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    SEC Women's Tennis Notebook

    For the first time in program history, the Alabama women’s tennis team (17-4) will host the NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide, the tournament’s No. 8 overall seed, will take on Army in the first round on Friday, May 11, at 4 p.m. CT. This marks the 11th NCAA Championship appearance for Alabama and the ninth under Mainz. Last season, the Tide won its opening contest in the tournament, defeating Utah, 4-0, before falling to the No. 8 seed Georgia Bulldogs, 4-0, in the second round. The Tide will be looking to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time as Alabama’s top finish in the 64-team field has been the second round on five occasions. The Tide will also be represented in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships as junior Alexa Guarachi and sophomore Mary Anne Macfarlane were two of 64 selected into the singles field, while Guarachi and senior Courtney McLane made up one of 32 duos chosen for the doubles draw.

    The No. 33 Razorback women’s tennis team was recently selected as an at-large team to participate in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks, who finished the year with a 12-13 record will be playing the Los Angeles Regional hosted by No. 1 overall seed UCLA and will be the two seed. Arkansas is fresh off winning two out of their last three matches, including one in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. Its first round opponent will be No. 43 Long Beach State. The winner of that match will play the winner of UCLA and Eastern Kentucky in the second round. Arkansas’ match with LBSU is set to begin at noon CST on Friday May 11 on the UCLA campus.

    No. 69 Auburn came up short 4-3 to No. 20 Tennessee in the first round of the 2012 SEC Women’s Tennis Championship. The loss dropped the Tigers to 8-13 on the year.  Jackie Kasler and Olivia Bennett picked up key wins over the Lady Vols. The victories improved Kasler to 20-12 on the season and Bennett to 12-3 on the year. 

    Florida was selected as one of 16 hosts of NCAA First and Second Round Championship matches. The Gators, ranked No. 2 in the country with a 21-1 overall record, received the No. 2 seed in the 64-team draw. Florida faces Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion South Carolina State (16-0) for the third consecutive year in its NCAA First Round contest on Friday, May 11 at 2 p.m. ET. The other NCAA Women’s First Round match played in Gainesville features 35th-ranked Florida State (13-10) versus 31st-ranked Washington State (18-5). UF has hosted first and second round matches every year since the NCAA Women's Championships expanded its field to 64 teams in 1999. Florida is making its 30th appearance in the 31-year history of the NCAA Championships, missing only the 1986 event. The Gators won NCAA team titles in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2011 and have advanced to at least the NCAA Semifinals 20 times in the last 24 years. Of the other 15 seeds, the Gators faced six of them during the regular season, when they played 16 of their 22 matches against other teams that made the NCAA Tournament field of 64 and posted a 15-1 record versus those clubs. Three members and two Gator doubles pairs were selected to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Singles and Doubles Championships. Allie Will is the No. 1 overall seed and received the SEC singles automatic qualifier. She will be joined by Lauren Embree who is seeded 9-16 and senior Joanna Mather. Sophomore Sofie Oyen is the first alternate for the singles draw. Oyen and Will earned the No. 1 overall doubles seed and will be joined in the draw by teammates Embree and Mather.

    Sixth-ranked Georgia earned an NCAA Championships at-large bid. The Bulldogs (21-4), the No. 6 national seed, will be making their 26th consecutive appearance in the NCAAs and will open up against College of Charleston (25-5) in Athens on Friday, May 11th at 1 p.m. Georgia is 61-23 in the NCAAs, including 10 trips to the Final Four with national titles in 1994 and 2000. Along with the Southern Conference champion Cougars, Georgia will play host to Clemson (15-9) and Arizona State (11-9). The first round winners will meet on Saturday at 3 p.m.  The Bulldogs have served as an early round host now 11 times since the NCAA went to this current format in 1999. They are 20-0 in the early rounds in Athens. Georgia is 7-5 all-time against the Cougars, last facing them in 1997, a 9-0 win. This season, Georgia posted a 7-0 win over Clemson in Athens on Feb. 26 to take a 23-19 lead in the all-time series. Georgia is 2-1 all-time against Arizona State with the Sun Devils winning the last meeting 5-4 in 1997. Senior Chelsey Gullickson and sophomore Maho Kowase received bids to the NCAA Singles Championships while the tandem of Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist are in the Doubles field. Gullickson, who won the 2010 NCAA singles title, is seeded eighth this year.

    The University of Kentucky women's tennis team traveled to Oxford, Miss. for the SEC Championship held at Ole Miss. The 11th-seeded Wildcats faced 6th-seeded South Carolina in the first round of the tournament. In doubles play, the 82nd-ranked team of Jessica Stiles and Caitlin McGraw took on No. 37 Dijana Stojic and Jaklin Alawi in a highly competitive match. The two mounted a late comeback to hold off Stojic and Alawi from taking match-point on multiple occasions, holding the score at 7-6. Ultimately, Stojic and Alawi were able to barely edge out Stiles and McGraw to take the 8-6 win and the doubles point. In singles play, multiply Wildcats found strength in their second set. Unfortunately, the late surges were not enough to grab the singles wins. South Carolina secured its win as the No. 4 and No. 5 matches ended simultaneously to give the Gamecocks a 5-0 victory.

    The LSU women’s tennis team will face 19th-ranked Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Tournament on May 11. The winner of the match between LSU and Texas A&M will face either host and No. 15 national seed Michigan or the University of Illinois-Chicago in the second round. LSU is making its 16th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, with 15 postseason trips coming under head coach Tony Minnis’ direction. The Lady Tigers return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 when the LSU advanced to the Round of 32.

    Ole Miss
    Ole Miss earned its 15th overall NCAA bid and fourth straight.  The Rebels earned the No. 16 seed and will host the first and second rounds for the second time, first since 1999.  Coming to Oxford are Illinois, Rice and Southern University.  The Rebels will face Southern University in the first round Friday, May 11 at 2 p.m.  Senior Kristi Boxx received her fourth consecutive bid to the NCAA Singles Championship and is seeded 9-16.  She will also team up with Abby Guthrie in the doubles as a 5-8 seed, marking her fourth straight doubles appearance.  Boxx became the second player in the history of the program to be named to the All-SEC first team all four years.   Freshman Erin Stephens and Guthrie made the second team, while Stephens was joined on the All-Freshman Team by Julia Jones.  In addition to playing at home for the first and second rounds, Boxx and fellow senior Gabby Rangel are set to graduate next weekend.  Rangel will graduate with honors in International Studies-Economics, while Boxx will earn her degree in Dietetics and Nutrition.

    Mississippi State
    In the first round of SEC postseason play, the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State fell 4-0 to the No. 23 ranked Commodores of Vanderbilt. Vandy began with a win on doubles court three due to an MSU default. MSU dropped the doubles point after Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran fell 8-5 to VU’s Mira/Wu on court one. Going into singles with a 3-0 lead, Vanderbilt clinched the match after Perper fell 6-1 in the first set on court one and was then forced to retire due to an injury.

    South Carolina
    The No. 29-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team earned its 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and will face No. 32 TCU in the first round May 11 in Durham, N.C. Also competing in the Durham regional will be No. 3 Duke and Winthrop, who play May 11 as well. The winners will square off May 12 for the right to play at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., at the NCAA Championships from May 17-22. The Gamecocks enter the tournament with a 15-8 record overall and went 5-6 in SEC play. Individually, Anya Morgina, Dijana Stojic and Jaklin Alawi are South Carolina's three ranked singles players at Nos. 42, 73 and 88. Stojic holds a No. 41 ranking in doubles with Alawi, while Morgina is 65th with Alawi. Morgina and Alawi were both named to the All-SEC Second Team and Alawi was named the team's MVP as well. Overall, South Carolina has now been selected for the NCAA Tournament 22 times. 2012 marks the 31st year the NCAA has sponsored a championship in women's tennis. With 22 bids, South Carolina is tied for 13th for the most NCAA appearances in the country. South Carolina's 18 NCAA appearances in a row is tied for the 11th longest active streak in the country. South Carolina has reached the round of 16 six times (1983, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009) and advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice (1982, 2009). Morgina also earned her second straight bid to the NCAA Singles Championship, which begins May 23 in Athens.

    No. 20 Tennessee advanced to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals by defeating Auburn, 4-2, in the first round Thursday, before falling to eventual SEC Champion Florida, 4-0, on Friday. The Lady Vols played with a complete lineup in both matches, and await the NCAA Tournament with a 13-4 record when playing at full strength. Brynn Boren is on pace to lead the team in singles wins for the second consecutive year. Currently with 24, Boren has won 11 of her last 13.
    The No. 26 Vanderbilt women's tennis team received its 18th straight NCAA Tournament bid and will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., where they will taken on No. 78 San Diego in the first round. The winner will move on to face either fifth-seeded host Southern California or Fairfield. The Commodores are led into NCAA play by a pair of top-100 singles players. Jackie Wu is ranked No. 37 in the most recent ITA rankings. She has posted a 15-9 record on the spring, playing every match at number one singles. Lauren Mira is No. 89 nationally and has a 15-6 dual match record, all coming at number two singles, including an 8-3 mark in SEC play. Together, the pair forms the No. 26 doubles team in the country. They have gone 7-2 on the spring, all at number one doubles. All-Time, Vanderbilt is 35-17 in NCAA play and has advanced to the Round of 16 on 13 occasions, including last season. The deepest run came in 2001 when the Commodores fell in the Finals.