Women's Tennis Looks to Rebound Versus Auburn, Alabama
March 10, 2011
South Carolina (6-4, 0-2 SEC) looks to recover from a disappointing start to conference play, as it fell 4-3 at No. 14 Arkansas on Friday and then lost 4-0 at No. 64 LSU. In both matches, the Gamecocks were swept in the doubles competition. Versus Arkansas, the Gamecocks came away with wins at one, two and five singles in falling short in their comeback bid. South Carolina lost at one, three and six singles in losing to the Tigers.
"I think to turn things around, it has to come from the team," head coach Arlo Elkins said. "They have to get themselves ready. There's nothing we as coaches can do. We can talk to them, we can tell them what we want them to do, but it's got to come from within. I think they all realize from practice this week that they really got themselves behind the eight ball and now they have to do something about it. I really look for them to come out this weekend with a whole different attitude and a whole different fight than we did last week."
Auburn (2-9, 0-2 SEC) also took a pair of losses last weekend to begin SEC play, losing 7-0 to No. 11 Georgia in its opener and 6-1 to No. 21 Tennessee. The Tigers lost their first four matches to start the season against Michigan, NC State, Florida State and Georgia Tech. They earned wins over Alabama A&M and Memphis before falling to Ohio State, DePaul and Utah at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., prior to the start of SEC matches.
Alabama (7-3, 0-1 SEC) had its first match of the SEC season suspended against Tennessee due to inclement weather. The Tide and Lady Vols began with singles play because of the weather forecast in an attempt to get the match completed, but weather forced them to discontinue play after three stoppages along the way. Alabama then dropped a 4-3 decision to Georgia despite winning the doubles point. The Bulldogs won on courts one, two, five and six in singles, with the clinching point coming from the No. 6 position.
The Gamecocks made several changes to their lineup for this weekend's matches, particularly in doubles. The No. 1 doubles duo of Dominika Kanakova and Dijana Stojic, ranked No. 54, remained in tact, but Anya Morgina and Miljana Jocic will now team up at the No. 2 spot. The two played sparing together in the fall, going 2-2 and were 5-2 in dual matches a year ago. At three, Katerina Popova will play with Madeleine Saari-Byström, a combo that went 3-2 during the fall campaign but has not played a dual match.
In singles, South Carolina made a switch at the Nos. 3 and 4 positions, moving Saari-Byström from three to four while bumping Popova up from the No. 4 slot. Saari-Byström owns a 14-5 record this season and is 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Popova has posted an 11-5 mark overall and went 4-3 in eight matches on court four. Her last match against LSU was suspended in the second set. Morgina, who is ranked 65th, will continue to occupy court one and Stojic will stay on court two. Kanakova will also remain in her usual spot of five, and Josefin Andersson is listed at No. 6 singles.
The Gamecocks have nearly identical records at all three spots in doubles, going 5-4 at one, 5-5 at two and 5-4 at three. Kanakova and Stojic have played all the matches at one. Morgina and Popova have been Carolina's No. 3 team all year, but it will change with this weekend's match-ups. The No. 5 singles position has been the Gamecocks' best at 8-1 thanks largely to Kanakova, who is 6-1 there and riding a six-match unbeaten streak.
Auburn plays Paulina Schippers at No. 1 singles and doubles with partner Olivia Bennett, who is No. 2 singles. Caroline Thornton is on court three for singles and doubles, while her partner Taylor Schreimann is No. 6 singles. Plamena Kurteva and Jacqueline Kasler play Nos. 4 and 5 for singles and team up on court two for doubles play. The Tigers' strongest position in singles this season has been court four, where they are 4-6 overall, while court two is their best in doubles at 4-7.
Alabama has three ranked players for the top half of their lineup with Mary Anne Macfarlane topping the list at No. 29 for court one. Alexa Guarachi is No. 69 in singles and plays the second position, while Courtney McLane is 116th in the nation and listed at No. 3 singles. Guarachi and McLane combine to form the seventh-ranked doubles team in the land on court one. Macfarlane and Antonia Foehse, Alabama's No. 5 singles, are ranked No. 31 in doubles and play the third spot. At two doubles are Alex Clay and Taylor Lindsey, who occupy the Nos. 4 and 6 courts in singles.
Alabama's doubles play this season has been outstanding with a combined dual match record of 23-2 between the three courts. The Tide has also been solid in singles and owns winning records at all six positions. Alabama's best record has been No. 6 singles where it is 7-1. Each of its other five slots has taken at least three defeats.
The Gamecocks hold advantages in the all-time series with both teams, going 13-7 against Alabama and 23-5 versus Auburn. South Carolina has won four straight over the Crimson Tide dating back to 2007. Despite an impressive record against the Tigers, the Gamecocks have lost three of the prior four meetings with Auburn, two of them coming in 4-3 decisions.
South Carolina will take a break from SEC play following the weekend with a home match against No. 25 VCU on Wednesday, March 16, at 2 p.m. and then it will travel to College of Charleston for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday, March 20.
This Weekend's Lineups