TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 33rd-ranked Alabama women's tennis team (7-3, 0-1 SEC) hits the road for the first time since beginning its Southeastern Conference schedule to take on No. 1 Florida (13-1, 2-0 SEC) and 44th-ranked South Carolina (6-4, 0-2 SEC). The Crimson Tide will meet up with the Gators on Friday, March 11, at 5 p.m. CT, while Sunday's contest against the Gamecocks is slated for 1 p.m. CT.
"This weekend presents many opportunities for us, especially playing the No. 1 team in the country in Florida," Alabama Head Coach Jenny Mainz said. "I really feel like we are getting better each week and that there has been a noticeable difference from month-to-month. We have progressed both individually and as a team, and there are definitely some spots where we have made breakthroughs including Alexa Guarachi and Alex Clay. We continue to improve our doubles point, which puts us in a good position to take the match. The team is really excited for this road trip."
Alabama had a rainy start to SEC play as its match against No. 18 Tennessee was suspended last Friday and will be resumed at a later date. Because of the weather, the two teams decided to start with singles where only one match was able to finish, as freshman Alex Clay gave the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-1 win on court four over Maria Sorbello. On Sunday, Alabama nearly knocked off 13th-ranked Georgia, but came up just shy 4-3. The Tide claimed its 10th doubles points in as many matches with Clay and junior Taylor Lindsey coming back from a 7-4 deficit to win 9-7 on court two. The Tide then took singles victories at No. 3 and No. 4 before the Bulldogs would win the final four matches for the team victory.
Florida is in the midst of a 16-match regular season winning streak against conference opponents, with the Gators most recent victories coming at LSU and Arkansas. In addition, Florida has won its past 96 regular-season matches at home. In its 13 wins, the Gators have yet to give up more than two points a match. Florida currently has five singles players ranked in the top 35, led by sophomore Allie Will, who comes in at No. 7. In doubles, the Gators boast the nation's No. 1 team in Will and freshman Sofie Oyen.
South Carolina enters the weekend on a three-match losing skid having dropped matches at Clemson, Arkansas and LSU. Prior to that, The Gamecocks were 6-1 with their only loss coming to Arizona State. South Carolina has one ranked singles player in junior Anya Morgina, who stands at No. 65. In doubles, Gamecock junior Dijana Stojic and freshman Dominika Kanakova are ranked No. 54.