CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Vanderbilt women’s tennis season officially came to an end in a third set tiebreak at the NCAA Doubles Championships on Thursday as junior Anna Ross and sophomore Holly Staff dropped a three-set quarterfinal matchup against top-ranked North Carolina State.
Battling with Jaeda Daniel and Nell Miller of NC State, the 37th-ranked Commodore duo split the first two sets by a 6-4 margin before fighting hard in a 10-point tiebreaker to determine a semifinalist.
After leading by two early in the third set, the Commodore pair allowed five-straight points to the No. 1 ranked duo out of NC State, a deficit they could not overcome.
The pair, who reached as high as No. 37 nationally this season, end the 2021-22 year with a 12-5 record, including four wins over nationally-ranked opponents. Ross and Staff, who earned All-American honors following a Round of 16 victory over eighth-ranked Old Dominion on Wednesday, became just the ninth doubles team in Commodore history to earn the honor.
Close First Set
- NC State took the opening game Thursday afternoon as Ross and Staff battled hard with a series of long rallies on the first serves of the day.
- After the Wolfpack pair jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the Commodores got on the board with Staff on serve. Up 40-30 in the game, a long rally ended with the ball in the net and Vanderbilt cutting the deficit to two.
- The Commodore duo dropped the next two games, including a deuce point to go down 5-1 in set one.
- Ross and Staff got the ensuing break to keep the first set going, trailing 5-2.
- Back on serve, the Commodores continued their streak to make it 5-3 Wolfpack.
- The Commodores recorded their third-straight game to cut it to 5-4 late in the opening set when Ross’ return was batted into the other side of the net and give the serve back to Vanderbilt.
- Following a late set push from Ross and Staff, the Commodores dropped their first set of the tournament in a 6-4 decision.
Second Set Split
- The second set started with an opening game deuce point and long rally but ultimately it was the Wolfpack who got out to the 1-0 lead.
- Not to be deterred from the first game, the Commodore pair stormed back to a quick game of their own to knot things up 1-1.
- Ross and Staff grabbed their first lead of the afternoon with a break in game three to make it 2-1 early in the second set.
- A hold on serve extended the Commodores’ lead to two games when Staff hit an overhand dagger into center court to finish game four before getting another break to make it 4-1.
- The Wolfpack got one back in the following game, breaking Staff’s serve as the Commodore duo looked to force a decisive third set with the 4-2 lead.
- After NC State pulled within one, Ross went back on serve and clinched their fifth game of the set to make it 5-3.
- The Wolfpack won one more game before Ross and Staff forced the third set tiebreak with a 6-4 victory of their own.
To the Tiebreak
- The Commodores and Wolfpack traded the first four points in the tie break before Ross and Staff won two more to make it 4-2. NC State answered with five of their own to make it 7-4 with both teams’ seasons on the fence.
- Ross got the Commodores back in the win column with a drop shot over the net to pull within two late in the tiebreak contest.
- With the Wolfpack back on serve, the Commodores found themselves back down by three following a long rally on Court 1 but wasted no time getting one back as Staff hit an overhand shot from the net front.
- With their season on the line, the Commodores trailed 9-6 and faced match point as NC State was serving. A strong rally ended in the net on the Commodore side and they fell by a final 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 tally.