Tide Tennis Opens SEC Competition

The names are the same for Alabama men's and women's tennis teams as Southeastern Conference competition begins this weekend. Both squads open up with weekend play against Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Bama women, though, will be home, while the Tide men will travel.



The 10th-ranked Alabama women's tennis team (8-2) opens SEC play hosting Mississippi State (8-2) at 5 p.m. CST Friday and entertaining Ole Miss (5-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.

The Alabama men' team (6-5) will hit the road playing No. 16 Mississippi State (10-4) in Starkville at 2 p.m. CST Friday, then meeting and Ole Miss (2-3 Sunday in Oxford at 1 p.m. CST.

WOMEN

Alabama went 3-0 last week to capture the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic finals in Montgomery, beating Illinois, No. 21 Texas Tech and No. 24 Rice. Senior Mary Anne Daines was named MVP of the tournament after clinching the 4-3 victory in the finals, 7-5, 6-7, 10-6, over Rice's Natalie Beazant. The Tide has now won eight doubles points in the 10 matches it has played this season. Daines and freshman Danielle Spielmann went 3-0 in doubles on the weekend from court two, helping the Tide win the doubles point in every match.

Mississippi State has won its last four straight matches, all of which have been shutouts. Seniors Roseline Dion and Alexandra Perper are both undefeated on the season in singles, posting records of 8-0 and 7-0, respectively. In doubles, the Bulldogs are led at the top by freshman Timea Guibe and Perper, who hold a 7-2 mark in dual match play.

Ole Miss is coming off a pair of wins last weekend against Lipscomb and Memphis at home. Like the Tide, the Rebels have been extremely successful in winning the doubles point, taking it in five of their six matches thus far. All three positions have done well for Ole Miss as they boast a combined 14-3 record this season. In singles, senior Caroline Rohde-Moe and sophomore Mai El Kamash are 4-0 to lead the Rebels at the top of the lineup.

Alabama posts a 33-11 all-time record against Mississippi State, but trails Ole Miss, 29-15. Both of the Tide's last wins against the two schools came last season as Alabama beat the Bulldogs, 6-1, and the Rebels, 4-3, on the road.

MEN

Alabama is coming off a 2-1 performance last week at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. The Tide lost its first-round match to eventual champion Boise State on Friday, but bounced back for wins against Princeton, 4-0, and Auburn, 4-1, to take the consolation finals. Freshman Sean Donohue went 2-0 in singles on the weekend, clinching the match against Auburn from court five over 85th-ranked Dante Saleh, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Alabama also got singles victories from senior Daniil Proskura, junior Stuart Kenyon, sophomore Becker O'Shaughnessey and freshman Nikko Madregallejo throughout the weekend.

Mississippi State also competed at the Blue Gray last week, going 1-2 with losses to VCU and Auburn before beating Princeton. The Bulldogs won their first eight matches of the season and have captured nine doubles points thus far. Sophomore Jordan Angus has a team-high nine singles wins in dual match play, playing primarily from the No. 3 position. In doubles, freshman Rishab Agarwal and senior Zach White have been the most successful duo, going 6-1 from court three.

Ole Miss played its first outdoor matches of the season last weekend in Waco, Texas, going 1-1 with a win over SMU and a loss to seventh-ranked Baylor. Junior Nik Scholtz leads the way at No. 1 singles for the Rebels and is 2-0 on the season. In doubles, senior Johan Backstrom and sophomore Stefan Lindmark stand at 2-1 at the top of the lineup for Ole Miss.

Mississippi State leads the series against Alabama, 45-32, with the Tide's last victory coming in 2010, while Ole Miss holds a slight 33-30 edge over Alabama. The Tide last beat the Rebels a year ago with a 4-3 victory at the SEC Tournament.

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