Feb. 28, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 58 women's tennis team (6-3) extended its winning streak to four matches, sweeping Eastern Kentucky (5-7) 7-0 on Sunday at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The win moves the Crimson Tide to 5-0 at home so far this season.
"This was a good, solid weekend for us," UA head coach Jenny Mainz said. "The TCU match yesterday was a battle, and we did a good job of taking momentum from that and getting a decisive win today. This weekend puts us a good position starting conference play next weekend. We continue progressing well and getting better each week. We are committed to constant improvement and our goal is to step it up a level every week."
It was quite a different start for Alabama compared to the last few matches, with the Tide storming ahead on all three courts to begin doubles action. Alabama dropped just two games in the three matches en route to sweeping the doubles point with a new look to their lineup. Senior Paulina Bigos and sophomore Courtney McLane were first to complete their match, breezing past juniors Anouk Faure and Myriem Mhirit 8-1 at the No. 1 spot. Less than a minute later, junior Meritt Emery and senior Alice Tunaru took down freshman Catarina Branco and sophomore Alyze Pagal 8-1 on court three. Emery and Tunaru were broken to open the match, but did not drop another game. Freshmen Antonia Foehse and Alexa Guarachi posted the most impressive score, cruising by the fellow freshman duo of Jessica Albuquerque and Esmira Gheisary 8-0 at the No. 2 position.
The Tide continued its dominance in singles play, with the Colonels winning no more than two games in each of the six first sets. Tunaru finished her match first, not yielding a game to Branco on court six to win 6-0, 6-0. Foehse finished off Gheisary moments later at the No. 5 position, allowing Gheisary to win just a single game en route to winning 6-0, 6-1. Emery was next to post an impressive victory, taking down Pagal 6-0, 6-0 on court four, clinching the match win for Alabama.
Unlike the matches at the bottom of the lineup, Eastern Kentucky was able to dig in and show some fight in the matches on courts one, two, and three. McLane, ranked No. 83 nationally in singles, won the opening set 6-1 at the No. 1 position over Mhirit, but found herself in a struggle early in the second.
McLane was finally able to secure a break and take a 5-2 lead. Mhirit tried to hold and put the pressure on McLane to serve it out, but she could not, giving the Tide sophomore the match 6-1, 6-2. Guarachi started off a little slow on court two, struggling to finish off rallies against the retrieving Albuquerque. Guarachi was seemingly in control of numerous points, but Albuquerque continued to get an extra ball back. The Alabama freshman finally found her groove to take the first set 6-2. Guarachi remained in control of the points in the second set, wearing down Albuquerque to take the match 6-2, 6-1.
The final match of the day was the only one that provided some drama, with Bigos and Faure battling on court three. Bigos took the opening set 6-2, but quickly fell behind a break early in the second. She would break back to make the score 2-2, and the two players would have issues holding serve the rest of the set. Faure was finally able to back up the break she earned, running away with the set 6-3 and forcing a super tiebreak. Bigos was able to respond, taking a 5-3 lead in the super tiebreak. She was able to stretch the lead to 8-4, and had to hold off a late charge from Faure to take the super tiebreak 10 points to eight, completing the sweep for the Tide.
Next up, Alabama hits the road to begin SEC play, traveling to Athens, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. The Tide will take on the No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs on March 5 at 3:00 p.m. (CST) and the No. 13 Tennessee Lady Volunteers on March 7 at noon (CST).
1. Bigos/McLane (UA) def. Mhirit/Faure (EKU) 8-1
2. Guarachi/Foehse (UA) def. Albuquerque/Gheisary (EKU) 8-0
3. Emery/Tunaru (UA) def. Pagal/Branco (EKU) 8-1
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. No. 83 Courtney McLane (UA) def. Myriem Mhirit (EKU) 6-1, 6-2
2. No. 68 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. Jessica Albuquerque (EKU) 6-2, 6-1
3. Paulina Bigos (UA) def. Anouk Faure (EKU) 6-2, 3-6, 1-0
4. Meritt Emery (UA) def. Alyze Pagal (EKU) 6-0, 6-0
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. Esmira Ghesary (EKU) 6-0, 6-1
6. Alice Tunaru (UA) def. Catarina Branco (EKU) 6-0, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6,5,4*,1,2,3