Tide has busy weekend ahead

Marilyn Vaughn

After winning their first road victory of the season against No. 73 Oregon last week, the women’s tennis team returns home to face two teams in two days, No. 27 TCU and Eastern Kentucky. Although Eastern Kentucky is not ranked, head coach Jenny Mainz expects the Colonels to provide the Tide a challenge and better help to prepare the squad for SEC matches coming up the first week of March against Georgia and Tennessee.

“This coming weekend is a good test for us,” Mainz said. “It’s nice that we’re at home because we’ve been on the road so much … this will be a good test to get us ready to have the consistency mentally to prepare for two big matches in one weekend.”

The women’s team will have only a day’s rest between the two matches, with the TCU match to be played Saturday at noon and the Eastern Kentucky on Sunday at 1 p.m. Mainz said the hope is that the squad stays strong and does not tire and fall behind in the later matches as they did last week against Oregon.

The Ducks seized their home court advantage by claiming two out of the three doubles matches, falling 8-4 and 8-6, respectively. However, Alabama was able to bounce back in the singles play, taking five out of the six matches, with three of these matches going to a seventh game.

“Oregon came out very aggressive and they came after us on all three courts,” Mainz said. “I thought we responded really well in the singles, we swept five out of the six singles, and I liked that response. I think it shows a lot of tenacity, confidence, and fight.”

Last week, freshman Antonia Foehe fought back from break points in both her double and single matches.

“I really wanted to win the match, so I fought for every ball and tried to concentrate on every single ball,” said Foehse.

Foehse was not the only freshman to struggle early on but later succeed last Saturday. Alexa Guarachi went to three sets in her singles match, dropping the first set 1-6 but finishing dominantly, winning her last two sets 6-2 and 6-3.

Mainz noticed the lead shifts in all the different matches but didn’t let it stress her.

“Sports in general, there is so much momentum, tennis big time, because you’re playing two out of three sets in singles, so a lot of things can happen in that course of time,” Mainz said. “[Coming from behind] shows tremendous composure, experience, and having confidence in your abilities, having staying power, and believing and trusting in your shots.”

Nonetheless, more confident shots cannot be acquired overnight. Mainz said she knows this and acknowledges the youth and inexperience of her team, but expresses optimism for the future.

“You can really tell they’re picking up confidence, momentum, and trusting their games a little bit more,” said Mainz.

Next season, the Tide can expect to add two top-20 recruits to its roster as well as return six of nine players.