Feb. 15, 2014
NEW ORLEANS – Auburn capped off a successful road weekend with two more wins on Saturday, taking down Northwestern State, 4-0, and Nicholls State, 4-1, at the City Park Pepsi Center in New Orleans.
No. 20 Auburn (8-1) posted four wins overall on the weekend playing away from home for the first time in two weeks. The Tigers did not back down from a demanding four matches in a span of 48 hours.
“This was a great road test for our team. Physically, this was demanding playing four matches in two days against some really scrappy teams that make you work for points,” Auburn head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “We had to battle some tough wind and we haven’t played outdoors in a while so at times it was more of a mental challenge that I think we did a good job pushing through and getting the job done.
“I asked a lot of this team both physically and mentally and I think we met the challenge this weekend. We gained some much needed confidence,” Meisner said.
The Tigers swept No. 72 Northwestern State (2-2), 4-0, to begin play on Saturday morning. Auburn’s Reka Muller and Michala Kucharova kept their undefeated streak alive with an 8-4 win on court two, while Jackie Kasler and Jen Pfefiler took an 8-1 win on court three to help the Tigers secure the doubles point to open the match against the Lady Demons.
Jen Pfeifler was the first Tiger off the court in singles with a dominant 6-2, 6-0 win. No. 21 Pleun Burgmans also posted a 6-2, 6-0 win at the top of the lineup to put Auburn just one point away from securing the match. No. 68 Emily Flickinger closed out the match, recording a 6-4, 6-0 win on court two.
Auburn was leading in all three matches before play was abandoned. Paula de Man was up a set and tied 1-1 on court three, Muller was leading 7-6 (1) and 3-0 on court four, while Kucharova was up 6-4, 4-2 before play was halted.
In Auburn’s second match of the day, the Tigers posted a 4-1 win over Nicholls State (2-2). Strong doubles play continued to be the trend for the Tigers, securing the doubles point for the ninth straight match.
The 15th-ranked duo of Burgman and Flickinger cruised to an 8-0 win on court one, while Kasler and Pfeifler added their second win of the day on court three to give Auburn the doubles point. The Tigers have secured the doubles point in all nine matches this season.
Kucharova and de Man worked quickly in their singles matches. Kucharova dominated on court four, working quickly to win 6-2, 6-0. de Man finished up quickly as well, taking a straight-set victory on court three 6-1, 6-4.
Burgmans suffered her second defeat of the weekend as the sophomore was upset on court one 6-0, 6-4 by Nicholls’ Stephanie Barnett. Despite suffering a pair of losses this weekend, Meisner believes that the sophomore will have plenty of time to recover and get ready for next week’s non-conference finale.
“She (Pleun) had some tough losses that she hasn’t really had in her college career and I have every bit of confidence that she is going to brush it off, get back to training hard this week and be ready for redemption at the Blue Gray Tournament,” Meisner said.
Up 3-1, Pfeifler won the clinching point for Tigers on court five 6-1, 6-0. The junior has now won five straight singles matches and was undefeated on the weekend with a perfect 4-0 mark.
Off to an 8-1 start for the second straight year, Auburn will hit the practice courts this week for wrapping up non-conference play this weekend at the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, Ala., starting on Friday, Feb. 21.
“We are going to get a good rest and regroup and be ready to play some great tennis at the Blue Gray Tournament,” Meisner said.
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