosca was determined to put the match away.
With fans, friends and family all watching the sophomore from Princeton, N.J. clinched Vanderbilt’s spot in the NCAA Tournament finals, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3.
Tomorrow’s NCAA championship can be followed on NCAA.com, from a multi-camera webcast. WATCH
Note to the fans:
Vanderbilt Athletics is hosting a 12 p.m. viewing party in the Football Team Room located inside the McGugin Center. We encourage fans to begin arriving at 11:30 a.m. CT. Pizza, drinks and amazing tennis will be provided.
1. #11 Astra Sharma/Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) vs. #1 Paige Hourigan/Kenya Jones (GEORGIA TECH) 5-5, unf.
2. #69 Emma Kurtz/Emily Smith (VANDERBILT) def. #48 Ida Jarlskog/Victoria Flores (GEORGIA TECH) 6-3
3. Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer (VANDERBILT) def. Johnnise Renaud/Nami Otsuka (GEORGIA TECH) 6-4
1. #11 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #14 Paige Hourigan (GEORGIA TECH) 6-0, 6-3
2. #10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDERBILT) def. #60 Kenya Jones (GEORGIA TECH) 6-4, 6-4
3. #44 Christina Rosca (VANDERBILT) def. Johnnise Renaud (GEORGIA TECH) 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-3
4 #125 Ida Jarlskog (GEORGIA TECH) def. Amanda Meyer (VANDERBILT) 6-2, 6-4
5. Nami Otsuka (GEORGIA TECH) def. Emma Kurtz (VANDERBILT) 6-1, 6-3
6. Summer Dvorak (VANDERBILT) vs. Victoria Flores (GEORGIA TECH) 6-2, 7-5, 5-2, unf.
Doubles: (2,3) Singles (1,5,2,4,3)