April 14, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - In its longest match of the season, lasting nearly five hours, the seventh-ranked women’s tennis team outlasted Auburn, 4-3, Saturday night at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 16-3 overall and finishes the Southeastern Conference season with a 10-1 record, winning the Western Division for the second-consecutive season. The loss drops the Tigers to 8-12 overall and 3-8 against league opponents.
“First of all, I applaud both teams,” said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “It was a battle from start to finish. I am proud of our team for pulling this one out. Auburn came out and competed hard on every court. With our backs against the wall on the road in a tough environment, we found another gear. This was a tough one to get, but it will help us down the road.”
Alabama swept the three courts in doubles to earn the point, but it did not come easy. The Tide’s No. 3 team of Taylor Lindsey and Yasmine Ebada cruised to an 8-1 win over Taylor Schriemann and Plamena Kurteva for Alabama’s first win. The point, however, would not be decided for quite some time until Alabama’s 56th-ranked duo of Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane held strong in the end to beat Auburn’s 81st-ranked tandem of Jen Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers, 8-6. Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane, ranked 21st in the nation, completed the sweep shortly after, beating Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler, 8-7(3).
Guarachi, the No. 44 singles player, made quick work of Pfeifler on court one in singles, winning 6-1, 6-2 to put the Tide in front, 2-0. On court five, Foehse battled back after being edged out in her second set to win big in the third, taking down Schippers, 6-4, 5-7, 6-0, which put Alabama one win away from taking the team victory. The Tigers would then pick up their first point of the match with a win on court five six as Olivia Bennett topped Lindsey, 6-4, 6-1.
Auburn tightened things up, winning the first set on court three, and splitting sets on courts two and four. The Tigers notched their second point of the contest in the next match to finish with Kurteva edging out No. 112 McLane, 7-6(6), 7-5. In one of the closest decisions of the night, it would be 15th-ranked Macfarlane providing the clinching victory, as she pulled out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Flickinger on court two. The final match went in favor of Auburn Kasler topped Alex Clay, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“This was one of the most hard-fought doubles points we have won,” added Mainz. “We won the point, but it was not convincing. In singles, the entire match was tight. This match will, undoubtedly, help us prepare for the postseason.”
Alabama enters postseason play next week as it heads to Oxford, Miss. for the SEC Tournament. The Tide enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed and will take on the winner of the Arkansas/LSU match on Friday at Noon CT.
1. No. 21 Guarachi/McLane (UA) def. Flickinger/Kasler (AU) 8-7(3)
2. No. 56 Foehse/Macfarlane (UA) def. No. 81 Pfeifler/Schippers (AU) 8-6
3. Lindsey/Ebada (UA) def. Schriemann/Kurteva (AU) 8-1
Order of Finish: 3,2,1
1. No. 44 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. Jen Pfeifler (AU) 6-1, 6-2
2. No. 15 Mary Anne Macfarlane (UA) def. Emily Flickinger (AU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
3. Plamena Kurteva (AU) def. No. 112 Courtney McLane (UA) 7-6(6), 7-5
4. Jackie Kasler (AU) def. Alex Clay (UA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. Paulina Schippers (AU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-0
6. Olivia Bennett (AU) def. Taylor Lindsey (UA) 6-4, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1,5,6,3,2*,4