No. 8 Tide Topped in Heartbreaker to Georgia Tech, 4-3
May 12, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 8 seed Alabama women's tennis team fell 4-3 to Georgia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Alabama Tennis Complex. With the loss, the Crimson Tide ends the season at 18-5, while the Yellow Jackets improve to 16-11 and advance to the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga.
"Today was a heartbreaker for the team," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "Definitely give credit to Georgia Tech. They came out well prepared, however I think we did a lot of things well and a lot of things right. We knew it was going to be a battle. In the end, it came down to a point or two. I told the team in the locker room that I was proud of them. It doesn't change because we lost a tennis match. We stand for a lot more than one match."
Georgia Tech edged out Alabama in doubles to clinch the point, winning on courts two and three. First to finish was the matchup on court three, where the Yellow Jackets' Caroline Lilley and Muriel Wacker posted an 8-3 win over the Tide's Taylor Lindsey and Yasmine Ebada. Lilley and Wacker jumped out to a 5-0 advantage before Lindsey and Ebada won three straight to close the gap to two, however, the Georgia Tech team would go on to win the final three games to take the win. Alabama evened the field, winning 9-7 on court one as the Tide's 14th-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane held on for the victory over the Yellow Jackets' 23rd-ranked team of Jillian O'Neill and Alex Anghelescu. The point would come down to the match on court two that was close throughout. Alabama's 41st-ranked duo of Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane picked up an early break, but Georgia Tech's tandem of Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn would break back and get the match back on serve until taking a 7-6 lead. Blau and Kilborn would serve for the win and eventually close out the match despite a comeback in the final game from the Tide duo.
Foehse would even the match at 1-1 as she collected the first win in singles, topping Blau 7-5, 6-0 on court five. Shortly after her match ended, play was moved indoors as inclement weather approached the area. Georgia Tech would reclaim the lead with a win on court four as Anghelescu posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over Alex Clay. The Yellow Jackets pulled in front 3-1 with another singles win, this time on court six as Christina Ngo topped Lindsey, 6-0, 6-3. The remaining three matches would all play into a third set with the first going in favor of Alabama as McLane came back to beat Kilborn 5-7 6-3, 6-2 on court three. The Tide's Macfarlane, ranked 24th, would give Alabama another come-from-behind win, tying the match at 3-3, as she took down 11th-ranked O'Neill 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on court one. The match came down to the decision on court two, the closest of the afternoon. No. 52 Guarachi took the first set 6-4, before Lilley came back to win the second in a tiebreaker 7-6(3). Guarachi came out blazing in the third set and pulled ahead 5-3, but Lilley came back to hold in the next game and eventually take then next three after that to win the third set 7-5.
"This team has played together all year," added Mainz. "They played for each other, by each other no matter what. They are the epitome of the word team. I think Taylor and Courtney have been instrumental in the success and leadership of this program in their four years here. They will be missed, not just for their tennis, but also for their strength of character and leadership on and off the court. They have been solid for us, and taught the younger players to carry the torch."
Despite being out of the team championship, Alabama will send a trio to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships as Macfarlane and Guarachi will represent the Tide in singles, while Guarachi and McLane will pair up in doubles.