But for sophomore Erin Routliffe and junior Maya Jansen, the bond had no doubts. As a doubles team, they were cohesive. Each complimented the other during every game, set and match. They duo swiftly knocked out California State from the final round of the NCAA Championships.
For the second straight year, Routliffe and Jansen won the NCAA Women’s Doubles Tennis Championship. The No. 1 pair in the country added the program’s second championship trophy. Their final score was 6-2, 6-7 (5) and 6-3 of California State.
“It’s a really great feeling,” Routliffe said. “We’re both just so happy. Last year, we knew we were a good team. We just kind of went up there and were pretty loose and we played really well. This year, there was a little bit more pressure. Everyone knew us from last year. We handled it pretty well. We just stuck to our game plan and tried to play every match the same.
“It’s a really amazing feeling to bring home another National Championship to Tuscaloosa.”
The pair won the championship using methods coach Jenny Mainz ingrained into them. From coming out strong to aggressive plays, Alabama quickly took control of the match, sinking Cal State.
Cal State gave the duo some trouble early in the second set. Alabama trailed for a long time before tying up the set but ultimately falling. It wasn’t till the third set that Alabama triumphed.
“We definitely had some slow starts but I think what motivated us that we don’t like to lose and the situation of losing in a match made us change our game style,” Jansen said. “We played tennis our way.”
Despite lagging in the first few games, the team cohesively took charge of the court and, in turn, the entire match. With the win, Jansen and Routliffe finished the season 19-2 (9-1 SEC).