Women's Tennis Edges No. 32 TCU 4-3

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Junior Meritt Emery clinched the match for Alabama with a win at No. 4 singles.
Junior Meritt Emery clinched the match for Alabama with a win at No. 4 singles.

Feb. 27, 2010

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 58 women's tennis team (5-3) staged another comeback win, shocking No. 32 TCU (1-6) 4-3 on Saturday at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide was able to overcome dropping the doubles point once again, remaining undefeated at home on the season.

"TCU is a very good team," head coach Jenny Mainz said. "Once again, we lost doubles and had to pick it up a level in singles. We did a great job of coming back from the slow, sluggish start in doubles. I really felt like we had very little energy to begin the match. This team is resilient and continues to show good fight and tenacity with back-to-back comeback wins."

TCU claimed the doubles point with comfortable wins on courts two and three. Gaby Mastromarino and Idunn Hertzberg were the first off court, knocking off junior Meritt Emery and freshman Antonia Foehse 8-4 at the No. 3 spot. The Horned Frog duo broke serve three times throughout the match to take full control. At the No. 2 position, Nina Munch-Soegaard and Maria Babanova took down seniors Paulina Bigos and Alice Tunaru 8-5 to win the doubles point. Munch-Soegaard and Babanova raced out to a 6-2 lead and were able to hold off a late charge from the Alabama seniors. The Tide was able to salvage the match on court one, with freshman Alexa Guarachi and sophomore Courtney McLane, ranked No. 51 nationally in doubles, defeating Kayla Duncan and Katariina Tuohimaa 8-5.

Tunaru got Alabama on the board, as she made quick work of Babanova on court six. She jumped out quickly in the first set, taking it 6-1. Tunaru earned an early break in the second set as well, and Babanova wilted soon after, giving Tunaru the match 6-1, 6-2. No. 56 Tuohimaa responded for TCU, defeating Bigos 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 3 spot. After winning the opening set 6-1, she found herself locked in several extended rallies early in the second. Tuohimaa managed to work the points in her favor more times than not, eventually breaking serve and running away with the set.

No. 68 Guarachi was able to even the score once again, taking the final straight sets match of the day. She and Duncan, ranked No. 78, held serve consistently in the first set. With Guarachi leading 6-5, she stepped up her return game and broke to take the set. The Tide freshman clearly had momentum in her favor heading into the second set, as she took a commanding 4-0 lead en route to winning the set 6-1.

The Horned Frogs grabbed the first of three matches that went the distance to leap ahead 3-2 in the overall score when Munch-Soegaard took down McLane on court one. McLane staked a 3-0 lead in the opening set, but could not hold the lead. Munch-Soegaard seized control, serving for the set at 5-4 before being broken. She rebounded quickly to take the final two games of the set 7-5. McLane took a break lead in the second after Munch-Soegaard was over-ruled on an out call on the baseline, and never looked back in winning the set 6-3. It was Munch-Soegaard's turn to shake off the disappointment, which she did rather easily, breaking McLane early in the third and taking the set 6-0.

With the Tide trailing 3-2, the final two three-set matches went deep into the final set, and Alabama needed to take both for the win. Foehse dropped the opening set 6-3 to Mastromarino, but rallied back to take the second 6-3 on court five. She took a 2-0 lead in the third, but gave the break back at 3-1. Foehse earned another break, serving for the set at 5-3. However, she struggled with her first serve and Mastromarino broke. Mastromarino held for 5-5, and Foehse fought off several break points to hold for 6-5. The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of the TCU sophomore, and that was evident. She made several easy mistakes in the game, and Foehse capitalized to take the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

It came down to the match on court four, with Emery and Hertzberg battling to help give their team a big victory. Hertzberg cruised through the first set easily, taking it 6-2. Emery jumped ahead early in the second set, eventually serving for the set at 5-2. Hertzberg managed to break, but struggled to hold serve and was broken to drop the set 6-3. Emery continued with the momentum, winning the first two games of the final set, but Hertzberg would not go away without a fight. Hertzberg broke back, but Emery stayed solid with her returns and broke again, eventually taking a 5-2 lead. Emery served for the match at 5-3, but could not take advantage, giving the break back. Hertzberg served to stay in the match trailing 5-4, but played a disastrous game. She netted a backhand to open the game, and then at 15-30 tossed in back-to-back double faults to drop the match.

"Different players are continuing to step up for us," Mainz added. "They continue to show tremendous composure and are responding very well in some difficult situations."

The Tide returns to the courts Sunday when it hosts Eastern Kentucky at 1:00 p.m. (CST). All action takes place at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. Admission to the match is free.

1. No. 51 Guarachi/McLane (UA) def. Duncan/Tuohimaa (TCU) 8-4
2. Babanova/Munch-Soegaard (TCU) def. Bigos/Tunaru (UA) 8-5
3. Mastromarino/Hertzberg (TCU) def. Emery/Foehse (UA) 8-4
Order of Finish: 3,2,1

1. Nina Munch-Soegaard (TCU) def. No. 83 Courtney McLane (UA) 7-5, 3-6, 6-0
2. No. 68 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. No. 78 Kayla Duncan (TCU) 7-5, 6-1
3. No. 56 Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU) def. Paulina Bigos (UA) 6-1, 6-3
4. Meritt Emery (UA) def. Idunn Hertzberg (TCU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. Gaby Mastromarino (TCU) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
6. Alice Tunaru (UA) def. Maria Babanova (TCU) 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6,3,2,1,5,4*