VU men, women gear up for SEC tennis tourneys

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 1:38am

The Vanderbilt men and women’s tennis teams, fresh from ending their respective regular seasons on a high note, are ready for postseason action this week.

No. 31 ranked Vanderbilt has a daunting challenge in the SEC men’s tournament, which opens Thursday in Fayetteville, Ark.

The Commodores, seeded No. 8, face host and No. 9 seed Arkansas in their opening match at 3:30 p.m. Should they win that, a quarterfinal match looms with nationally No. 4 ranked and defending NCAA champ Georgia on Friday. Vanderbilt lost 4-3 at Arkansas earlier this year.

Vanderbilt closed out the regular season by picking up its first SEC road win of the season, scoring a 4-3 win over No. 40 Kentucky in Lexington Saturday. Freshman Alex Zotov clinched the verdict with a win at No. 6 singles.

After missing out on the tourney his first year at Vanderbilt in ’06, coach Ian Duvenhage is hoping to take the Commodores to the NCAAs for the second straight year. Vanderbilt (12-8, 4-7 SEC) is led by No. 55 ranked senior Ryan Preston and soph Vijay Paul.

• In the SEC women’s tournament at Auburn, Ala., No. 12 Vanderbilt (17-4, 7-4 SEC) is seeded No. 4. The Commodores received a Thursday bye and will play Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Mississippi State-Tennessee match. Vanderbilt beat both during the regular season.

Like the men, Vanderbilt (17-4, 7-4 SEC) closed the regular season with a 5-2 win at home over Kentucky Saturday.

Under coach Geoff McDonald, Vanderbilt appears certain to receive a 14th straight NCAA tournament invitation. Vanderbilt has four players ranked in the collegiate top 100 – No. 23 Amanda Taylor, No. 47 Catherine Newman, No. 61 Courtney Ulery and No. 96 Taka Bertrand.

• Vanderbilt is headed to the SEC men’s golf championships, which open Friday in Sea Island, Ga. The Commodores are led by junior All-American Jon Curran, who won the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla., last month.

• Vanderbilt travels to the SEC women’s golf championships in Loudon, Tenn., also opening Friday. Senior Liebelei Lawrence leads the Commodores.

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