Maybe the singing of the National Anthem was a sign of things to come – the team from Music City listened to two major halts in the singing and everyone felt sorry for the soprano soloist. In fact, the entire full house standing room crowd joined in to help the singer through the anthem.
However with the anthem over, Vanderbilt did what they had the entire tournament they won the doubles point and things looked good. Only 3 singles matches to win and the trophy was headed to Nashville,
But the singles were a true disaster for Vanderbilt. Astra was extended but did win #1 in two sets, but everyone else lost the first set. It was hard to pinpoint why, but Stanford played singles with a vengeance as they had the day before against Duke and almost before you could catch your breath the score was 3-2 Stanford. Vanderbilt was in a terrible hole needing to win 3 set matches, if they could get them into third sets.
Amanda Meyer, pictured below, regrouped and won the second set and then more easily won the third set. This made the score all tied up at 3-3. Amanda is a foot three competitor who just wouldn’t quit.
The match was decided on the #2 court. Fernanda Contreras, a 5-foot-7
junior from Austin, Texas was locked in a match with a much taller and powerful cardinal who had a dominating serve. Still, in the match that lasted 2 and a half hours, it was a battle to the finish. Late in the third set, Contreras had to have a medical timeout to treat her left ankle (see picture below.)
The crowd was overwhelmingly for Vanderbilt, but the slow start in singles dug a hole too deep to get out of. Next year Vanderbilt will lose Astra Sharma, who had a great day. She will be missed next year as she plays #1.
This is the second time that Stanford has beaten Vanderbilt in the NCAA finals. Maybe the next time that will be the motivating factor that separates two superb women’s tennis programs and universities.