Dores Take Tight Battle With Auburn

Vandy defeats No. 21 Auburn in Friday’s matchup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt men’s tennis team defeated No. 21 Auburn, 4-3, on Friday evening at Lummis Family Tennis Center.

“Win or lose, that match was fun,” said head coach Scott Brown. “The guys never gave up. This group’s resilient, and they could have easily gone away but they didn’t.”

Freshman Hugo Coquelin sealed the victory for the Commodores (11-7, 2-4 SEC) on Friday evening when he defeated Auburn’s William Nolan in straight sets. Just prior, Coquelin, alongside partner Danil Panarin, also clinched the doubles point, giving Vanderbilt the early lead and setting things in motion. No. 54 Joubert Klopper, in tandem with Michael Ross, grabbed the first victory in doubles for the Commodores, defeating Billy Blaydes and Alejandro Moreno.

“I love the energy we came out with in doubles,” Brown said. “We’ve been building the intensity, and the guys have brought it the last two matches in doubles which has been the difference maker. I think we came out a little flat on three of the courts in singles. I want to give credit to Auburn; they hit back after doubles. Even though we had a slow start, our guys hung in there.”

Vanderbilt lost its lead in singles, when Nicholas Heng defeated Jeremie Casabon 6-3, 6-2 on Court 5. Klopper also went down on Court 2, bested by 91st-ranked Finn Murgett. Nathan Cox evened the score for the Dores, fighting against Moreno into a third set before coming up victorious, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

“I want to highlight Nathan Cox. He was under the weather today and he chose to play to be there for his guys. He’s had a rough past couple of weeks and I’m proud of how he’s responded,” said Brown. “The reason we won today is because he kept us in the match. He beat a guy he hadn’t beaten before and the effort he left out there to give us a chance was huge. We wouldn’t have been there without Nathan Cox. I also want to give credit to the support from the black and gold today. We had a huge crowd turnout and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

The Dores went point-for-point with the Tigers, as Blaydes took Court 4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 against Ross, and No. 85 Panarin defeated No. 43 Tyler Stice on Court 1. The score was 3 all, when Coquelin entered his second set. Nolan was defeated, securing the upset for Vanderbilt.

“This group’s gritty. When you train like we’ve trained for the last five or sixth months, you start earning these matches,” Brown said. “I’m really proud of these guys and we’ve got another war against Tennessee on Sunday. Win or lose, we’re going to bring it and that’s our identity.”

1. #85 Panarin (Vanderbilt) def. #43 Stice 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
2. #91 Murgett (Auburn) def. Klopper 6-1, 7-5
3. Cox (Vanderbilt) def. Moreno 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
4. Blaydes (Auburn) def. Ross 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
5. Heng (Auburn) def. Casabon 6-3, 6-2
6. Coquelin (Vanderbilt) def. Nolan 6-1, 6-4

1. #54 Klopper/Ross (Vanderbilt) def. Blaydes/Moreno 6-3
2. Casabon/Cox (Vanderbilt) vs. Heng/Murgett 5-4, unfinished
3. Panarin/Coquelin (Vanderbilt) def. Stice/Nolan 6-3

Up Next: Vanderbilt closes out the weekend when it plays host to ninth-ranked Tennessee at 1 p.m.