April 14, 2012
AUBURN – A robust crowd of the Auburn faithful watched the 63rd-ranked Auburn women’s tennis team fall by a margin in a 4-3 defeat to No. 7 Alabama on Saturday night at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
“We wanted to leave everything on the court and end the regular season on a positive note and we did that tonight,” Auburn head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “I’ve never been more proud of this team that I was tonight. I knew it was going to be a challenge, obviously, we are going up against the No. 7 team in the country. We gave the match everything we’ve got. We played smart tennis. We were brave. We made Alabama earn every single point that they got. I am very, very proud of this team. Last year was a two-hour match, 7-0. For us to go four-and-a-half hours and almost beat them and be there proves that we can play with anyone in the country.”
The loss is the fourth conference defeat of the year for Auburn by the score of 4-3. The Tigers wrap the regular season at 8-12, 3-7 in SEC play.
“The last eight months have been a process,” Longbotham Meisner said. “First, you have to teach them how to compete and be confident. Then, you have to teach them how to win. We’ve been stuck between the competing and the winning and tonight I think that they gave everything they have. Tonight, even though it really, really hurts because we were so close, us leaving it out there and giving it all was totally worth it. We are very confident and especially for such a young team, we are going to keep getting better and better. For us to go 4-3 with the No. 7 team in the country shows how far this team has come. If you would have said we were going to do this eight months ago, I don’t think anybody would’ve believed it.”
With the loss and an Arkansas win, Auburn will be the ninth seed in next week’s SEC Women’s Tennis Championship. The Tigers will face eighth-seed Tennessee at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Olivia Bennett continued her strong play with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Taylor Lindsey at the sixth line. The Tigers kept their climb back into the match going with a 7-6, 7-5 win by Plamena Kurteva on court three. The victory was the first over a ranked opponent for Kurteva in 2012 and broke a five-match winless streak.
With the outcome of the match hanging in the balance, both Jackie Kasler and Emily Flickinger battled into deciding third sets. Flickinger dropped the third set and the match to No. 15 Mary Anne Macfarlane, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6 to give Alabama the fourth point and the win.
Despite Alabama clinching the match, Kasler kept her composure and finished off Alex Clay. The sophomore bounced back from an opening-set defeat of 2-6 to earn 6-4 and 6-3 wins in the final two sets and record the victory.
Alabama swept the doubles action to take the early point and pushed its lead to 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Jen Pfeifler by Alexa Guarachi.
Prior to the match Auburn honored its lone senior, Texas-native Taylor Schreimann.
Auburn’s next action comes at the 2012 SEC Tennis Championships hosted by the University of Mississippi on April 19. For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter.