Upended on the Road

No. 23 Arkansas beats ninth-ranked Commodores 4-3 in marathon match

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Fighting all the way through a four-hour match, No. 9 Vanderbilt lost a 4-3 nail-biter on the road against No. 23 Arkansas on Friday afternoon.

Tied 3-3 through five singles decisions, Arkansas (10-0, 4-0 SEC) clinched the win with a comeback victory from Laura Rjikers on No. 6. After Marcella Cruz won the first set in a tiebreaker, the sophomore fought back from a 4-0 deficit to force a second-set tiebreaker.

With Rjikers beating Cruz in the second set, she used the momentum and ultimately came up with an early break in the third on the way to claiming the 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-4 win. Cruz did battle back with a break of her own to even the match at 3-3 in the third, but a late break from Rjikers helped her claim the match-clinching win.

Doubles to open the afternoon saw Vanderbilt (10-2, 2-2 SEC) claim a pair of tiebreaker on Nos. 1 and 2 to earn the point. Anna Ross and Holly Staff teamed up for their first win over a ranked opponent with a 7-6 win over 28th-ranked Lauren Alter and Tatum Rice while Cruz and Emma Kurtz took down Morgan Cross and Indianna Spink 7-6 to earn Vanderbilt’s early lead.

In singles action, Arkansas continually fought back and never let the Commodores pull more than one point ahead. First it was Rice beating Ross on No. 3 to make it 1-1, but Anessa Lee put the Dores back on top with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win on No. 5 over Alter.

With Rosca falling on No. 1 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to pull Arkansas level again, Staff regained the lead by finishing off a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Cross on No. 4. Shortly after, though, the Razorbacks again evened with Kelly Keller topping Kurtz on No. 2. Then Rjikers went on to clinch the win with her victory on No. 6.

The Commodores will remain on the road this weekend with a visit to Missouri on Sunday. First serve is set for noon.

1. Indianna Spink (AR) def. #20 Christina Rosca (VAN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
2. Kelly Keller (AR) def. Emma Kurtz (VAN) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
3. Tatum Rice (AR) def. Anna Ross (VAN) 6-2, 6-3
4. Holly Staff (VAN) def. Morgan Cross (AR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
5. Anessa Lee (VAN) def. Lauren Alter (AR) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Laura Rjikers (AR) def. Marcella Cruz (VAN) 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4

1. Anna Ross/Holly Staff (VAN) def. #28 Lauren Alter/Tatum Rice (AR) 7-6
2. Emma Kurtz/Marcella Cruz (VAN) def. Morgan Cross/Indianna Spink (AR) 7-6
3. Laura Rjikers/Kelly Keller (AR) def. Christina Rosca/Anessa Lee (VAN) 6-4

Match Notes:
Vanderbilt (W) 10-2; National ranking #9
Arkansas Razorbacks (W) 10-0; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,5,1,4,2,6)