March 9, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 75 Auburn women’s tennis won its second consecutive SEC match on Friday afternoon when it upset No. 34 Arkansas, 5-2.
It was the first win for the Tigers (7-4) over the Razorbacks since a 4-3 win in 2008. The back-to-back league wins are the first for the program since March 14 and 26, 2010 when it defeated South Carolina (4-3) and Kentucky (5-2).
“We came out really strong in doubles and set the tone early,” Auburn head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “We executed our game plan at the right times and we finished at the net like we have practiced. We used the wind to our advantage as well. Winning that point gave us a lot of confidence that we could beat a nationally-ranked team like Arkansas.”
After Olivia Bennett and Jen Pfeifler fell at No. 2, the top doubles team of Emily Flickinger and Jackie Kasler took out Claudine Paulson and Laurie Gingras, 8-6, to clinch the doubles point for the Tigers.
“We used that point as a big momentum push,” Longbotham Meisner said. “We were able to play our game and stick to our doubles plan. We didn’t let how they played change our strategy and that allowed us to claim the early lead.”
In singles, Auburn jumped out to a 3-1 lead in short order. Arkansas briefly tied the score at 1-1, but soon after, both Bennett and Flickinger were off the court swiftly with victories to widen the gap.
Bennett, ranked No. 125 in the latest ITA singles rankings, defeated Parenteau at No. 5, 6-1, 6-2, while Flickinger downed Paulson at No. 2, 6-3, 6-3.
“We knew it would be a close match,” Longbotham Meisner said. “I am extremely proud of how Emily and Olivia took care of business quickly. Once we got up 3-1, it took some pressure off everyone else and put it on them. The rest of the team was able to relax a little bit and focus on each point.”
Sophomore Jackie Kasler clinched the match for Auburn when she closed out Lukomskaya at the No. 4 spot, 7-5, 6-4. The final score was set when Pfeifler battled back from a set down to win the second set 7-5, and then claimed the 10-point super tiebreaker 10-7 for her second straight league win.
“I thought Jackie played exceptional and she didn’t let the pressure of clinching the match get to her.” Longbotham Meisner said. “She stayed focused and disciplined and took care of business when we needed her to. Jen then did the same in her match. With the match decided, she was able to let loose and helped us finish with a good final margin.”
The two SEC wins for Auburn is more than the team had all of last season.
“It is exciting for me to see the hard work we put in and the things we practice daily show up in matches,” Longbotham Meisner said. “The team is taking what we teach into matches and that is really exciting for me to see. This was a total team effort. Everyone who played contributed to a win somehow, whether in doubles or singles. Our goal is to finish nationally ranked and in order to achieve that, we need everyone on the team to keep playing well.”
Auburn returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., to face LSU. The match will take place at the W.T. "Dub" Robinson Stadium at Noon.
For more information on Auburn women’s tennis follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter.
No. 75 Auburn 5, No. 34 Arkansas 2
1. Emily Flickinger/Jackie Kasler (AU) def. Claudine Paulson/Laurie Gingras (UA) 8-6
2. Emily Carbone/Stephanie Roy (UA) def. Olivia Bennett/Jen Pfeifler (AU) 8-4
3. Plamena Kurteva/Taylor Schreimann (AU) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Catherine Parenteau (UA) 8-2
1. Jen Pfeifler (AU) def. Emily Carbone (UA) 5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7)
2. Emily Flickinger (AU) def. Claudine Paulson (UA) 6-3, 6-3
3. Stephanie Roy (UA) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Jackie Kasler (AU) def. Kate Lukomskaya (UA) 7-5, 6-4
5. No. 125 Olivia Bennett (AU) def. Catherine Parenteau (UA) 6-1, 6-2
6. Laurie Gingras (UA) def. Taylor Schreimann (AU) 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3, 2, 1*) Singles (6, 5, 2, 3, 4*, 1)