UA Women's Tennis Collects Honors
Alabama Coach Jenny Mainz was named the SEC Coach of the Year, while Mary Anne Macfarlane took home Freshman of the Year honors and junior Courtney McLane earned the league's Scholar-Athlete of the Year nod. In addition, sophomore Alexa Guarachi and Macfarlane were named to the All-SEC First Team, McLane to the All-SEC Second Team and Macfarlane to the All-Freshman Team.
For Mainz, this marks her first Coach of the Year honor in the SEC. Following the 2009 season, she was named the Wilson/ITA South Region Coach of the Year after guiding the Tide to an 11-0 start and a national ranking of 16. This season, Alabama closed out its regular season winning eight straight conference matches, marking the most consecutive league wins in program history. She has had three singles players and two doubles teams ranked nationally for the majority of the season and led Guarachi, Macfarlane and McLane to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in the fall.
"This is certainly a collective accolade," Mainz said. "This recognition is a testament to the team's commitment, diligence and hard work. It's also a demonstration of all hands pitching in to get a little better each week. Rahim Esmail, our assistant coach, has been instrumental in the success of our program and continues to find ways to make us better. It's a team effort."
Macfarlane, who hails from Ogden, Utah, put together one of the most decorated freshman seasons for the Tide. During her rookie campaign, she ranked as high as No. 15 in singles and No. 32 in doubles in the ITA's national rankings. Macfarlane played at the No. 1 singles position for the entire dual match season defeating seven nationally ranked opponents along the way. In the fall, she won the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Singles final to advance to the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships where she played in the consolation finals. In doubles, she, and partner Antonia Foehse, had just one loss throughout 17 doubles matches during the dual match season.
"Mary Anne is truly deserving of this recognition," Mainz said. "She has inspired our team with her dedication and determination. She has battled in the top position all spring which is difficult as a freshman. Mary Anne has demonstrated much fortitude and resiliency."
Since stepping foot on campus three years ago, McLane has excelled both athletically and academically. In May, the Lawrenceville, Ga. native will earn her undergraduate degree in management boasting a perfect 4.0 grade point average. McLane is a member of numerous honor societies and was named to the 2010 SEC Academic Honor Roll and the All-SEC Second Team. She was a two-time SEC Player of the Week this year and earned a program-high ranking of No. 2 with doubles partner, Guarachi.
"The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is a prestigious distinction as women's tennis boasts some of the best and brightest in the classroom," Mainz added. "Courtney stands out in her academic performance as she has earned a 4.0 grade point average while graduating in management in only three years. Courtney has set the bar very high academically for our team and has done an excellent job leading by example."
Guarachi, as previously mentioned, has enjoyed much success in doubles with McLane as the duo defeated 10 nationally ranked opponents this season, all at the No. 1 position. The team's 28 doubles victories this season ties the most for a tandem in program history. Guarachi, a sophomore from Destin, Fla., has also collected the most singles wins in dual match play for the Tide this season with 15. She has ranked as high as No. 38 in singles taking down six nationally ranked foes along the way.
"Mary Anne, Alexa and Courtney are to be commended for being named to the All-SEC Teams," Mainz said. "The SEC has a reputation for consistently being a leading conference especially in women's tennis. We face off with the most competitive players and the best teams week in and week out. It's rewarding to see their endeavors recognized. Mary Anne, Alexa and Courtney did an outstanding job of leading the charge at the top spots while coming up big in pivotal situations. They embraced the opportunity to direct our team after our squad was struggling in mid-March. I believe their maturity, discipline and experience showed up when we needed it most."
Alabama is currently awaiting its draw for the 2011 NCAA Championships, which will be announced on Tuesday, May 3, at 4 p.m. CT.
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