FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 27 Arkansas women’s tennis team put up a spirited fight Sunday afternoon against defending national champion No. 5 Vanderbilt but fell short by a score of 4-3 at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center.
“What a great college tennis match we were all part of here today,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “I give the utmost credit to the players of both teams equally as they all laid it on the line. It added to a thrilling spectacle. Vanderbilt is the defending national champion for good reason, and we feel emboldened in battling so successfully with them. For sure our best moments this year are ahead of us.”
The setback moved the Razorbacks’ record to 16-10 overall and 5-6 in Southeastern Conference play. The Commodores, who returned the bulk of last year’s national championship team, improved to 16-4 and 9-2 in conference action.
Arkansas earned the first point of the day by posting victories at the No. 1 and 3 doubles positions. Vanderbilt’s duo of Astra Sharma and Frances Altick was first off the court with a 6-2 win over sophomore Mia Jurasic and freshman Ana Oparenovic at No. 2. Arkansas’ 77th-ranked pair of senior Yuliya Lysa and junior Shannon Hudson responded with a 6-2 victory over Vanderbilt’s 10th-ranked tandem of Courtney Colton and Sydney Campbell at the top spot. With all eyes on the No. 3 position, senior Makenzie Craft and freshman Agne Cepelyte teamed up for the first time to beat Vanderbilt’s Georgina Sellyn and Fernanda Contreras 6-3, giving the Razorbacks a 1-0 advantage.
Vanderbilt surged back in singles play, winning five of six first sets. Despite a valiant effort by the Razorbacks in second and third sets, the Commodores would turn four of those leads into victories.
The Commodores tied the contest at 1-1 by earning a 6-3, 6-3 victory from Contreras over Arkansas junior Sasha Shkorupeieva at the No. 6 singles position.
Arkansas regained the lead as Jurasic notched a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Vanderbilt’s Sellyn at No. 5. However, the Commodores followed with wins on courts two and three, taking a 3-2 lead. No. 13 Altick defeated No. 86 Oparenovic 7-5, 6-4 at No. 2, and No. 21 Sharma beat Hudson 7-6 (5), 6-4 at No. 3.
After dropping the first set at the top spot, No. 34 Lysa pushed her match to a third set and delivered a huge 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Vanderbilt’s No. 19 Campbell to tie the overall match at 3-3. The win upped her record to 12-4 in dual matches and 8-3 in SEC play and marked her third victory over a top-25 opponent this season.
Focus then shifted to the final court where Vanderbilt’s Contreras edged out Craft 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to earn the overall match victory for the Commodores.
The Razorbacks will remain home to host No. 42 Ole Miss Thursday. First serve is slated for 1 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas Women’s Tennis, follow @RazorbackWTEN on Twitter.
1. No. 34 Yuliya Lysa (ARK) def. No. 19 Sydney Campbell (VU) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5)
2. No. 13 Frances Altick (VU) def. No. 86 Ana Oparenovic (ARK) 7-5, 6-4
3. No. 21 Astra Sharma (VU) def. Shannon Hudson (ARK) 7-6 (5), 6-4
4. Courtney Colton (VU) def. Makenzie Craft (ARK) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
5. Mia Jurasic (ARK) def. Georgina Sellyn (VU) 7-5, 6-3
6. Fernanda Contreras (VU) def. Sasha Shkorupeieva (ARK) 6-3, 6-3
1. No. 77 Yuliya Lysa/Shannon Hudson (ARK) def. No. 10 Courtney Colton/Sydney Campbell (VU) 6-2
2. Astra Sharma/Frances Altick (VU) def. Mia Jurasic/Ana Oparenovic (ARK) 6-2
3. Makenzie Craft/Agne Cepelyte (ARK) def. Georgina Sellyn/Fernanda Contreras (VU) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,5,2,3,1,4)