NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 54th-ranked Alabama women's tennis team outlasted No. 14 Vanderbilt 4-3 in a match that lasted over four hours at the Currey Tennis Center. The Crimson Tide took the doubles point handily, but was tested in singles. Junior Courtney McLane provided the clinching win for Alabama at the No. 3 position. The win for the Tide (9-5, 2-3 SEC) was its first over the Commodores (9-6, 3-3 SEC) since March 2, 1994.
"Today was a total team effort," Alabama Head Coach Jenny Mainz said. "It was a breakthrough match for the Crimson Tide. This team has been working tirelessly to make this happen. We came back after spring break ready to work. We believed we would get through it, and that we needed to just keep chipping away. This is a fantastic win for our team."
Alabama dominated doubles play giving up a combined four games across each of the three courts. First to finish was the matchup on court one where the Tide's 12th-ranked team of McLane and sophomore Alexa Guarachi took down 63rd-ranked senior Rachael Dillon and freshman Alex Leatu, 8-2. From there, Alabama sophomore Antonia Foehse and freshman Mary Anne Macfarlane, the No. 58 team in the nation, clinched the point with an 8-1 win over Commodore freshman Lauren Mira and senior Keilly Ulery. Junior Taylor Lindsey and freshman Alex Clay would complete the sweep of doubles posting an 8-1 decision over juniors Jackie Wu and Chelsea Preeg.
"Our doubles was absolutely phenomenal today," Mainz added. "To give up just four points to a top-15 team speaks volumes. It certainly gave us a boost heading into singles."
Vanderbilt struck first in singles as Wu earned a 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 104 Clay on court four. The Tide then got a pair of straight-set wins on courts two and five with 93rd-ranked Guarachi taking down 69th-ranked Preeg, 6-3, 6-4, and Foehse knocking off No. 97 Dillon, 6-4, 6-4. The Commodores tacked on their second point of the match with a win on court one as 91st-ranked Leatu came back to beat 32nd-ranked Macfarlane 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Vanderbilt would even the score at 3-3 with a win on court six as Ulery outlasted Lindsey 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. With all eyes on court three, McLane delivered after dropping her first set as she topped Mira, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 to give the Tide the win.
"Alexa made a huge difference today," Mainz said. "She had a tough match and really gave us a boost. Antonia also played a great match, and for Courtney to be in the position to clinch the match was fantastic. I want to emphasize, however, that this was a total team effort. This will give us a lot of confidence as we go on to finish the rest of this season."
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.
1. No. 12 Guarachi/McLane (UA) def. No. 63 Dillon/Leatu (VU) 8-2
2. Clay/Lindsey (UA) def. Preeg/Wu (VU) 8-1
3. No. 58 Foehse/Macfarlane (UA) def. Mira/Ulery (VU) 8-1
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. No. 91 Alex Leatu (VU) def. No. 32 Mary Anne Macfarlane (UA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
2. No. 93 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. No. 69 Chelsea Preeg (VU) 6-3, 6-4
3. No. 101 Courtney McLane (UA) def. Lauren Mira (VU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
4. Jackie Wu (VU) def. No. 104 Alex Clay (UA) 6-1, 6-3
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. No. 97 Rachael Dillon (VU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Keilly Ulery (VU) def. Taylor Lindsey (UA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish: 4,2,5,1,6,3