Tide Women Break Long Losing Streak
"We made history today," said Alabama Coach Jenny Mainz. "I'm not sure words can describe the feeling. This is a testament to all that have played here. I am so proud of this team and the way they stepped it up and took the match."
With the win, the Tide improves to 15-2 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the loss drops the Gators to 13-4 on the season and 5-2 against league opponents.
The match began with singles in the proposed experimental format for USTA College MatchDay. Florida took a 1-0 lead as eighth-ranked Olivia Janowicz beat No. 113 Danielle Spielmann, 6-1, 6-3 on court two. A 6-3, 6-2 win for Emily Zabor on court five over 78th-ranked Belinda Woolcock tied the match at 1-1, but the Gators would again take the lead as No. 22 Alexandra Cercone topped No. 64 Maya Jansen, 6-1, 6-3, while No. 23 Brianna Morgan posted a 7-5, 6-2 win against 58th-ranked Mary Anne Daines on court one. The Tide needed wins on the remaining two courts to stay alive, and it would get just that as No. 59 Erin Routliffe battled to a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over 38th-ranked Sofie Oyen, and Luicelena Perez fought for over four hours to top 44th-ranked Kourtney Keegan, 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(3).
With the match tied at 3-3, doubles would be played only this time in a sudden death-style format in a 10-point super tiebreaker. Florida wasted no time getting the win on court two as it cruised to a 10-0 victory. Zabor and Perez evened the count with a 10-5 win on court three, leaving the match up to court one. Jansen and Routliffe fell behind early and then trailed 9-7, but came back to win five of the last six points for the 12-10 victory.
"We believed in what we were doing and executed plays," added Mainz. "No. 1 and No. 3 doubles really stepped up, and you have to credit Luicelena for having the confidence and courage to finish. The experimental format really created a lot of excitement for both the teams and fans, and this was a well-fought match both ways."
Alabama hits the road this weekend to take on No. 11 Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Friday's match against the Commodores will begin at 3:30 p.m. CT, while Sunday's match versus the Wildcats is slated to begin at Noon CT.
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