Thursday, May 05, 2005
Alabama juniors Robin Stephenson and Ashley Bentley have received at-large bids into the 2005 NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championships to begin May 23 in Athens, Ga.
For Stephenson, this is her second consecutive berth into the singles draw. Bentley was an alternate in 2004.
“I’m extremely proud of these girls,” Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. “They’ve worked hard to get to this point. Ashley made a commitment after being an alternate last year to make in on her own this year and she has done just that.”
Stephenson, ranked sixth in the latest ITA ranking, is the highest ranked Alabama player in school history and boasts a 26-12 record this season including 14 wins over ranked opponents. She is currently riding a five-match winning streak and has won eight of her last 10 matches. A year ago she advanced to the second round of the singles draw.
Bentley is 25-9 on the season with four wins over ranked opponents and is ranked 57th by the ITA. She has won five of her last six matches and completed the 2005 season with an 11-2 home record. Last week she was voted team MVP by her teammates. This will be Bentley’s first appearance in the NCAA singles draw, although last season she played in the NCAA doubles draw with Stephenson.
Stephenson’s and Bentley’s selection into the NCAA Championships marks just the second time that Alabama will send two competitors to the Championships and the first time since 1982. Stephenson is also just the second player from Alabama to qualify for the NCAA Championships a second time.
The singles competition will begin on Monday, May 23 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The exact draw will be set following the team championships on May 21.