May 13, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The 26th-ranked women's tennis team (15-6) will head to Athens, Ga., to take on No. 49 Utah (16-9) in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships on Saturday, May 14. First serve is slated for 8 a.m. CT at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
"The team is refreshed and ready to go, and I think we are playing with a renewed commitment and energy," Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. "We are thrilled to be representing Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama. The team is really excited for this chance."
The Crimson Tide goes into the competition coming off a close 4-3 fall to No. 19 Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championships. Alabama closed out the regular season with an 8-0 streak against league opponents. The Tide's last appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 2009 where it fell in the first round to Boise State, 4-3. Alabama is 4-9 overall in the tournament.
The Utes enter the tournament with an automatic bid after winning the Mountain West Conference Championship. In the final match, Utah topped TCU with a 4-1 victory for the conference crown. The Utes are led by junior Anastasia Putilina, who recently earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors. Utah is 0-4 in NCAA Championship play.
Alabama and Utah have already met once this season as the two teams faced off at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., where the Tide came out with a 4-2 victory.
The winner of this match will face the winner of the Georgia-Marist contest in the second round on Sunday, May 15, at 1 p.m. CT, for a chance to advance to the championships in Palo Alto, Calif.
Live scoring will be available for both matches and can be found by clicking here.