TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 54th-ranked Alabama women's tennis team (7-5, 0-3 SEC) will host the Kentucky Wildcats (3-13, 1-3 SEC) on Friday, March 25, at 3 p.m. CT before travelling to Nashville to face No. 14 Vanderbilt (8-5, 2-2 SEC) on Sunday, March 27. First serve against the Commodores in slated for Noon CT.
"We had time over spring break to recharge our batteries and regroup after a tough start in SEC play," Alabama Head Coach Jenny Mainz said. "I tell our team all the time that the best part of playing in the SEC is for the opportunities we get week in and week out. I'm optimistic about the last stretch of the conference season."
In its last outings, the Crimson Tide fell on the road to Southeastern Conference foes Florida and South Carolina. Alabama lost by a 6-1 count to the Gators with the Tide's lone win coming from freshman Alex Clay, as she knocked off Alex Cercone, who was ranked 35th in the nation at the time. While Alabama dropped the doubles point to the top-ranked Gators, the Tide tandem of sophomore Antonia Foehse and freshman Mary Anne Macfarlane pulled off an impressive 9-8(5) win over Florida freshman Sofie Oyen and senior Caroline Hitimana. Against the Gamecocks, the Tide was edged out of the doubles point by way of dropping a tiebreak on court two. South Carolina was able to take four of the six singles matches for the win, with three of those being decided in three sets.
In the latest polls, Alabama has four singles players ranked along with a pair of doubles teams. Macfarlane leads the group Tide netters in singles with a ranking of 32. She is followed by sophomore Alexa Guarachi and junior Courtney McLane, who come in at No. 93 and No. 101, respectively. Clay is making her first appearance in the nation singles rankings, falling in at No. 104 this week. In doubles, Guarachi and McLane rank 12th, while Foehse and Macfarlane stand at No. 58.
Kentucky is in the midst of a five match losing streak, though all of those matches were played on the road. The Wildcats' latest loss came at the hands of Texas Tech, 4-2. Kentucky has one player ranked in singles, with senior Megan Broderick standing at No. 112. The Wildcats do not have any ranked doubles teams.
The Commodores are in the midst of a three match losing streak, though all of those matches were played against ranked opponents, with two coming against SEC foes in No. 7 Georgia and No. 18 Tennessee. Vanderbilt's latest loss came at home against No. 20 Georgia Tech as the final match came down to a third set tiebreak on court three singles. Commodore junior Chelsea Preeg ranks 69th in the nation in singles, while freshman Alex Leatu comes in at No. 91. In doubles, Preeg and freshman Lauren Mira rank 56th, and Leatu and senior Rachael Dillon, 63rd.
"This weekend will require our best," Mainz added. "We know that our league is so strong and anything can happen. I believe our team will turn the corner and take advantage of the chances in front of us."
Alabama returns home next weekend for a pair of SEC matchups as it is scheduled to host Arkansas and LSU. Friday's match against the Razorbacks will begin at 3 p.m., while Sunday's contest versus the Tigers will start at 1 p.m. CT.