NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For the fourth-consecutive season the No. 2 Vanderbilt women's tennis team looks to play in the Southeastern Conference semifinals.
Friday evening, the Commodores knocked off a spirited LSU Tiger team by a score of 4-2. On the indoor courts of the Currey Tennis Center, sophomore Fernanda Contreras came through for the clinch at No. 6 singles. With the victory, Vanderbilt improves to 20-5 overall and 1-0 in postseason play.
"It was a cool experience to clinch in SECs," said Contreras. "With five indoor courts, everybody says that there's a lot of pressure to wait and play No. 6 singles, but honestly I knew the girls would fight until the end. I wasn't thinking about the score, I knew we weren't going to give up. The team gave me a lot of confidence and I didn't think about clinching or losing, I was just thinking of playing out there, having fun, and fighting for the team."
The Commodores opened up match play with efficient tennis, clinching the doubles point with wins on courts three then one. Debuting this week in the Oracle/ITA rankings, No. 73 Christina Rosca and Fernanda Contreras only allowed the Tiger's Jessica Golovin and Skylar Halloway one game in a 6-1 victory.
In a top-25 matchup, VU's third-ranked tandem of Astra Sharma and Emily Smith held on to a quick lead over No.23 Joana Valle Costa and Ryann Foster on court one to clinch the advantageous one-point lead, 6-3.
In singles play, the Dores won four of six first sets, with two of three singles victories coming in straight sets.
No. 11 Sydney Campbell was first off the court in singles action, with a straight-set victory on court two over Valle Costa. The senior from Franklin, Tenn. limited her opponent to five games, defeating the senior from Portugal, 6-3, 6-2.
The Tigers chipped away at the Vandy lead, earning their first of two points with a win on court one over No. 4 Astra Sharma. LSU's 22nd-ranked Jade Lewis edged Sharma in the first set, 6-4, to limit the highest-ranked player in the SEC to two games in the second set.
In a spirited match on court four, Kurtz took a three-set battle over Golovin for the 3-1 lead. The freshman only allowed her opponent two games in the opening set, however the sophomore Tiger rallied back into the competition to take the second set 6-3. Motivated by a packed Currey Tennis Center, the Commodore powered through the final set to earn the victory, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
LSU came out on top of a tight match on court three, with Foster narrowly defeating No. 96 Rosca. While the Commodore hustled to save two match points to force a second set tiebreak battle, the Tigers captured their second point, 6-4, 7-6(6).
It was a race to the finish to see who would clinch the final point for the black and gold. While Georgina Sellyn was serving up 5-3 in her third set against Becca Weissman, No. 69 Contreras was looking to deliver Holloway the final blow on court six.
Contreras clinched the Dores opportunity to compete in semifinal play, defeating the senior Tiger, 6-4, 6-1.
Vanderbilt looks to face the winner of Friday night's Kentucky/South Carolina matchup. The Dores will compete no earlier than 1 pm on Saturday afternoon.