Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Alabama women’s tennis team evened its record up on Sunday with a 4-3 win over the Rice Owls (6-3) at the UA tennis complex.
Robin Stephenson clinched the match for Alabama (3-3) in the final match of the day with a gutsy three-set match victory over Rice’s Blair DiSesa. Stephenson took the opening set by winning the tiebreaker 7-3. DiSesa then fought back to even the match at one set a piece, however Stephenson put the pedal to the floor in third and final set, winning it 6-0 and clinching the match for Alabama.
“This was an important match for us today,” Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. “We needed to prove to ourselves that we could win a big match against a solid team. Rice is very good and I’m proud of how this team battled.”
Ashley Bentley rolled to an easy 6-0, 6-0 victory over Kimberly Pentanaude at No. 2 singles to give Alabama a 2-0 lead. After Rice claimed its first victory of the day to move to within one point, Mari Muller stretched the lead back to two with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles.
In an attempt to reverse the Tide’s luck in doubles, Mainz changed up Alabama’s double’s line-up Sunday. All three of Alabama’s doubles teams on Sunday played together for the first time and it paid off as the Tide won all three doubles matches to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. Stephenson and Natalie McElveen cruised at No. 1 doubles winning 8-1. Melissa Minor and Sonja Nikolic then clinched the point for Alabama with an 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles.
“We changed things up today because we want them to learn to play as a team and work together,” Mainz said. “I feel like we did that. We adjusted well and communicated well today.”
Alabama is now 2-0 at home this season and will have a chance to extend that record to 4-0 with a pair of matches in Tuscaloosa next weekend. Miami will roll into town on Friday, February 25 and Murray State will be the opponent on Saturday, February 26.
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Alabama
Feb 20, 2005 at UA Tennis Complex
#37 Alabama 4, #39 Rice 3
1. #8 Robin Stephenson (BAMA) def. #89 Blair DiSesa (RICE) 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-0
2. #75 Ashley Bentley (BAMA) def. Kimberley Pentenaude (RICE) 6-0, 6-0
3. Tracie Chong (RICE) def. Melissa Minor (BAMA) 6-4, 6-4
4. Dominique Karas (RICE) def. Anrdea Brenes (BAMA) 6-1, 7-5
5. Mari Muller (BAMA) def. Christine Dao (RICE) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
6. Medeja Egic (RICE) def. Natalie McElveen (BAMA) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
1. Robin Stephenson/Natalie McElveen (BAMA) def. Kimberley Pentenaude/Blair DiSesa (RICE) 8-1
2. Ashley Bentley/Mari Muller (BAMA) def. Tracie Chong/Dominique Karas (RICE) 9-7
3. Melissa Minor/Sonja Nikolic (BAMA) def. Christine Dao/Medeja Egic (RICE) 8-5
Rice 6-3; National ranking #39
Alabama 3-3; National ranking #37
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,3,4,5,6,1)