The Alabama women’s tennis team had, arguably, its best season in program history, achieving many milestones along the way. Under head coach Jenny Mainz, who just capped off her 16th season at The Capstone, the Crimson Tide advanced to the NCAA Championship Round of 16 for the first time, finishing 2013 with a 21-6 mark. The 21 wins were also the most in a season under Mainz and most overall since 1984. In addition to making the NCAA Championship tournament as a team, Alabama also had representatives in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in senior Alexa Guarachi and junior Mary Anne Macfarlane. Guarachi, who would finish her career as the winningest player in program history with 109 singles wins and 113 doubles victories, advanced to the Semifinals of both singles and doubles, with Macfarlane. In the singles tournament, Guarachi had one of the biggest wins in her four years at Alabama, knocking off No. 2 seed Sabrina Santamaria of USC in straight sets. Guarachi and Macfarlane would turn around two days later and oust the No. 1 doubles seed of Georgia’s Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia in the Quarterfinals, also in straight sets.
The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team finished the regular season at 13-15, 4-9 SEC, and did not receive a bid to the NCAA team tournament. Freshman Yang Pang had a breakout season for the Razorbacks, playing at No. 1 singles and earning 11 singles victories. Pang was selected for the NCAA Individual singles completion, where she fell in the first round to eventual NCAA Singles Champion Nicole Gibbs 7-5, 6-4. The Razorback team was ranked No. 52 by the ITA, and has three players ranked as well. Yang Pang was No. 47 in singles, while senior Claudine Paulson was No. 71. The duo of Paulson and freshman Segou Jonker were ranked No. 56 in doubles. The Razorbacks also had two players named to the SEC All Conference teams. Yang Pang was named First Team All-SEC, as well as to the SEC All-Freshman team, and was named ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year. Claudine Paulson, who led the team with a 20-5 singles record playing at No. 2 singles, was named Second Team All-SEC. The Razorbacks had seven freshman getting their first collegiate tennis experience in the spring, with three of them (Yang Pang, Brittany Huxley, and Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez) finishing with double digit singles victories. Overall, the freshman class combined for 56 of the 85 singles victories on the spring season (65 percent). The Razorbacks also won 13 doubles points on the year. The duo of Brittany Huxley and Yang Pang finished with the team’s best doubles record at 10-9, while the ranked pair of Paulson and Jonker was 8-11 while playing at No. 1 doubles.
Closed the season with an ITA ranking of 25th, the highest final ranking since 1996. Tigers finished ranked in the top 25 for just the sixth time in program history. Auburn won 19 matches in 2013, the most since 1989 and the third most wins all-time. The program’s seven SEC wins in 2013 are the second most all-time and most since 1993. Auburn made its first NCAA appearance and won its first NCAA match since 2008 with a 4-2 win over St. Mary’s College. Freshman Pleun Burgmans was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and first team All-SEC. It was the first Freshman of the Year in Auburn history and the first All-SEC honoree since Fani Chifchieva in 2010. The Tigers had an individual (Pleun Burgmans) and a doubles team (Burgmans and Plamena Kurteva) selected for the NCAA Individual and Doubles draws for the first time since 2010. Auburn at one point held a 14-match winning streak. The Tigers’ win over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament was the first in league postseason play since 2008.
The Gators were No. 2 in the final ITA National rankings, the fourth consecutive year of a top-two finish, as well as the 24th time in the last 27 years posting a top-five final ranking. Florida advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the fourth straight season and the 23rd time in the last 27 years. Florida finished 14-0 at home this season and extended its overall program-record home winning streak of 121, which includes 21 wins in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournament). The sweep of the SEC regular-season and tournament titles was the 16th time Florida has won both championships in the same season.
Georgia finished the 2013 campaign ranked No. 5 with a 24-4 record, advancing to the quarterfinals before being beaten by eventual NCAA Champion, Stanford. Georgia had three players (Lauren Herring, Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia) advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles and doubles championships, respectively. In 2013, the Bulldogs picked up its ninth regular season SEC championship, going 12-1 in conference play, including wins on the road over No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 8 Alabama. At home, Georgia went undefeated (14-0) for the 12th time in program history. This season, freshman accounted for nearly 35% of the team's singles wins, and two Bulldogs (Silvia Garcia and Ayaka Okuno) won SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Georgia returns its entire NCAA Lineup in 2013-14 and will play host to the 2014 NCAA Tennis Championships in May.
The Kentucky women’s tennis team finished the season 13-12 and 4-9 in Southeastern Conference matches. The Wildcats opened the year 9-2, knocking off two ranked opponents. Freshman Nadia Ravita led the Wildcats from the No. 1 singles slot, finishing the season 20-5, 10-3 in conference matches. Ranked 28th nationally and named Second Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman, Ravita lost in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Tennis Championships to third-ranked Robin Anderson of UCLA. Senior Jessica Stiles won 10 matches in the No. 2 singles slot for Kentucky, including three in SEC contests. Sophomore Stephanie Fox posted a 14-7 singles record in the spring, winning six matches in conference play. In doubles play, Ravita and junior Caitlin McGraw posted a 9-9 record on court one.
In Julia S. Sell’s first year as LSU’s head coach, the Lady Tigers compiled nine overall wins and advanced to the second round of the SEC Tournament with a 4-2 win over Kentucky. Freshman Ella Taylor led the team in singles victories with 21 on the season, including a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ole Miss’ then-No. 66 Mai El Kamash. Senior Kaitlin Burns claimed the court one spot for the majority of the season and tallied a 6-3, 6-2 triumph against the Rebels’ previously 37th-ranked Caroline Rohde-Moe after notching a 6-0, 6-1 win over Mizzou’s then-No. 114 Cierra Gaytan-Leach in the Lady Tigers’ first conference win of the season. LSU will welcome the No. 16 recruiting class in the upcoming season, the highest-ranked class in team history
Ole Miss ended the 2013 season ranked No. 38 in the nation. The Rebels earned their 16th overall and fifth consecutive NCAA bid. Junior Caroline Rohde-Moe participated in the NCAA Singles Championship for the first time in her career. She earned All-SEC second team honors for the second time and received the ITA Southern Region Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship and Leadership Award. Off the court, the Rebels posted the highest GPA (3.64) among all sports at Ole Miss and placed eight of nine players on the University Honor Roll, including Rohde-Moe, Mai El Kamash, Julia Jones and Marija Milutinovic with 4.0 GPAs. The Rebels will return all seven singles and doubles starters from this year’s NCAA team in 2014.
MMississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis completed the 2013 campaign with an overall record of 9-14, 2-11 in conference play, while landing the No. 74 slot in the final ITA rankings. This ranking marked the first national ranking for the Lady Bulldog squad since April of 2012. Lady Bulldog tennis closed out regular season play with a 4-2 triumph over No. 60 ranked Missouri, then defeated the Lady Tigers once again in a 4-2 decision to take a win in the first round of SEC Championship play. Following the team’s first-round win, the 12th seeded Lady Bulldogs dropped their second round match to the tournament’s No. 5 seed, No. 29 ranked Tennessee. After concluding post-season play, Lady Bulldog freshman Georgiana Patrasc was honored as a member of the All-SEC Second Team and clinched the 116th spot in the singles rankings. In doubles competition, MSU junior Alexandra Perper and sophomore Naomi Tran paired up to take the No. 69th position in ITA doubles rankings. With no graduating seniors, this young team looks forward to an exciting 2013-2014 season.
The Mizzou tennis team concluded the regular season with 9-12 overall and a 2-11 record in Southeastern Conference matches. Senior Maria Christensen finished the regular season with a team best 5-5 record in SEC matches, as she was 1-0 at No. 4 and 4-5 at No. 3 singles.
The South Carolina women's tennis team concluded the 2013 season with a first-round loss to Purdue in the NCAA Tournament to finish with a 13-12 record. The Gamecocks earned a No. 34 national ranking in the final ITA poll after making their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Under the direction of first-year head coach Kevin Epley, two South Carolina players earned national singles rankings at season's end with Jaklin Alawi coming in at 96th and Katerina Popova at 111th. In doubles, Alawi and Dominika Kanakova finished 28th after falling in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship. Popova and Josefin Andersson posted a No. 62 ranking in doubles as well. Popova and Ximena Siles Luna topped the Gamecocks in singles victories with 20 each, while Alawi and Kanakova produced 24 wins together in doubles. Alawi had the top individual doubles record at 27-11. South Carolina loses three seniors from this year's squad with Alawi, Andersson and Adriana Pereira.
The Lady Vols finished out the 2012-13 season with a Second Round loss to No. 2 North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Saturday. Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th straight season and 23rdoverall and reached the Second Round of the tournament for the seventh straight season. Tennessee downed VCU to begin the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 sweep Friday morning ending the Rams' 13 match win-streak. Despite winning the doubles point on Saturday against North Carolina, marking Kata Szekely’s 100th career doubles victory, UT fell 4-1 on Saturday ending their season with a 13-12 record. Individually, Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Doubles Championship as they each earned All-American status in doubles. Szekely advanced to the second round of the singles championship while Boren fell in the first round. The duo finished the season ranked fifth in the nation in doubles while Boren finished 26th in the country in singles and Szekely was 37th.
Texas A&M experienced its best season in program history, reaching the NCAA Championship match for the first time – the Aggies had only once reached the Round of 16 prior to 2013 – and finishing 26-4, a record for most wins. Texas A&M, which fell to 17-time national champion Stanford, 4-3, in the finals, was ranked No. 3 in the final ITA poll, an all-time high for a final ranking and crushing the previous record-high final ranking of No. 15 which had stood since 1986. Senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, who became A&M’s first two-time All-American in women’s tennis after receiving a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship, finished the season 41-9, one shy of the A&M all-time record. She completed her two year career with a school-record .843 winning percentage (81-15) in singles, obliterating the previous record of .765 set by Morgan Frank (2008-11). Senior Nazari Urbina went 5-0 in NCAA Championship play and was named to the NCAA all-tournament team at No. 3 singles. She also made a school-record fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship and finished her career 102-32 (.731), ranking third in the A&M records for most career victories and third in career winning percentage…The doubles team of junior Cristina Stancu and freshman Stefania Hristov was named to the NCAA Championship all-tournament team at No. 1 doubles. Coach Howard Joffe, who completed his second season at the helm of the Aggies, loses three seniors from the record-setting squad: Sanchez-Quintanar, Urbina and Wen Sun. In addition to Stancu and Hristov, he will return freshmen Anna Mamalat and twins Ines and Paula Deheza for the 2013-14 season.
The Vanderbilt women’s tennis team finished the season with a record of 16-12 and 19th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Commodores lost in the second round of the tournament to Clemson and ended the season ranked No. 19 in the ITA rankings. Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira represented Vanderbilt in the NCAA Doubles Championships where the duo fell in the round of 32.