Women's Tennis upsets No. 13 KentuckyBy Mike Schwartz | 03/24/2017 11:56pm
On Friday night, the Alabama women’s tennis team suited up and sported its Power of Pink jerseys to take on the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats. For a team that had been going through turbulent times, a rebound was necessary, and bounce back Alabama did.
All night Alabama was the hungrier team and was willing to lay it out on the line to capture the victory. In its 4-2 triumph over the Wildcats, the Crimson Tide showed the grit and tenacity it takes to compete with such high level of competition like the No. 13 team in the country.
Alabama showed it was ready for battle as early as doubles play kicked off. Andie Daniell and Joanna Savva went back and forth with Kentucky's Morgan Chumney and Akvile Parazinskaite to split the first six games of the set. It was then that the Alabama duo would go on to string together three straight wins, to take the first set for Alabama 6-3. Soon after, Emily Fanning and Justina Mikulskyte were able to take care of business against the Crimson Tide duo of Danielle Spielmann and Juliana Valero 6-4 to knot up the doubles matches.
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Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe squared off with Kentucky’s top doubles pair, Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi. Pothoff and Routliffe stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the set, but Kentucky would not go silently. Adachi and Sutjiadi not only equaled Alabama’s rally but also took the lead thanks to four straight wins. The two pairs would swap the next few games and found themselves at a 6-6 tie. With the interlock, the doubles point would go to the duo who got to seven points first and thanks to their perseverance, Routliffe and Pothoff prevailed secured the doubles point.
The crowd was still energized from the high intensity displayed in doubles play and when it settled back down singles play commenced. Mikulskyte quickly got the equalizer for the Wildcats in her victory over Juliana Valero 6-4, 6-4. Subsequently, the Crimson Tide collected two more wins in singles play to go up 3-1 in the match. It was Routliffe who defeated No. 19 Aldila Sutjiadi 6-3, 6-4, and Parazinskaite fell to Daniel 6-2, 7-5. In straight sets Spielmann fell short to Mami Adachi of Kentucky 6-2, 7-5.
With the game on the line, Smith Hinton controlled the destiny of the match and came through in the clutch. Hinton faced off with Fanning in the three set thriller, the players split the first two sets and fittingly came down to a final set. Hinton stumbled out of the gates in the set by losing three of the first four games, but came right back and capped off the night with five straight wins. When the junior from North Carolina seized momentum, she never gave it up for grabs again. Hinton went on to win the match and took home the win for the Crimson Tide in her 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 victory.
The upset marked the first win in conference play of the spring season for Alabama and upped their record to 7-10 on the year. Kentucky’s record drops to 12-3. Next up for Alabama is a matchup against the No. 8 Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.