“Our team showed a lot of resiliency and a lot of fight, and it’s pretty cool to be the first women’s team to ever win this tournament in back-to-back years, said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “Over the course of the weekend we showed a lot of mental toughness and stamina. We played with a lot of tenacity all weekend.”
After earning a victory in her doubles match, and clinching a commanding 6-1, 6-2 win in singles play, the Blue Gray tournament committee named junior Maya Jansen the 2015 Blue Gray Classic MVP. Jansen went a perfect 3-0 in doubles play over the course of the three-day tournament, while also earning a pair of victories in singles.
A competitive doubles match saw the Crimson Tide and the Red Raiders begin play by splitting a pair of victories on courts one and three. Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen earned a 6-2 victory on court one, while Luice Perez and Aryn Green were handed their first loss of the weekend, 6-2 on court three. Emily Zabor and Danielle Spielmann secured the point for the Tide with a 6-2 victory on court two.
The Tide and Red Raiders exchanged points to begin singles play, as tournament MVP Maya Jansen earned a quick 6-1, 6-2 win on court 2, before Zabor dropped a hard-fought, 6-1, 6-2 match on court 4. Natalia Maynetto pushed the Tide’s lead to 3-1 with a 6-1, 6-2 win in straight sets on court 6 to set the table for an unforgettable showdown between Danielle Spielmann and Texas Tech’s Sarah Dvorak on court 2.
With the scored tied at 6-6, Spielmann and Dvorak entered a tiebreaker match that would ultimately seal the victory – and the tournament – for the Tide. After falling behind 2-0 in the first-to-seven tiebreaker, Spielmann fought back to take a 3-2 lead. With the score again tied at 6-6, it was Spielmann that rose to occasion and clinched a 7-6 win – and the match – for the Tide.
“I’ve never been the one playing in a tiebreaker to decide a match,” said Spielmann. “I felt like I had to step up and play my best tennis to win the match – luckily, I was able to do that and we came out on top.”
The Crimson Tide now returns to Tuscaloosa with its sights set on the start of the conference season on February 27 at Florida.
“I feel ready for sure,” Mainz said of the upcoming SEC schedule. “That’s the season. I’m never going to say that we have nothing to work on, and that we are completely ready, but we’ve had a lot of progress – our objective remains to just get a little better every day.”