March 21, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The eighth-ranked Alabama women's tennis team came away with a hard-fought 4-1 victory over South Carolina on Friday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium, extending its winning streak to 10-straight matches. The Crimson Tide now stands at 14-2 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks are 10-7 on the season and 1-5 versus league opponents.
"We competed really well," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "We knew South Carolina was going to be a tough opponent. They played some of the best doubles we've seen all season. This match went down to the wire and was back and forth throughout. What I liked about our team though was we stayed the course and competed well. When it came down to it, we really stepped up."
Alabama won its 14th doubles point of the season, but it wouldn't come easily. The Tide's 44th-ranked duo of Emily Zabor and Luicelena Perez picked up the first win, posting an 8-5 decision over South Carolina's Brigit Folland and Caroline Dailey on court three. The Gamecocks then won 8-7(5) on court two, leaving the point to be decided on court one. Alabama's eighth-ranked Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe proved to be the tougher duo in the end, holding on to win 8-7(7) to award the Tide the point.
Alabama took first sets on four of the six singles courts, but it would be South Carolina winning the first point to even the match at 1-1 as Elixane Lechemia topped Mary Anne Daines, 7-6(3), 6-1, on court one. From there, the Tide would not give up another point, but each match across the board was a battle from start to finish. Danielle Spielmann used the momentum from her 7-6(5) first-set win to take the second, 6-3, on court two over Folland for Alabama's second point of the night. It would be another hour before Perez tacked on the third point for the Tide with her 7-5, 7-5 nail-biter on court six against Ximena Siles Luna. As Perez was finishing, doubles partner Zabor was doing her part on court five to close out the match, and she did just take taking the 6-5, 7-6(2) victory against Kanakova.
The remaining two matches were in third sets with the Tide leading in both.
Next up, Alabama hosts No. 5 Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT for USTA College MatchDay. The match will feature an experimental format with singles being played first. Doubles will only be played should there be a 3-3 tie following singles.
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