Monday, March 01, 2004
Alabama women’s tennis sophomore Robin Stephenson was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after a perfect 4-0 SEC start, winning two singles matches and two doubles matches in the opening weekend of conference play.
Stephenson capped her perfect weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., leading the Crimson Tide to a 4-3 triumph over the Lady Vols (5-7, 1-1 SEC) on Sunday. In singles play, Stephenson pulled off her second upset of a ranked opponent with a convincing win over Tennessee’s 27th-ranked Tammy Encina in straight-sets, 6-3, 6-0. Stephenson teamed with Ashley Bentley, clinching the doubles point with a 9-8 win at No. 1 doubles over the Lady Vols.
On Friday, Stephenson defeated the Top-ranked player in the country, Agata Cioroch, in Alabama’s league opener, handing the Lady Bulldog senior only her 3rd loss of the season. Playing at No. 1 singles, Stephenson captured the first set against Cioroch 6-3, and was up 5-2 in the second, but ended up losing the set in a tiebreaker. Stephenson immediately went up 3-1 in the super-breaker before winning 10-8.
Stephenson partnered with Bentley in doubles to defeat Georgia’s Cioroch and Alexandra Smith 8-3 at No. 1 doubles. Alabama (5-4, 1-1 SEC) dropped the match to the No. 2 Bulldogs (8-1, 2-0 SEC), 5-2.
“She’s truly deserving of this award,” Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. “It’s a phenomenal start to the SEC season and a testament to her deciding she’s turned a corner and can play against anyone in the country. From a mental aspect she’s decided that she’s going to lead this team.”
Alabama is back in action at home this weekend, hosting Ole Miss on Friday at 3 p.m. and Mississippi Sate on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the UA Rec courts.