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    SEC Women's Tennis Notebook

    The ninth-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team won both of its matches during ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to its first ITA National Team Indoor Championships in program history. The Crimson Tide picked up its first win against Memphis, 4-0, before beating No. 20 Clemson on Sunday, 4-2. Alabama won the doubles point in both matches, with the deciding matchup coming on court two, which was won on both occasions in a tiebreaker by senior Antonia Foehse and freshman Maya Jansen. Foehse would also clinch the team victory against Memphis while freshman Natalia Maynetto provider the clincher against Clemson. Next up, the Tide will take part in its first road matches of the season when it faces TCU on Saturday and SMU on Sunday.

    Arkansas is 4-1, with 7-0 wins over Prairie View A&M, UT-Pan American, Lamar, and a 5-2 win over No. 32 Washington State at ITA Kickoff Weekend.  Head Coach Michael Hegarty earned his 125th career victory against Washington State, and has the most victories in program history.  Claudine Paulson (5-0), Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez (5-0), Flavia Araujo (2-0), Kristen Mee (2-0), and Segou Jonker (1-0) are all undefeated this spring. Three new spring additions (Jonker, Araujo, and Huxley) are a combined 6-2 in singles and 9-2 in doubles. Razorback freshman class is combined 17-5 in singles.

    No. 68 Auburn split its pair of matches over the weekend at the ITA Kick-Off event hosted by the University of North Carolina. The Tigers fell 4-0 to the host and eighth-ranked Tar Heels on Saturday, but rebounded to secure a ranked win over No. 65 DePaul, 4-0, on Sunday.  Michala Kucharova, Emily Flickinger and Jen Pfeifler each posted singles wins on the weekend.  The duo of Flickinger and Jackie Kasler went 2-0 in doubles play through the two matches.  Included in that 2-0 start was a victory over UNC’s No. 51 tandem of Lauren McHale and Tessa Lyons. Also against UNC, freshman Pleun Burgmans took the first set, 6-3 against No. 11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti at the No. 1 position, and was leading 4-3 in the second set before match play concluded. In the 4-0 win over DePaul, Jen Pfeifler struggled early in her singles match, but she once again settled in, defeating No. 119 Jarret Fisher at the No. 5 spot, 6-3, 6-3 for her first ranked win of the season. The Tigers are in action next on Feb. 3 for their first home doubleheader of the spring season at the Yarbrough Tennis Center against Georgia Southern and Alabama A&M.

    Florida launches its 41st season of varsity competition this week playing three matches in five days. The top-ranked Gators open their 2012-13 dual match season playing host to No. 43 South Florida on Tuesday, UCF on Wednesday and No. 15 Baylor on Saturday. Florida has won 28 consecutive season-opening dual matches and that’s just one of a handful of significant streaks the Gators carry into the season. UF has won 22 consecutive dual matches overall, which includes the 2012 NCAA Championship title run. The Gators also have won 107 consecutive home matches, which is the longest active home win streak by any NCAA Division I women’s team in any sport (second longest in the country overall behind Ohio State men’s tennis). UF has won 112 straight regular-season home matches. Individually, six Gators are ranked in the most recent national singles ranking, headlined by No. 1-ranke Sofie Oyen and No. 5 Lauren Embree, who enters this week’s matches with 97career  singles wins and 98 doubles victories.

    Sixth-ranked Georgia blanked No. 70 Georgia State 7-0 this past Monday to earn a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships (Feb. 8-11). The Bulldogs are 2-0 after opening the ITA Kickoff Weekend event in Athens with a 4-1 win over No. 73 Columbia. Up next, Georgia goes on the road to face No. 20 Clemson (1-1) this Saturday at 11 a.m. The Tigers fell short of qualifying for the indoors after ninth-ranked Alabama beat them 4-2 in Tuscaloosa. Eighth-ranked Lauren Herring leads the Bulldogs with a 22-2 singles mark while 18th-ranked Maho Kowase is 20-5 and 54th-ranked Kate Fuller is 15-3. The Kowase-Lilly Kimbell duo is 9-1 and ranked No. 22.

    The Kentucky women’s tennis team opened the 2013 season with two wins, defeating Morehead State 6-0 and Belmont 6-1 in a double header on Jan. 19. The Wildcats swept Morehead State, failing to drop a set in singles play and lost just two sets in their win over Belmont. Freshmen Nadia Ravita and Kirsten Lewis opened their collegiate careers in impressive fashion, both going 2-0 in singles play. Paired with junior Caitlin McGraw, Ravita went 2-0 in the doubles No. 1 slot, taking both matches 8-1. Sophomores Stephanie Fox and Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff went 2-0 in singles, with Fox failing to drop a game in her two wins.

    The Lady Tigers (2-0) won both matches of their home opening double header Saturday against Northwestern State University (0-1) and Southern University (0-1). Four players went 2-0 in singles, including senior Ebie Wilson, who double-bageled both opponents she faced. Freshman Ella Taylor also shut out her Southern opponent and notched her second win of the day. Playing on court one in singles was No. 112 Kaitlin Burns, whose two victories clinched both matches for the Lady Tigers. After almost a five-hour match against Northwestern State and a 4-3 win, LSU swept Southern 7-0.

    Ole Miss
    Ole Miss hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the first time.  The Rebels lost a hard-fought match to No. 28 Yale 4-2 and then came back to defeat No. 27 Illinois 4-0 in the consolation match to improve to 1-2 on the season.  Junior Caroline Rohde-Moe and sophomore Marija Milutinovic defeated the nation’s No. 11 ranked doubles team to clinch the point and then the Rebels swept the 1-3 matches in singles.  Rohde-Moe went 4-0 on the weekend winning doubles and singles in both matches.  She improved to 17-6 overall, 3-0 at No. 1 singles.   Sophomore Julia Jones improved to 11-8 overall, 2-1 in dual matches with two wins at No. 3 singles this past weekend.  The Rebels continue a seven-match homestand  on Feb. 15 hosting Oklahoma State followed by Washington on Feb. 17.  The Rebels were honored last Thursday night at the men’s basketball home game with the Chancellor’s Cup as the women’s varsity team with the highest cumulative grade point average.  It marked the fourth time in six years for the Rebels to earn the cup.

    Mississippi State
    Beginning his fourth season with the Maroon and White, head coach Daryl Greenan anticipates an exciting season. The Lady Bulldog squad will feature veteran juniors Alexandra Perper and Rosie Dion, along with sophomores Naomi Tran and Petra Ferancova. The seasoned duo of Perper and Tran paired up to claim the No. 54 national ranking in ITA doubles play (fourth in the Southern Region), after reaching the quarterfinals of the ITA Southern Regional Indoor Championships this fall.   Perper is ranked 11th in the ITA Southern Region.  The Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis team will open its 2013 dual match season against Southern Miss, Tuesday. Match time is set for 2 p.m. at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

    Mizzou is 2-1 so far this spring following a 1-1 record at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The Tigers lost a close 4-3 match with South Carolina on Saturday before posting a 4-0 win over Brown on Sunday morning. Junior Cierra Gaytan-Leach is a perfect 5-0 in singles matches this season and has wins over No. 31 Leslie Hureau (Indiana) and No. 34 Jaklin Alawi (South Carolina). Missouri travels to Akron, Ohio, this weekend to face Akron (Friday, Feb. 1) and Princeton (Saturday, Feb. 2).

    South Carolina
    The No. 31 South Carolina women's tennis team is off to a 3-1 start after winning its first three matches of the season to Winthrop, USC Upstate and No. 53 Missouri, and losing to No. 16 Michigan. The Gamecocks defeated Mizzou by a 4-3 margin in their first ever meeting with the Tigers in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Senior Josefin Andersson broke a 3-all deadlock with a straight set win at No. 6 singles to pit the Gamecocks against the host Wolverines the next day. South Carolina returns to the courts Feb. 3 playing at instate rival and No. 20-ranked Clemson.

    The No. 23 University of Tennessee women's tennis team closed out its time at the ITA Kickoff with a 4-2 loss to No. 22 Georgia Tech Sunday on the campus of the University of Nebraska. The Lady Vols will head back out on the road next weekend when they travel to Michigan and Notre Dame. Tennessee will begin their road trip in Ann Arbor on Friday, Feb. 1 at 3:30 p.m.

    Texas A&M
    Texas A&M, whose No. 13 ranking (Jan. 22) is its highest ranking since also reaching No. 13 on May 4, 2004, opened the spring season by defeating No. 54 North Texas and No. 30 Arizona to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, Feb. 8-11, in Charlottesville, Va. All-American Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, whose No. 3 singles ranking is the highest in school history, went 2-0 at the No. 1 line to improve to 21-3 overall. Cristina Stancu and Stefania Hristov are ranked a school-record high No. 7 in doubles and improved to 11-3 overall by going 2-0 at No. 1 doubles.

    Vanderbilt is coming off wins versus No. 24 Illinois (4-1) and No. 28 Yale (4-1) during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which sends them to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 8-11. The Commodores received solid play from the entire team, but Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira were key in helping Vandy win both matches. The two each won both of their singles matches and teamed up to win both doubles matches to go a combined 4-0 over the weekend. Vanderbilt will host No. 14 Northwestern Thursday, Jan. 31 and travel to No. 22 Georgia Tech before the Team Indoor Championship.