Andie Dikosavljevic is shown in action last week at Auburn's NCAA regional.
Athens, Ga.--Looking to make Auburn history by advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament, Coach Lauren Spencer said her players seem ready to take on Texas Tech in a Friday match.
Auburn, which is ranked No. 11 nationally, will be playing a rematch vs. the Red Raiders, a team the Tigers defeated 4-2 on Feb. 25th in the finals of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala.
The Tigers have advanced to the Sweet 16 for a second year in a row by defeating DePaul 4-0 and FSU 4-2 in regional play at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn last weekend.
Last year Auburn’s season ended in this round of the tournament at Tulsa, Okla., with a 4-0 loss to Vanderbilt. The Tigers finished with a 24-8 record and their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
“The players are super excited and we had a great practice and I think it helps being here before,” Spencer said of the University of Georgia’s facility.
“We are not the new kids on the block any more and this is our second time around,” Spencer pointed out. “For us our nerves are better and we have a lot more confidence than we did last year.
“Being in a place we are very familiar with at Georgia in the SEC is also an advantage for us, I?think,” said the coach of a team that has a 25-10 record.
Lauren Spencer is in her sixth season as head coach of the Tigers.
Spencer noted the Tigers facing an opponent they had success against earlier this season is a plus. The Red Raiders won the doubles point, but strong play in the singles matches pulled out the victory for Auburn. It was the 100th Auburn career victory for Spencer since taking over program that was struggling.
“All of those factors come into play why we feel confident being here,” the coach added.
The Tigers feature No. 17 ranked singles player Alizee Michaud, a junior from Orlando, Fla., playing in the No. 1 spot. Another junior, Andie Dikosavljevic, is nationally ranked in singles at No. 29 and plays the No 2 spot.
Freshmen Taylor Russo and Georgie Axon are coming off of victories over FSU in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Alannah Griffin, a sophomore playing at No. 5, also won vs. FSU as did Dikosavljevic at No. 2. Caroline Turner, a sophomore, is expected to play the No. 6 singles spot.
Auburn’s top doubles team featuring Michaud and Russo is No. 14 nationally.
The Tigers are scheduled to take the court at 11 a.m. CDT on Friday with the winner of the match advancing to the Elite Eight to play either No. 3 seed Ohio State or No. 14 South Carolina.