Seniors Erin Gray (left) and Ashley Cowart.
April 15, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn women's tennis team won its second consecutive doubles point, but was unable to carry the momentum into singles play, as the Tigers lost to Alabama 6-1 on Senior Day on Saturday at the Luther Young Tennis Complex.
Auburn seniors Ashley Cowart and Erin Gray were recognized in between doubles and singles play. Prior to the recognition, Gray came up big for the Tigers in doubles play, as she teamed with Dzeljan Memisi to clinch the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over Sofia Ayala and Shelley Godwin in the No. 3 match.
"We got the doubles point and I felt like it was going to be one of those days that went our way," head coach Tim Gray said. "We jumped out early by winning sets in the Nos. 2, 4, and 5 matches and we were serving for the set on No. 6. We had our chances, but when we needed to finish it, we didn't come through. I was proud of the effort. All of the girls competed; nobody quit or gave up."
The Tigers (6-17, 0-11 Southeastern Conference) won the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches to earn their second consecutive doubles point. Whitney Chappell and Irina Pljusznyin began their No. 2 match versus Ashley Bentley and Natalie McElveen with six straight points before going on to win the match, 8-2. At the No. 3 position, Senior Erin Gray and Dzeljan Memisi defeated Alabama's Sofia Ayala and Shelley Godwin by a count of 8-6. In the No. 1 match Alabama's Robin Stephenson and Mari Muller defeated Ashley Cowart and Alex Haney, 8-1.
In singles play, the Crimson Tide (10-10, 6-5 SEC) was able to claim all six singles matches. The Tigers won the first set in the Nos. 2, 4 and 5 matches, but were unable to take another set.
Playing 79th-ranked Ashley Bentley at the No. 2 singles position, Whitney Chappell won her first set 6-1, but dropped the second set by a count of 6-4. In the deciding set, Bentley took the match with a 6-1 victory. Playing No. 1, Alex Haney was defeated by No. 14 Robin Stephenson - the second-highest nationally ranked SEC player - 6-1, 6-0. At the No. 3 position, Alabama's Mari Muller defeated Irina Pljusznyin, 6-1, 6-2.
At No. 6, Erin Gray was defeated by the Crimson Tide's Sofia Ayala, 7-5, 6-0. Auburn Senior Ashley Cowart faced Alabama's Natalie McElveen at the No. 4 position. Cowart won the first set, 6-2, but McElveen answered with a 6-1 victory in the second set. In the final set, McElveen won by a count of 6-2 to clinch the match for the Crimson Tide. At No. 5, Alabama's Shelley Godwin defeated the Tigers' Dzeljan Memisi, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
The Tigers return to the courts April 20 as they begin play in the SEC Championships in Gainesville, Fla. The Tigers are the 12th seed and will face fifth-seeded Tennessee at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Women's Collegiate Tennis
Alabama 6, Auburn 1
April 15, 2006
1. No. 14 Robin Stephenson (UA) def. Alex Haney (AU) 6-1, 6-0
2. No. 79 Ashley Bentley (UA) def. Whitney Chappell (AU) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1
3. Mari Muller (UA) def. Irina Pljusznyin (AU) 6-1, 6-2
4. Natalie McElveen (UA) def. Ashley Cowart (AU) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
5. Shelley Godwin (UA) def. Dzeljan Memisi (AU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
6. Sofia Ayala (UA) def. Erin Gray (AU) 7-5, 6-0
Order of finish: (1, 6, 3, 4, 5, 2)
1. Robin Stephenson/Mari Muller (UA) def. Ashley Cowart/Alex Haney (AU) 8-1
2. Whitney Chappell/Irina Pljusznyin, AU def. Ashley Bentley/Natalie McElveen (UA) 8-2
3. Dzeljan Memisi/Erin Gray, AU def. Sofia Ayala/Shelley Godwin (UA) 8-6
Order of finish: (2, 1, 3)