March 2, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn women’s tennis dropped its opening SEC match of the spring season on Friday afternoon to Ole Miss, 7-0.
“I felt we played some really good doubles today,” Auburn coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “We had leads on every court at the outset, and we were setting up our points the way that we had been practicing. But in the end, we need to work on finishing the point and being able to put the ball away when we need to.”
The Tigers (5-3) jumped out to doubles leads of 3-2 at No. 1, 5-1 at No. 2 and 5-2 at No. 3, but ultimately surrendered the doubles point.
At line one, Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler fell to the No. 7 duo of Kristi Boxx and Abby Guthrie, 8-6, while Plamena Kurteva and Paulina Schippers were downed by Gabby Rangel and Erin Stephens, 9-7, at No. 2.
“In singles, I thought we set up our points well too, and made them work for every point,” Meisner said. “But, we really have to take advantage of all the opportunities that we set up for ourselves and win more big points. We have been practicing really hard and each match that goes by, we see the things we are working on in practice translating into our matches. All of the hard work is paying off, we just have execute.”
Flickinger dropped the first set to Boxx, the No. 22 player in the country, at No. 1 singles, but then raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second. The freshman from Arlington, Va. was unable to force a third set however, falling 6-1, 6-4.
Pfeifler gave Rohde-Moe, the No. 63 player in the nation, all she could handle as well. The Gulf Breeze, Fla. native was narrowly defeated 7-5, 6-3.
At spots three and four, doubles partners Kurteva and Schippers both fell in straight sets.
Kasler and Bennett each split sets at the bottom of the Tiger lineup, but with the match already clinched in Ole Miss’ favor, they were forced to play super tiebreakers to decide their matches.
Kasler had lost the first set 6-2 at No. 5, but rallied to win the second set 7-5. The 10-point tiebreaker was tight throughout, and each player traded points through 7-all. From there, Guthrie claimed the last three points and the 10-7 victory.
Bennett won her first set 6-2 at No. 6, and had an early lead in the second, before losing 6-4. Vlaar’s momentum carried into the tiebreaker and she took to frame and the match by a score of 10-1.
“Today’s final score is in no way indicative of how close we played a very good Ole Miss team,” Meisner said. “We had chances to win every single match we played today, we just didn’t win the crucial points. Our goal now is to finish out the weekend strong and bring this same intensity and fight into the match with Mississippi State. If we do that, I like our chances.”
The women’s tennis team returns to action on Sunday, March 4 when it hosts Mississippi State at the Yarbrough Tennis Center at Noon. The first 75 fans will receive a free AU water bottle. There will also be free pizza from Marco's during intermission, while supplies last. Admission is Free.
Live stats will be available on AuburnTigers.com and fans can also follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter for updates.
No. 18 Ole Miss 7, No. 67 Auburn 0
1. No. 7 Kristi Boxx / Abby Guthrie (UM) def. Emily Flickinger / Jackie Kasler (AU) 8-6
2. Gabby Rangel / Erin Stephens (UM) def. Plamena Kurteva / Paulina Schippers (AU) 9-7
3. Olivia Bennett / Jen Pfeifler (AU) def. Julia Jones / Caroline Rohde-Moe (UM) 9-7
1. No. 22 Kristi Boxx (UM) def. Emily Flickinger (AU) 6-1, 6-4
2. No. 63 Caroline Rohde-Moe (UM) def. Jen Pfeifler (AU) 7-5, 6-3
3. Erin Stephens (UM) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Julia Jones (UM) def. Paulina Schippers (AU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Abby Guthrie (UM) def. Jackie Kasler (AU) 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7)
6. Vivian Vlaar (UM) def. No. 157 Olivia Bennett (AU) 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-1)
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2*, 3) Singles (1, 3, 4*, 6, 2, 5)