Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Women’s tennis team reaches program firsts

All the right factors needed to fall into place over the weekend: Vanderbilt had to lose, and Alabama had to win out. Both happened, and the No. 3 Alabama women’s tennis team clinched sole possession of its first SEC regular season title Sunday.

The No. 3 ranking now is the highest ranking in program history.

“Roll Tide. It’s been a long time in the works. I’m proud of this team,” coach Jenny Mainz said. “They’ve worked diligently and worked together. We really haven’t had one hero of the year. We’ve had stand out performances, but I think every one of them, all eight of them, have contributed.”

The Crimson Tide played a tough match against No. 6 Georgia. Both were competing for the SEC regular season top spot. Alabama was down 3-2 when juniors Emily Zabor and Luicelena Perez came back in their matches to win 4-3. Vanderbilt, who was also in contention, lost Friday to Florida. That meant Alabama had to take care of business against rival Tennessee. It did just that and clinched the regular season title with a 4-0 win.

(See also “Tide women’s tennis team defeats Aggies“)

“It was just an awesome weekend overall,” Zabor said. “It’s a complete team effort, and we celebrated that day. But we were talking today at practice, we just have to get hungry again for another SEC title.”

Alabama will play in the SEC Tournament this weekend. The team holds the No. 1 seed and will not have to play until the Friday of quarterfinals. The bye will give the team rest and more time to prepare.

“I think, obviously, the fresher you are the better you will play, and not having to play until Friday, already being in the quarterfinals, is such a motivation of where we were in the season until where we were then,” Zabor said. “Getting a good draw puts you in a better position, but you still have to work hard, obviously, in the first round before you can think about a championship.”

(See also “Tide women’s tennis team hosts final home matches“)

The team will play the winner of the South Carolina versus Ole Miss match Friday at 2 p.m. Zabor said hard work is what gave the team this opportunity.

“This year we worked harder than any other year I’ve been here. It’s been tough, and there’s been some uncomfortable times, but they have made us stronger every time,” Zabor said. “The way we’ve improved this season mentally, physically and emotionally has been so exciting.”

If Alabama continues its success, there is a good chance the team will host regionals after the SEC Tournament.

“Getting a good seed at NCAAs is very important to us. We want to host regionals, and we want to do well, and we want to win a NCAA Championship,” Zabor said.

(See also “UA men’s tennis team falls against rival Tennessee“)

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