Vanderbilt breaks tie atop SEC standings with 4-3 win vs. Alabama
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It took nearly four-and-a-half hours, but 10th-ranked Vanderbilt picked up its second win against a top 10 team in as many matches, defeating No. 6 Alabama 4-2 on Friday evening at the Currey Tennis Center. The win vaults the Commodores to the top of the SEC standings, as they hold the tie break against both Bama and Georgia.
Vanderbilt (15-4, 8-1 SEC) handed Alabama (15-3, 7-1 SEC) just its third loss in the doubles point this season, and snapped the Tide's 11-match win streak.
The Commodores seemed to be in total control during the doubles point. Vandy's three's of Marie Casares and Frances Altick ran away with an 8-2 win versus No. 42 Emily Zabor/Luicelena Perez. Vanderbilt's No. 2 team of 35th-ranked Ashleigh Antal and Sydney Campbell fell 8-4, but Lauren Mira and Courtney Colton at No. 1 quickly wrapped up the point, winning 8-4.
Singles was everything a spectator could have asked for, as four matches went three-sets and impressive rallies by both sides were traded back-and-forth.
Alabama was the first to strike in singles, as the Tide tied it up at one with a 6-1, 7-5 win at the No. 1 position.
Bama's top player, 52nd-ranked Mary Anne Daines, matched up against No. 91 Georgina Sellyn at the No. 1 position. Daines won quickly in the first set, but Sellyn put up a fight in the second, going up a break early. She responded, winning the next five games, but Sellyn once again fought back bringing the match to 5-all before Daines finished it off 7-5.
With the match at one apiece, Casares extended her NCAA-best 21-match win streak at a timely moment. She won a hard-fought first set against No. 82 Maya Jansen. Both players went back-and-forth until Casares forced a tiebreak in the 12th game. In the breaker Casares jumped to an early 4-1 lead, and finished it off 7-5 after a short Jansen rally.
In the second set Casares earned two quick breaks, which would be all she needed, as she went on to win 6-4 in the second set.
Casares' 21 wins in a row set a Vanderbilt school record for consecutive singles wins. She surpasses Courtney Ulery's mark of 20 consecutive during the 2007-08 season.
Alabama would once again respond as No. 80 Luicelena Perez won 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3 at the No. 6 position against Ashleigh Antal.
Campbell was able to improve to 5-2 in SEC play picking up a clutch win at No. 2 versus fellow freshman Danielle Spielmann. After a quick 6-3 win in the first set, Speilmann put up a fight in the second before forcing a split with a 7-5 win. Campbell opened the third set with a break and right as Speilmann broke back in the fourth game, Campbell would earn another break, which would be all she needed as she held on to win the set and the match 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
At the time of Campbell's win Altick was leading 4-2 in her third set and Colton had just earned a break to work the match back to 1-3.
With Altick up a break, No. 57 Routliffe got the match back on serve in the eighth-game, making it 4-all. With the ninth game at 30-love in favor of Routliffe, Altick was able to win the next four points to break and go up 5-4, serving for the match.
After a few long points in the 10th and final game, Altick sent a hard backhand winner down the line to clinch the win against the Crimson Tide.