Tuesday, February 10, 2004
The University of Alabama tennis teams held strong in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings release on Tuesday, with the men up one spot to No. 17 in the polls, while the women slipped two spots to No. 32.
The men’s team (2-0) won two matches in a season-opening doubleheader last Saturday, and face a tough challenge against 16th-ranked Ohio State (5-1) in Columbus, Ohio Saturday.
Alabama’s Stephen Mitchell (Sr., Cape Town, South Africa), who is ranked 63rd in singles, should have a shot at playing the nation’s No. 1 singles player, Jeremy Wurtzman in the match.
Ohio State will be looking to take full advantage of their home court advantage, especially after ‘Bama downed the Buckeyes in a five-hour epic 4-3 match at the Tide’s indoor courts in 2003.
The UA women’s squad (1-2) fought hard in a losing effort on the road at No. 22 ranked Miami, after losing to 12th-ranked Harvard. The Tide returns home to face Florida State on Sunday at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
Individually for the women’s squad, there were some solid wins in the match with Miami. Sophomore Nathalie Koppelle beat the No. 97 ranked Melissa Applebaum in three sets at No. 2 singles and Alabama’s No. 1 doubles team of Robin Stephenson and Ashley Bentley also got a big win doubles play with an 8-6 victory over the Hurricanes team of Applebaum and Megan Bradley. Bradley is ranked No. 11 in singles.
The Tide’s match with Florida State is special to Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz because she was an assistant coach with the ‘Noles from 1993-95. The Crimson Tide is 3-0 against FSU since Mainz’s arrival at the Capstone. All three matches have been decided by a 4-3 score, however.