Gators, Commodores advance to championship
Match 11: Florida 4 Arkansas 2
Florida defeated Arkansas, 4-2, in the SEC Tournament semifinals on Saturday at Knoxville's Barksdale Stadium. The No. 2-seeded Gators will compete in the championship match, which will televised live on SEC Network Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Florida (18-7) will square off against Vanderbilt in the final.
For the second straight day, McCartney Kessler and Josie Kuhlman clinched the doubles point for Florida on Court 2. Katie Kubicz and Peggy Porter picked up the first doubles victory on Court 3 before Arkansas' Ana Oparenovic and Tatum Rice defeated Anna Danilina and Victoria Emma on Court 1 to set up the decider at No. 2.
In singles action, Arkansas got on the board first as Natsuho Arakawa earned the Court 4 win over Victoria Emma to even the count, 1-1. For the second straight day, Peggy Porter provided wins in singles and doubles, finishing off Tatum Rice in three sets at No. 5 singles to retake the lead for Florida.
Mia Jurasic evened the tally again for Arkansas, earning a three-set victory at No. 3 against McCartney Kessler. The tie was short-lived, as the Gators picked up wins from Katie Kubicz and Josie Kuhlman in quick succession soon thereafter, with Kuhlman's clincher coming in a second-set tiebreaker that the Gator senior dominated for a 7-5, 7-6(2) victory against Ana Oparenovic.
Match 12: Vanderbilt 4, Ole Miss 1
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Vanderbilt women's tennis team is bound for the Southeastern Conference Tournament Final after downing fifth-seeded and No. 6 Ole Miss 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Barksdale Tennis Center at the University of Tennessee.
For the second year in a row, the Commodores find themselves taking on Florida in the SEC Tournament final, which will air live on the SEC Network Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
The Commodores opened semifinal play by taking a dominant doubles point over the Rebels.
Reuniting on court one for the first time since March 25, No. 22 Astra Sharma and Fernanda Contreras put on a show against Ole Miss' fifth-ranked duo of Alexa Bortles/Arianne Hartono. The Dores handed the top-10 team a 6-0 loss.
No. 58 Emily Smith and Emma Kurtz suffered a 6-1 setback on court two. However, Amanda Meyer and Christina Rosca were able to clinch the point advantage on court three, limiting Natalie Suk and Anna Vrbenska to two games in their 6-2 victory.
The Commodores came out on fire in semifinal singles play, nabbing four of the five completed first sets.
Seventh-ranked Contreras was first off the court in singles action for the black and gold. The Austin, Texas native set the tone for the Commodores, relying on her slice and serve to earn a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Contreras is four wins away from her 100th career victory and six wins away from tying the VU single-season win record set by Frances Altick at 39.
Meyer earned Vandy the 3-0 lead, as the freshman picked up another efficient win for Vanderbilt. Competing on court four, Meyer defeated Vrbenska 6-3, 6-0. Ole Miss earned its first point of the outing on court one as No. 13 Arianne Hartono defeated No. 8 Sharma 6-3, 6-4.
Kurtz flew through her first set on court five against Suk, 6-2. However, the Rebel has other plans as the second set was a tight competition down to the last point. Up 6-5 but in a 0-40 deficit, Kurtz powered back into the game to level the opportunity 40-all and take the final point of the match to clinch Vanderbilt's spot in the SEC finals, 6-2, 7-5.
At the clinch, Dvorak was deep in a contentious first-set tiebreaker at No. 6 singles, tied at 12-all, while Rosca was about to begin her third set on court three, 6-2, 2-6.
Earlier this year, the Commodores earned a 4-0 victory over Florida at National Team Indoors on Feb. 10. Last Saturday, the Dores downed the Gators for the team's second-straight SEC Regular Season Championship in a gritty 4-3 victory.
Fans traveling to Knoxville are reminded that the SEC's Clear Bag Policy will be in effect.