Sept. 10, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The women's tennis team kicks off the fall portion of its schedule this weekend heading to Nashville to take part in the SEC Coaches Fall Classic. The three day tournament begins Friday, Sept. 11 and ends Sunday, Sept. 13. Vanderbilt is the host school and all 12 SEC teams are slated to compete.
The Crimson Tide returns six letter winners from a year ago, while only losing one senior, Shelley Godwin, to graduation. Alabama also welcomes in one newcomer to this year's team, giving the team two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and one freshman.
The Tide will be led by its duo of seniors, Paulina Bigos and Alice Tunaru. Last season, Bigos primarily played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles for Alabama. She finished the season with 17 singles wins and 26 doubles wins. Tunaru saw limited action in singles last season, but she was a perfect 4-0 in dual matches. She also collected 15 doubles wins on the season, including holding a 6-3 record at the No. 3 doubles spot.
Juniors Meritt Emery and Tiffany Welcher will also help lead the Tide this season. Emery was second on the team in overall and dual singles wins last season, including an impressive 14-7 record at the No. 4 position. Welcher played every match last season in the No. 1 singles spot, collecting 10 wins, while also going 12-8 at the No. 1 doubles position and 14-9 overall in dual matches.
Sophomores Courtney McLane and Taylor Lindsey both stepped into starting roles right away last season for Alabama, and that experience should pay off this season. McLane finished with a 14-8 record at the No. 2 singles position, while primarily teaming up with Welcher to play No. 1 doubles. Lindsey was outstanding in singles a year ago, going 14-2 in the No. 6 spot on her way to notching 27 wins overall. Those 27 wins were most on the team. She also picked up 21 doubles wins, making her the only player to win at least 20 matches in both singles and doubles last season.
Freshman Alexa Guarachi comes in with an impressive resume and should pick up right where McLane and Lindsey left off. The Destin, Florida native is currently ranked on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour. Guarachi was a Blue Chip recruit who was the No. 5 overall recruit in the nation and No. 2 in the Southeast Region. She helped South Walton High School to a second place finish in the state championship and won the state title at the No. 1 singles position last year as a senior.
Next up, the Tide will travel to Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Tennis Classic. The tournament opens on Friday, Sept. 18 and ends on Sunday, Sept. 20.