Tuesday, January 13, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama women’s tennis team will start its season at No. 30 in the nation in rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide opens 2004 at home against Louisville on Friday, January 23.
“The ranking is about what I had expected,” Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. “It’s important right now to understand that it is just a preseason ranking and it doesn’t carry a great deal of meaning now. With our two new players I think we are in a good position to start the season.”
On Monday, the Crimson Tide women held their third-annual Pell City community event. The event featured an exhibition match and a clinic provided by the women’s team. Sarah Stewart, a former LSU player and the director of tennis at the Pell City Tennis Center, was a college rival of Mainz and the two have developed a partnership in Alabama.
“We played each other throughout college and she has done an outstanding job with youth tennis in Pell City,” Mainz said. “The support generated from that area is tremendous. The clinic was a great opportunity for us to get out and give something back to the community.”
The Tide squad won the Southeastern Conference Western Division a year ago and advanced to the second round of the NCAA team Championships.
Mainz was named Intercollegiate Tennis Association South Region Coach of the Year in 2003, and her ability to draw consistently solid play from such a young squad will be tested again in 2004. Mainz has not lowered her sights, and she believes her hard-working squad can trump the high accomplishments of last season.
"Our team has set the bar very high," said head coach Jenny Mainz. "I think they want to win more than just the division and are ready for the next step. They are definitely up for the challenge."