Feb. 15, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Emily Zabor
came from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) on court five in singles to clinch No. 16 Alabama's 4-3 victory over No. 10 Virginia on Saturday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. With the win, the Crimson Tide moves to 5-2 overall, while the loss drops the Cavaliers to 5-2 on the season.
"I needed to win," said Zabor. "Our team works so hard, and it doesn't matter who the last one is. I feel like sometimes I'm better in high pressure situations like that. I was glad to pull it out, but this is definitely a team victory.
Alabama came out of the gates blazing, picking up early breaks on courts one and two to lead from the start. Mary Anne Daines and Danielle Spielmann maintained that momentum throughout the match and cruised to an 8-2 victory on court two over Stephanie Nauta and Maci Epstein. The match on court one got close midway through, but the Tide's 20th-ranked duo of Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe held on in the end, winning three straight games to take the match 8-5 over No. 3 Julia Elbaba and Rachel Pierson. The match on court three was suspended at 5-5 once the point was clinched.
Alabama took a 3-0 lead after winning the first two singles matches starting with the victory on court six from Luicelena Perez. Perez wasted no time and took care of her court, winning 6-0, 6-2 over the Cavaliers' Marie Faure. Spielmann gave the Tide its third point of the match with a win on court two, dominating No. 53 Danielle Collins, 6-1, 6-3. From there, Virginia went on to win three-straight points, taking the matches on courts one, four, then three, setting up for Zabor's clincher on court five.
"We knew this was going to be a very close match," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "It tilted both ways, and even though we were up 3-0 Virginia had the momentum. We needed to settle down and work, and that's how you beat a team like this. Overall this was a great team win."
Next up, Alabama travels to Montgomery, Ala., for the annual Blue Gray National Tennis Classic, which will be played Feb. 21-23.
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