Gators Clinch Match Over Dores

Vanderbilt battled Florida to the end

BATON ROUGE, La. — In a down-to-the-wire match, 10th-seeded Vanderbilt fell to seventh-seeded Florida, 4-2, in its opening match of the SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament.

“First off, credit to Florida, coach Adam Steinberg runs a quality program, and I was super impressed with how his players were composed out there in the big moments,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Brown said. “They compete hard but with character and class, so I have a lot of respect for his program.”

“And for our guys, I can’t say enough,” Brown continued. “These guys left their heart and soul out there and that’s what I love about this group so much—not just the guys that are playing but the ones on the sidelines as well. I know what I’m going to get out of this group every day they step on the battlefield. It’s a really special group, and because of that, this has been one of the more enjoyable years of my 12 seasons as a college coach. All positive things to say about this group.”

In a back-and-forth doubles battle, Vandy came out on top with wins on Courts 1 and 2 to secure the point. At No. 1 doubles, Jeremie Casabon and Nathan Cox took down the 23rd-ranked duo of Nate Bonetto and Aidan Kim. Joubert Klopper and Michael Ross were victorious on Court 2, defeating No. 69 Tanapatt Nirundorn and Adhithya Ganesan.

No. 61 Danil Panarin kept the Dores’ momentum going into singles and took down No. 52 Jeremy Jin on Court 1 in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, to put Vandy up, 2-0. The Gators answered with three-straight wins of their own on Courts 3-5 and took the lead, 3-2.

The Commodores continued to fight, though. After losing his first set, 6-1, freshman Hugo Coquelin ground out a 7-5 win over Kevin Edengren in Set 2 to force a third. Cox and Kim split their first two sets. In Set 3, Cox climbed back from a 5-2 deficit and won two games in a row, but Kim ultimately cliched the win for the Gators, 5-4.

1. No. 61 Panarin (Vanderbilt) def. No. 52 Jin 6-3, 6-1
2. Kim (Florida) def. Cox 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. Bonetto (Florida) def. Casabon 6-4, 6-3
4. Ganesan (Florida) def. Klopper 7-5, 6-1
5. Nirundorn (Florida) def. Ross 6-4, 6-3
6. Coquelin (Vanderbilt) vs. Edengren 1-6, 7-5, 1-5, unfinished

1. Casabon/Cox (Vanderbilt) def. No. 23 Bonetto/Kim 6-2
2. Klopper/Ross (Vanderbilt) def. No. 69 Nirundorn/Ganesan 6-4
3. Panarin/Coquelin(Vanderbilt) vs. Edengren/Jin 4-4, unfinished

“We’re knocking on the door of being a consistent top-25 team,” Brown said. “The last month, this team has shown that they’re getting closer and closer to being a consistent top-25 team. The 1 or 2 percent to get us over the hump is just getting better at being a little more composed in those decisive moments in a match where the momentum can shift and understanding the way the match and the momentum flows.”

“At the end of the day, we’re in this position because these guys leave their heart and soul out there, so I’m just super proud of this group,” he stated. “They’ve come such a long way since August and even since January and February. So, knock on wood that we can get into the NCAA Tournament. We’re going to go out there and start training again Monday like we’re playing and work on those things to get that 1 or 2 percent better before NCAAs. Fight Dores.”

Up next
Vanderbilt will hope to hear its name called at the selection show on April 29 when the NCAA announces its qualifiers for the team championship at 5 p.m. CT on Individual qualifiers will be announced April 30.