April 17, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. -
The third-ranked women's tennis team will play its first match of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Friday at 2 p.m. CT at the Mizzou Tennis Complex. As the top-seeded team in the field, the Crimson Tide earned a pair of byes and will take on the winner of the No. 8 South Carolina/No. 9 Ole Miss match in the quarterfinals.
Alabama won its first SEC Championship over the weekend with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory at No. 8 Georgia and a 4-0 win at No. 31 Tennessee to finish the regular season 20-3 overall and 12-1 against league opponents. The win against the Volunteers on Sunday was also head coach Jenny Mainz's 200th win at Alabama. The Tide has now finished with 20 or more wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time under Mainz, while it was the fifth 20-win season overall in program history. Luicelena Perez extended her winning streak to 10-straight matches with the clinching victory over the Bulldogs' Mia King on Friday, which also gave her an undefeated 8-0 record in singles in SEC play this year.
South Carolina finished the regular season 15-9 and 6-7 in conference play. The Gamecocks currently have two ranked singles players in No. 84 Elixane Lechemia and No. 106 Katerina Popova, as well as two duos ranked in doubles with No. 43 Dominika Kanakova and Lechemia as well as No. 47 Meghan Blevins and Popova. In the regular-season meeting, the Tide won 4-1 in Columbia, S.C., taking the doubles point followed by singles victories from Danielle Spielmann, Emily Zabor and Luicelena Perez.
Ole Miss heads into postseason play at 13-8 overall and 6-7 in the SEC. The Rebels' lone ranked singles player is No. 100 Julia Jones, and they also have one duo ranked in doubles with No. 87 Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven. Alabama and Ole Miss played on the opening weekend of SEC play on March 2, in Tuscaloosa where the Tide came away with a 4-0 victory. Alabama won the doubles point and got singles wins from Erin Routliffe, Maya Jansen and Zabor.
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