March 3, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. – Senior Plamena Kurteva clinched Auburn’s first win over Ole Miss since 2009 with a 7-5, 6-3 deciding victory at No. 6 to give the Tigers a 4-3 win over Ole Miss on Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center.
“This is a complete total team effort,” Auburn women’s tennis head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “I knew it would come down to doubles point. That’s why we practice it so much. Once we got the doubles point, I knew we could do it. It gave us great momentum. We felt good going into singles. We had two freshmen who really outdid themselves.
“Michala played outstanding today. She’s really been fighting hard. For her to play the way she did was big. Pleun picked up a huge win over a highly ranked player. I’m just really proud. Our two goals were to win the doubles point and to record a perfect weekend. This is my first SEC perfect weekend, so this is very special.”
With her team leading 3-2, Kurteva buckled down to earn the win on six and help Auburn improve to 12-1 in 2013. The victory is the 12th in a row for the Tigers, a program record.
“Momentum shifted a little bit after they picked up a couple of wins,” Meisner said. “I knew Plamena was going to win. She came out in beast mode in warm ups. Of course, if it comes down to 3-all, then I want her there. She never let up. She didn’t let the nerves get to her. Credit Jen too, who stayed on the court and it really helped Plamena stay comfortable. Everyone played a hand in this win.”
Ole Miss (2-6, 0-2) tied the match at 1-1 when Emily Flickinger fell on court three to Julia Jones, 2-6, 1-6. The Tigers (12-1, 2-0) quickly responded with a 6-2, 6-4 victory by Michala Kucharova at the second spot as she dropped Mai El Kamash.
Auburn pushed its lead to 2-1 with a thrilling come-from-behind win at the top spot by Pleun Burgmans. The freshman took the first set with ease, 6-2, but fell in the second, 5-7. She then battled back in the deciding set to record a 6-4 set win and the victory.
The Rebels bounced back with a 6-3, 6-0 win by Emily Stephens over Jackie Kasler at No. 4 to keep the pressure on and make it 3-2 in favor of Auburn. Ole Miss came all the way back to tie the match at 3-3 with a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) defeat of Jen Pfeifler by Marija Milutinovic to set the stage for Kurteva.
Auburn took a quick 1-0 lead by securing a hotly contested doubles point with a 9-8 victory by Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers on court three over Jones and Iris Verboven. The Tigers also got a win at the second line by Kasler and Flickinger with an 8-4 defeat of El Kamash and Vief Vlarr.
The doubles victory for Auburn was its 12th in 13 matches this season.
Auburn is in action next on Friday when it hosts LSU at 3 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis.