History repeating itself as women's tennis works to overcome tough stretchBy Mike Schwartz | 03/26/2017 3:21pm
What was once thought to be impossible is now deemed as inevitable, the Alabama women’s tennis team may be doomed to repeat history.
Typically, repeating history can be construed in one of two ways: an imminent wave of achievement is near or looking down the barrel of a lost season. For this team, it is the latter. While the team may not be down in the dumps quite like the 2014 Philadelphia 76ers team, the women on the team are enduring a brutal stretch only matched and surpassed by last years team.
In the spring season of the 2016 campaign, the Crimson Tide with SEC play looming, entered with a mediocre record of 4-5 then proceeded to drop 13 consecutive matches in conference play. Just as the 76ers matured and hope grew, “The Process” seemed to be working for this Alabama team. The team record increased to 6-4 as conference play reared its ugly head, and just as last year, the team has yet to walk away from a match victoriously.
“We need to work harder and harder each day especially and practice, if we push ourselves and each other we will be able to get over this hump,” said senior Erin Routliffe.
Routliffe may be onto something. Although the Crimson Tide have not been able to pick up a win in one of the last six matches, they have rarely been blown out. In all, Alabama has lost their match from a score of 4-3 a total of four times. Possibly showing that they are on the precious but can’t quite get over the invisible barrier.
Especially to a young team like this, words from a seasoned vet like Routliffe can set a fire underneath the belly of a squad and give them the lift they need. Looking up to and heeding advice from a decorated veteran like Routliffe seems to be the right move for the young players on the team. It can’t hurt to learn from the 2014 doubles champion.
“The intensity needs to be picked up, we are right there with the competition but the intensity is what will give us the edge over the others,” Routliffe said.
The veteran may be right again with the fact that Alabama is competing with the team's opposite and Routliffe seems determined to carry this team over the hump. Still, with the stiff competition that lies ahead like the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 8 Vanderbilt Commodores, the Tide will be forced to play their best tennis with nothing held back.
“Being a senior I realize it brings the pressure of being looked upon for leadership but I don’t see it as a pressure situation," Routliffe said. "I look forward to the challenges really. Although I don’t like thinking about my time here coming to an end after this spring I like to make sure that I have fun on the court while bringing an equal intensity."
Routliffe and the Tide will be back home friday night and action will resume against the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats at the Alabama tennis stadium starting at 6 p.m. CT.