Oct. 14, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Auburn Women's tennis team enjoyed a successful season debut on Friday in the opening day of action at the Roberta Allison Classic hosted by the University of Alabama.
The Tigers picked up eight wins in 12 matches on the day, including going 2-0 in doubles competition. Auburn started strong with the tournament's top-ranked doubles team of Jacqueline Kasler and Jen Pfeifler taking an 8-6 victory over Houston's Byrony Hunter and Giorgia Pozzan.
The team of Kasler and Pfeifler was teaming for the first time since 2010, when they won their third-straight Florida high school doubles championship.
"The girls all played well today, but we had to shake off some nerves that come along with this being our first tournament of the fall," head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. "We were able to pick up two quality doubles wins and had a strong showing in singles play. We are aiming to close out the tournament on a high note on Saturday by bringing the same fight and intensity we showed on the courts today."
Auburn's other doubles pairing, Plamena Kurteva and Emily Flickinger, knocked off Troy duo Karoline Grymel and Candela Munoz 8-4 to give the squad a perfect 2-0 mark on the morning.
Singles competition began in the afternoon and Pfeifler continued her strong play in her Tigers debut with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Olga Bazhanova (Nortwestern State). The freshman fell to 1-1 on the day in the second round with a 1-6, 0-6 defeat at the hands of NC State's Joelle Kisssell in Flight One play.
Flickinger dropped her first singles match 1-6, 4-6 to Kristin Lewis from Samford, but rebounded to knock off Flight Two's top-rated player Iris Verboven (Ole Miss) with a hard-fought 7-5 win in the first set before finishing her off 6-0 for the victory.
Kurteva lost the second set and match after her rally fall short and she fell 0-6, 4-6 to Tatiana Larina from Northwestern St. The junior from Bulgaria bounced back in her second match and earned a 6-1, 6-4 win over Nayara Moraes (Middle Tennessee).
Kasler, the top seed in Flight Four, knocked off North Carolina St.'s Chloe Smith 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round, but dropped a three-set match to Emily Zabor from the host Crimson Tide 5-7, 6-3, 3-6 to narrowly miss her respective draw final.
Sophomore Taylor Cohen is the lone Tiger that will play for a singles draw title on Saturday. The Duluth, Ga.-native earned an easy 6-0, 6-1 win over West Alabama's Angy Cuellar in her first action of the day before defeating Gabby Viega from Troy 7-6(2), 6-2. Cohen squares off with Georgia State's Kir Kemp for the draw title.
Play continues at the Alabama Tennis Stadium on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. with two rounds of doubles play, followed by the final round of individual action.
(1) Jen Pfeifler / Jacqueline Kasler (Auburn) def. Byrony Hunter/Giorgia Pozzan (Houston) 8-6
Plamena Kurteva / Emily Flickinger (Auburn) def. (4) Karoline Grymel/Candela Munoz (Troy) 8-5
Jen Pfeifler (Auburn) def. (3) Olga Bazhanova (NW State) 6-4, 6-3
(2) Joelle Kissell (NC State) def. Jen Pfeifler (Auburn) 1-6, 0-6
Kristin Lewis (Samford) def. (4) Emily Flickinger (Auburn) 1-6, 4-6
(4) Emily Flickinger (Auburn) def. (1) Iris Verboven (Mississippi) 7-5, 6-0
(3) Tatiana Larina (NW State) def. Plamena Kurteva (Auburn) 0-6, 4-6
Plamena Kurteva (Auburn) def. Nayara Moraes (MTSU) 6-1, 6-4
(1) Jacqueline Kasler (Auburn) def. Chloe Smith (NC State) 6-2, 6-4
(4) Emily Zabor (Alabama) def. (1) Jacqueline Kasler (Auburn) 5-7, 6-3, 3-6
Taylor Cohen (Auburn) def. Angy Cuellar (West Alabama) 6-0, 6-1
Taylor Cohen (Auburn) def. (2) Gabby Viega (Troy) 7-6(2), 6-2