Jan. 26, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The 12th-ranked women's tennis team overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Oklahoma, 4-3, in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship match at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. With the win, the Crimson Tide moves to 2-0 and advances to the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship for the second-straight season.
Sophomore Natalia Maynetto provided the match clincher on court six in singles, mirroring last year's finish as she also clinched in 2013 on court six to send Alabama to its first national indoors.
The Tide found itself down early, dropping the doubles point, five first sets in singles, and the match on court two. Alabama came back and won the second sets on all five of those courts to force tiebreakers across the board.
"This was a well-fought match by both teams," said head coach Jenny Mainz. "It was a fun day of tennis. I think we showed a tremendous amount of resiliency. We lose the doubles point, then five first sets and the match overall on court two. Slowly but surely we came back and wouldn't quit. It was just a gutsy performance by the team that came down to a couple big points."
The first of the big points came from sophomore Maya Jansen, who got the Tide on the board, winning 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 on court three. Next up was junior Emily Zabor, who had an incredible comeback by defeating Emma Devine 3-6, 6-0, 10-5 to tie the match up at 2-2. Moments later, freshman Erin Routliffe had an almost identical comeback win against Mia Lancaster, giving the Tide its first lead of the day after her 6-7, 6-0, 10-5 victory.
In what was perhaps the most back-and-forth match of the day, senior Mary Anne Daines dropped a heartbreaker to No. 50 Hermon Brhane, 6-7, 7-6, 10-7, to even the team score at 3-3. At that point it came down to the match on court six, where Maynetto came through as she did all last season, clinching under pressure.
"I want to commend Oklahoma," added Mainz. "This match was what college tennis is all about. This is why we play. I was very impressed with Oklahoma's spirit and competitiveness. They are a very good team. All four teams in this region were really good, and I felt any of them could advance out."
Alabama returns to the courts on Saturday, Feb. 1, when it hosts Georgia State at Noon. The Tide will then head to Charlottesville, Va., for the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will run Feb. 7-10.
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