Women Win, Men Fall In NCAA Tennis

The Alabama women's tennis team opened the NCAA Tournament with a first round victory in Tuscaloosa, but the Crimson Tide men were edged in their first round match at Southern Cal on Friday.

The ninth-ranked Alabama women's tennis team earned a 4-0 victory over Northwestern State in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championship on Friday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide advances to take on Memphis in Saturday's second round contest at 1 p.m. CT.

Meanwhile, the Alabama men's tennis team's efforts to come back after dropping the closest of doubles points fell just short as the Crimson Tide was edged out by San Diego, 4-3, on Friday in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championship at USC's Marks Stadium in Los Angeles.

"What I liked about today's match was that we stayed on it," said Coach Jenny Mainz. "We were not sloppy in any capacity. Northwestern State was a good team. I felt like we needed to come out early and make them feel that pressure from the beginning. I like how we did that consistently from one to six. I don't feel like two or three people did it, but that we did it at every spot. To me, that is the mark of a good team."

Alabama (20-5) got off to a strong start in doubles against the Lady Demons (14-8), winning on courts two and three for the first point of the match. The Tide's 83rd-ranked tandem of Antonia Foehse and Maya Jansen topped Natalya Krutova and Paulina Konop on court two, 8-2, and Natalia Maynetto and Emily Zabor followed with an 8-4 victory against Northwestern State's Amy Williams and Daniela Simonova on court three.

The momentum was not lost between doubles and singles for Alabama as the Tide won five of the six first sets, dropping a combined three games. As the match progressed, courts two through five got on pace to finish simultaneously, making for an exciting ending. Jansen was first to finish, knocking off Krutova, 6-0, 6-1 on court three. Foehse was next to close out her match, posting a 6-0, 6-1 win from the No. 4 position over Andrea Nedorostova. The clincher could have come from two, five or six, but it was Maynetto at No. 5 beating out not only her opponent, but also her teammates to clinch the victory.

Depending on weather, Saturday's match will either be played outdoors at the Alabama Tennis Stadium or indoors at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. Tickets can be purchased at the door beginning at Noon CT. The cost is $5 for general admission or $3 for UA students.

The season is over for the men's team. With the loss, Alabama ends the team season with a 14-14 record, while the Toreros improve to 18-9 overall, advancing to Saturday's second round.

"Hats off to (San Diego head coach) Brett Masi and the Toreros for battling down to the stretch," said Alabama Coach George Husack. "There's a lot to be proud of this year with the strides we made. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is all a part of the process. It's time to get back to work because we have more to accomplish."

San Diego claimed the doubles points thanks to come-from-behind efforts from its No. 1 and No. 3 tandems, earning the point in just under two hours. Alabama's Becker O'Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura made quick work at No. 2 doubles, nailing down an 8-2 win over San Diego's Ciaran Fitzgerald and Uros Petronijevic. At No. 1, the Toreros duo of Clarke Spinosa and Thibaut Visy came back from a 3-6 deficit to force a tiebreaker, which they would win, 7-3, over the Tide's Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra. With attention now turned to court three, San Diego staged another rally as Romain Kalaydjian and Victor Pugliese came back from 4-6 and 6-7 down to force a tiebreaker. From there, they never trailed and took the tiebreaker over Alabama's Stuart Kenyon and Philippe Tsangarides, 7-5, clinching the doubles point.

Proskura won the first singles match at No. 3, 6-4, 6-1, over Kalaydjian, to even the score at 1-1, but Petronijevic downed Tsangarides, 6-4, 6-3, to put San Diego back on top. Vieyra again evened the match with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 win over Pugliese at No. 5 singles, but the Toreros regained the lead at 3-2 after Visy took his No. 1 singles match over Botha, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. Kenyon defeated Fitzgerald, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 at No. 6 singles to tie the match, but just as that finished, Spinosa began to take control of the third set at court two and ultimately defeated O'Shaughnessey, 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-1.

"This was a tough match today," added Husack. "It was hard to swallow, especially with the leads we had in doubles, but I am happy with the way the guys clawed their way back in singles."

The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will take place May 22-27 in Urbana, Ill., on the campus of the University of Illinois. Representing the Tide will be Botha and Vieyra in doubles and Botha in singles. O'Shaughnessey and Proskura are also second alternates to get into the doubles field of 32.

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