Alabama Loses Heartbreaker to South Alabama, 4-3


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Natalie McElveen

The Alabama women’s tennis team lost a 4-3 heartbreaker Wednesday to No. 30 South Alabama.

Alabama jumped out to 3-2 lead with two matches remaining, but couldn’t close the deal in the end and lost to a non-conference opponent at home for just the second time this season.

South Alabama’s Dominika Nemcovicova and Dijan Stanic won the final two singles matches to put the Jaguars over the top for the win.

The Tide’s top three singles players put Alabama ahead with solid performances and gave the Tide a chance for the win. Robin Stephenson and Ashley Bentley each claimed their 24th wins of the season and Melissa Minor earned win No. 13 on the year. But the wins at the top of the line-up are nothing new for Alabama this season. The Tide is now 27-11 at the top two positions and Ashley Bentley is now 9-1 at home.

The difference in the match however, turned out to be doubles and it was once again Alabama’s Achilles heel. The Tide has not played well from behind this season and is 0-11 when it loses the doubles point. The same proved true Wednesday.

Stephenson and Natalie McElveen started doubles off well for Alabama with a win, but USA’s Klara Jarova and Andrea Kurekova won at No. 2 to even things up. Then, USA’s Stanic and Nemcovicova stayed off defeat, fighting back from a 6-5 deficit to win 9-7 and give USA the lead.

Alabama will close out the regular season this Saturday at home against rival Auburn at 4 p.m. Alabama will then host the SEC Championship beginning next Thursday.