TUSCALOOSA, AL. – The 35th-ranked Alabama women's tennis team (9-5, 2-3 SEC) will host No. 15 Arkansas (13-6, 3-3 SEC) and No. 53 LSU (9-9, 3-3 SEC) on Friday, April 1, and Sunday, April 3, respectively. The Crimson Tide's match against the Razorbacks is slated to begin at 3 p.m., while the contest between the Tide and Tigers will start at 1 p.m. CT. Sunday's match will also serve as the tennis team's annual Power of Pink event, helping to raise awareness for breast cancer.
"We're looking forward to hosting our Power of Pink match on Sunday," Alabama Head Coach Jenny Mainz said. "This is a meaningful way to pay tribute to all affected by breast cancer. Our team will play with the unwilling-to-yield mentality that is representative of breast cancer victims."
Several giveaways will be on hand for the weekend, beginning with a gift certificate to Tera Lane Salon, as well as t-shirts and tennis cups on Friday. Sunday's match will include pink t-shirts to the first 300 fans in attendance. Marketing will also be giving out an iPad, two pink iPod shuffles, tumblers, hats, umbrellas and headbands.
Last time out, Alabama earned a pair of Southeastern Conference victories with a 6-1 win over Kentucky at home and a 4-3 win at No. 14 Vanderbilt. In Sunday's 4-3 thriller against the Commodores, the Tide dominated doubles, dropping a combined four games across all three courts. The Tide then got straight-set wins from sophomores Alexa Guarachi and Antonia Foehse on courts two and five, respectively, but the final point would take some time. Junior Courtney McLane provided the clinching victory on court three, where she came back from a first set loss to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to give Alabama its first victory over Vanderbilt since 1994. In this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, freshman Mary Anne Macfarlane leads the trio of Tide players in singles at No. 40. She is followed by Guarachi, who comes in at No. 85, and McLane, who ranks No. 111. In doubles, Guarachi and McLane stand at No. 15, while Macfarlane and Foehse moved to No. 60.
Arkansas enters Friday's contest on a two-match losing skid. The Razorbacks fell, 6-1, against No. 21 Tennessee before being swept at No. 7 Georgia. Arkansas is currently 4-2 in road matches this season. The Razorbacks boast one nationally-ranked singles player in senior Anouk Tigu, who ranks 27th. In doubles, Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson rank 24th nationally.
LSU has also lost its last two matches, both in 7-0 fashion to the Bulldogs and Lady Volunteers. The Tigers had a packed month of March, playing 11 matches, five of which were to non-conference opponents. LSU is 3-4 on the road thus far during the 2011 season. Junior Whitney Wolf is the lone Tiger ranked in the national singles standings, where she is 66th. In doubles, Wolf and sophomore Kaitlin Burns stand at No. 62.
"The team is inspired and looking forward to beginning the SEC West season," Mainz added. "Last weekend was a breakthrough for us and provided the lift we've been working eagerly towards. We have much respect for both Arkansas and LSU and realize both matches will be well contested."
Following its home stand, the Tide will hit the road for a pair of SEC Western Division away matches when it takes on Mississippi and Mississippi State on April 8 and April 10, respectively.