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    SEC Women's Tennis Notebook


    The eighth-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team won a 4-3 thriller over the Auburn Tigers last week to move to 13-1 overall and 5-0 in the SEC. After dropping the doubles point, the Crimson Tide won two straight in singles for the 2-1 edge. The two teams then traded points, eventually setting up for the 3-3 tie, leaving the decided point to court six. After cruising to a 6-1 first set win, Alabama freshman Natalia Maynetto dropped the second and then found herself down 5-1 in the third against Auburn senior Plamena Kurteva. From there, Maynetto went on a tear, picking up six straight games to win the set and the match. This week, the Tide will head to Florida and South Carolina. Friday’s match against the Gators will start at 5 p.m. CT while Sunday’s match versus the Gamecocks is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT.
    Arkansas' women's tennis team fell in a pair of home matches this past weekend against ranked conference foes. On Friday, they fell 5-2 to No. 75 Missouri, and were defeated 6-1 on Sunday by No. 3 Texas A&M. The Razorbacks got singles victories on each day from senior Claudine Paulson, who improved her record to a team best 14-2 overall, and is undefeated in SEC singles play at 6-0. The team is now 6-10, 1-5 SEC, and is on the road next, facing Jackson State on Wednesday, Mississippi State on Friday, and Ole Miss on Sunday. 
    No. 17 Auburn lost a heartbreaking 4-3 match to No. 8 Alabama to move to 14-2 on the season and 4-1 in the SEC. The loss ends Auburn’s school record 14 match winning streak and is its first defeat since January 26. The Tigers are still undefeated at home with a 11-0 record. Against Alabama, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead with its 15th-straight doubles victory. The ITA No. 54 duo of freshman Pleun Burgmans and senior Plamena Kurteva defeated Alabama’s No. 6 pair of Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane 8-6 at the top spot. The tandem is 6-1 in dual matches with and 2-1 in conference play. On court three, sophomore Jen Pfeifler and senior Paulina Schippers clinched the doubles point for the Tigers with an 8-6 victory of their own. The pair is 10-1 in dual matches and 3-0 in conference play. In singles, No. 51 Burgmans overcame No. 25 Mary Anne Macfarlane 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) at the top spot. This win is the fourth by the freshman over a ranked opponent. Burgmans is now 10-1 in matches as Auburn’s top player in the lineup. Also winning for the Tigers, was sophomore Emily Flickinger who defeated ITA. No. 73 Maya Jansen 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 on court three. The win was the first over a ranked singles opponent in her collegiate career. The Tigers have now fallen to Alabama by 4-3 scores in two-straight years. Auburn is in action next on Friday, March 22 at South Carolina.
    Florida continues its four-match homestand this weekend, first playing host to No. 8 Alabama on Friday before entertaining No. 17 Auburn on Sunday. The Gators defeated No. 12 Georgia, 4-1, on Friday and No. 44 Tennessee, 4-0, on Sunday. Senior Caroline Hitimana won both of her singles matches last weekend, extending her winning streak in dual match singles action to 30, while fellow senior Lauren Embree increased her similar win streak to 29. Embree also earned her 107th career win on the singles and the doubles courts, as her 214 combined victories moved her into sole possession of 10th place in Gator history. Florida is 8-0 at home this season and has extended its overall program-record home winning streak to 115, which is the longest active streak among all NCAA Division I women’s team in any sport.
    No. 12 Georgia (11-2,4-1 SEC) went 2-1 on the week, defeating 15th-ranked Notre Dame 6-1 on March 12 at home, losing to fourth-ranked Florida 4-1 on March 15 in Gainesville, and defeating 32nd-ranked South Carolina 7-0 on March 17 in Columbia.  Seventh-ranked Lauren Herring and 17th-ranked Maho Kowase are tied for the team lead in singles victories at 27-5 and 27-7, respectively. No. 77 Silvia Garcia is 16-2 and 120th-ranked Kate Fuller is 21-5 in singles. No. 3 duo of Fuller/Garcia is 14-0 on the year, including 5-0 in SEC play.  Georgia returns home to face 13th-ranked Vanderbilt on Friday.
    The Kentucky women’s tennis team went 1-1 over the weekend, falling to No. 54 Ole Miss 4-3 on Friday before blanking Mississippi State 7-0 on Sunday. Ole Miss swept the doubles matches and took three singles matches to claim the win. Kentucky received singles wins from Nadia Ravita, Kirsten Lewis and Stephanie Fox. On Sunday, Kentucky took all six singles matches, including five in straight sets and only dropped one doubles match in its win over Mississippi State. In doubles, Ravita and junior Caitlin McGraw battled back from a 6-3 deficit to win the No. 1 doubles match 8-6 and clinch the doubles point for Kentucky. Ravita’s win in the No. 1 slot improved her singles record to 15-2 on the year while Fox’s win improved her record to 13-3.
    The LSU women’s tennis team (8-8, 1-5 SEC) marked a split week at home, taking a 7-0 loss to No. 3 Texas A&M and tallying a 6-1 victory against No. 75 Missouri to earn the Lady Tigers their first SEC win of the season. Senior Kaitlin Burns defeated Mizzou’s No. 114 Cierra Gaytan-Leach in the top spot with a quick 6-0, 6-1 win and earned the first singles point of the day. The duo of Ebie Wilson and Keri Frankenberger took on the Mizzou Tigers’ No. 68-ranked pair of Rachel Stuhlmann and Maria Christensen on court two and earned LSU the doubles point with an 8-6 victory. Missouri’s lone point was won in a super tiebreaker on court two with a 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (10-7) final score against LSU’s Mary Jeremiah.
    Ole Miss
    The Rebels defeated No. 38 Kentucky and No. 13 Vanderbilt on the road to improve to 4-8 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.  The win over Kentucky marked the team’s first league win of the season. It was the team’s fifth 4-3 match of the year, with four of them coming in the SEC. Sophomore Julia Jones moved up to No. 2 singles this past weekend and rallied to defeat UK senior Jessica Stiles in three sets to clinch the 4-3 win over the Wildcats. It was the team’s sixth consecutive win over Kentucky. Jones won in straight sets against Vanderbilt to set up her teammate’s clinching win at six. The Rebels have now won three in a row against Vanderbilt and four of the last five. Jones improved to 8-4 in dual matches and 4-2 in the SEC. Erin Stephens went 3-0 on the weekend including a win over the 74th-ranked player to put the Rebels on the board at Vanderbilt after they fell behind 2-0. The Rebels return home to host three matches beginning with LSU and Arkansas this weekend.
    Mississippi State
    Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis kicked off a weekend of competition on the road with a solid triumph over Middle Tennessee, taking down the Lady Blue Raiders in a 4-1 decision. MSU swept doubles competition at all three positions, including another top spot victory for the Lady Bulldogs' No. 46 ranked pair of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran raising the duo's record to 7-1. The Lady Bulldog winning trend was cut short with two consecutive conference losses against ranked opponents. MSU freshman Georgiana Patrasc notched an impressive 7-5, 6-3 court 1 victory against Vanderbilt's No. 46 Lauren Mira, but this proved to be the only Maroon and White win of the day. MSU fell 6-1 to the No. 13 ranked Vandy team. The Lady Bulldogs struggled in their next match against No. 38 Kentucky, falling 7-0, but the MSU doubles pair of Petra Ferancova and Georgiana Patrasc claimed a nice victory against UK's Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and CeCe Witten in the process, defeating the duo 8-5 on court 2.  State will return home to host matches against No. 41 Arkansas and No. 66 LSU on March 22 and 24, respectively, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus. Match times are set for 3 p.m. and 1 p.m.  
    The Missouri tennis team went 1-1 last weekend with a 5-2 win over No. 41 Arkansas and a 6-1 loss to No. 66 LSU. In Mizzou's inaugural SEC win over the Razorbacks, the Tigers got singles wins from No. 114 Cierra Gaytan-Leach, Maria Christensen, Elisha Gabb and Alex Clark. Missouri also took the doubles point for the second match in a row. In the loss the LSU, senior Rachel Stuhlmann picked up her first SEC singles win. 
    South Carolina
    The No. 32 South Carolina women's tennis team suffered two setbacks on the weekend, losing first to No. 44 Tennessee by a 4-2 score and then 7-0 to No. 12 Georgia at Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks stand 8-7 overall and 1-4 in SEC play heading into two home matches against top-20 competition in No. 17 Auburn on Friday and No. 8 Alabama on Sunday. In the singles rankings, senior Jaklin Alawi remains the highest ranked player on the team with a No. 78 billing, while junior Katerina Popova is No. 102. Popova has the squad's best singles record in dual matches with a 9-4 slate. The Gamecocks have been strong all season long in doubles, winning the point 11 times in 15 contests. Despite the loss to the Lady Volunteers, the Gamecocks did take the doubles point from UT for the first time since 2009. Popova and senior Josefin Andersson have the most wins in duals with a 10-3 record together, while Alawi and Dominika Kanakova are close behind at 9-3. Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna have also been strong together, going 4-2 and 3-1 in league play at No. 3 doubles.
    This past weekend the Lady Vols headed out on their first SEC road trip of the season. Tennessee started the trip off with a close 4-3 win at No. 32 South Carolina using four singles wins to propel themselves to a victory. On Sunday, UT had to face off against No. 4 Florida in Gainesville. Despite a doubles victory for Brynn Boren and Kata Szkeley, their fourth straight, Tennessee dropped the doubles point and three straight singles matches as Florida earned a 4-0 win. Tennessee will return home to face Kentucky and Vanderbilt this weekend. The Lady Vols and Wildcats will go head-to-head on Friday night at 5 p.m. followed by an early 10 a.m. match against Vanderbilt to kickstart a women’s/men’s doubleheader on Sunday at Barksdale Stadium. 
    Texas A&M
    Texas A&M, which climbed to an all-time high No. 3 in the ITA rankings released March 12, went 3-0 last week, defeating Virginia, LSU and Arkansas. The Aggies enter this week 13-1 overall, including 6-0 in SEC matches. A&M is riding an 11-match win streak, two shy of the school record of 13 set last year in Howard Joffe’s first season as head coach at A&M. Sixth-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar leads the Aggies with a 30-5 overall singles record and an 11-3 mark in dual matches, all at the No. 1 line. Nazari Urbina, who is 6-0 in SEC play, posted her 93rd career victory at Arkansas to rank fifth in the A&M career records. Freshman Stefania Hristov is riding a four-match win streak and improved to 8-0 at the No. 6 line.  She and partner Cristina Stancu are No. 9 in the doubles rankings with a 17-5 overall record, including an 8-2 ledger in dual matches. The Aggies have only one match this week, a contest at Missouri to conclude a five-match SEC road stretch.
    No. 13 Vanderbilt (11-6, 4-2) split its two matches over the weekend with a win over Mississippi State, 6-1, and a loss to No. 54 Ole Miss, 5-2. The Commodores won the doubles point and five of the six matches in singles to take down Mississippi State on Friday. On Sunday, Vanderbilt won the doubles point versus Ole Miss, but then proceeded to drop five of the six matches in singles. Ashleigh Antal went 2-0 in singles over the weekend and is the lone Commodore to remain undefeated in SEC play at 6-0. Vanderbilt begins its five-match road trip with stops at No. 12 Georgia Friday, March 22 at 3 p.m. and No. 44 Tennessee Sunday at 9 a.m.