Men's tennis prepares to hosts No. 5 OklahomaBy Ben Boynton | 02/04/2016 5:40pm
The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s tennis team currently sits with a 5-2 record after a loss Friday to Florida State. The No. 29 ranked Seminoles posed a very tough challenge, but while it lost 6-1 the Crimson Tide gained valuable experience in playing such a high quality opponent.
“It’s great to play against great players,” said freshman Spencer Richey. “Just getting match experience against top guys can improve your game.”
Alabama will hope to put what they learned in Tallahassee, Florida to good use this Friday, as No. 5 ranked Oklahoma comes to Tuscaloosa. The Sooners will be motivated to play well, as they are coming off an upset loss to Wake Forest that dropped them from No. 2. Alabama will need to play the best they can to compete against such a powerful opponent.
Even though Oklahoma could be considered a heavy favorite, Alabama is by no means backing down from the challenge. In fact, they love playing great teams early in the season.
“It’s really important to test our team and see where we’re at,” said assistant coach Ryler DeHeart. “We believe the harder the matches the better. We obviously need to get some wins, but we’ve done that already, and we also want to challenge the team because we think they have a lot of potential.”
The Crimson Tide is also excited about being back at home, after two weeks between home matches.
“It’s always great to play at home,” sophomore Matthew Rossouw said. “You feel way more comfortable, and it’s nice to have a crowd out there.”
“It’s always a little bit easier to play in front of the home crowd,” DeHeart said. “At Florida State they had about 500 people in attendance, so it was pretty hostile, but that’s just part of college tennis.”
Alabama fans have done well this season in coming out to matches, and that trend will likely continue in what is the biggest match of the young season for the Crimson Tide.
The Oklahoma match is just one of three this weekend, as the Crimson Tide also host Troy and Lipscomb in a doubleheader on Sunday. The weekend should offer a good mix of challenges for Alabama with a quality opponent and a long doubleheader.
The Crimson Tide play Oklahoma on Friday at 5 p.m., then face Troy Sunday at 1 p.m., followed by Lipscomb at 5 p.m.