Ohio State rallies to beat Vanderbilt in second-round NCAA women's tennis match

From staff reports
The Ohio State University athletic department logo, 2017. [provided by OSU]

Lucia Marzal won the first five games of the third set and the Ohio State women’s tennis team survived a close call to win 4-3 against Vanderbilt on Saturday in a second-round NCAA Tournament match at the Auer Tennis Complex in Columbus. 

The 15th-seeded Buckeyes (23-3) showed their depth to advance to a third-round match on May 16 in Orlando, Florida, against second-seeded Texas, which shut out Arizona State 4-0 in a second-round match on Saturday.. 

After losing the double point, Ohio State fell behind the Commodores 2-0 when Irina Cantos Siemers was beaten 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles by Christina Rosca.

“Losing the doubles point was tough,” OSU coach Melissa Schaub said. “We’ve had the 1-0 lead in most matches this year. After doubles we talked about how now we get a chance to see what we’re made of. We came out and fought hard at every spot and gave ourselves a chance.” 

Lisa Hofbauer, Isabelle Boulais and Luna Dormet then claimed straight-set victories that allowed the Buckeyes to take a 3-2 lead, but Vanderbilt’s Anessa Lee edged Kolie Allen of OSU 6-3, 7-5 to tie the team score at 3-3 and put all the focus on the match at No. 5 singles between Marzal and Vandy’s Marcella Cruz. 

Marzal won the first set 6-3 but lost the final two games of the second set as Cruz won 7-5 to force a decisive third set. 

But Marzal broke Cruz’s serve to start the set and added two more breaks to take a 5-0 lead. Cruz captured the sixth game before Marzal added a final break to win 6-1 and give OSU the win.

“For Lucia to have to play nearly her whole third set as the only court left with the match on the line showed a lot of guts,” Schaub said. “She played tough and I’m really happy for her. … For us to get to the Round of 16 – it’s a happy locker room for sure.” 

In its opening-round NCAA match on Friday, Ohio State dropped only one set against Illinois-Chicago in cruising to a 4-0 victory. 

Marzal and Cantos Siemers won in both singles and doubles, and freshman Madeline Atway clinched the victory with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Nell Arendt at No. 6 singles. 

Men’s tennis wins

The Ohio State men’s tennis team fell behind early in its first-round NCAA Tournament match before rallying for a 4-1 over Virginia Commonwealth on Friday at Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

John McNally and Robert Cash earned the doubles point for Ohio State with a hard-fought 7-5 victory over VCU’s Inigo Torre Martin and Rayne Stable, but the Buckeyes the proceeded to drop the first set in four of the six singles matches. 

McNally at No. 1 singles and JJ Tracy at No. 6 won their matches in straight sets to help the Buckeyes to a 3-1 lead, and James Trotter at No. 3 singles clinched OSU’s win by finishing off a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Torre Martin. 

“Today was a tough match,” McNally said. “VCU is an older team and they had a lot of guys who were out there fighting and scrapping. They weren’t intimidated at all. We had a few things go our way and we were able to pull it out.” 

Ranked No. 35 nationally, the Buckeyes advanced to play Wake Forest, the host for the weekend matches and the 10th-ranked team, at 5 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the final 16.