Alabama women's tennis star Robin Stephenson enters this weekend's action with 87 career wins, one shy of Jenny Whalen's school mark of 88. She'll look to tie that mark Friday afternoon when the No. 26 Crimson Tide (7-5, 3-1 SEC) take to the courts to battle SEC rival Tennessee (7-7, 3-1 SEC) in Knoxville, Tenn. If all goes well Friday, then Stephenson could possibly set the all-time mark in front of the home crowd Sunday afternoon as Alabama hosts Georgia (7-6, 3-1 SEC) at 1 p.m. at the UA Tennis Complex.
Stephenson is 19-6 on the season and is riding a five-match winning streak. Along with fellow senior Ashley Bentley, who is 19-9 and riding a five-match winning streak of her own, they are two major reasons why the Tide sits atop the SEC Western Division and is just one game out of the overall conference lead. Stephenson and Bentley have combined to win 19 of 24 matches played at the top two singles positions this season during dual-match play and have been just as spectacular in doubles, going 9-2 in dual-match play and 20-5 overall.
Last weekend the Tide won its fifth consecutive match by defeating No. 22 Michigan, 4-3, on the strength of Natalie McElveen's come-from-behind victory at No. 6 singles. McElveen was rewarded earlier this week by the SEC for her efforts as she was named SEC Player of the Week.
If Alabama is to extend its winning streak any further, it'll have to play solid tennis again this weekend. Tennessee is fresh off an upset of No. 15 Texas and has won five of its last six matches. Alabama has won the last two meetings in the series with Tennessee, including last year's six-and-half hour marathon victory in Tuscaloosa. Georgia features three singles players ranked in the Fila/ITA top 60 as well as the No. 8-ranked doubles team. The Bulldogs have won four of their last five and will be fighting to stay atop the SEC Eastern Division.
Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend. Admission to Sunday's match is free.