Women's tennis' comeback bid falls short against No. 16 Alabama

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The No. 10 Virginia women’s tennis team suffered its second loss of the season Saturday when the team’s comeback bid against No. 16 Alabama fell short, 4-3, in Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide (5-2) drew first blood, sweeping the Cavaliers (5-2) in doubles play. After a victory on the second court, Alabama’s No. 20 duo of sophomore Maya Jansen and freshman Erin Routliffe defeated the No. 3 pairing of sophomore Julia Elbaba and freshman Rachel Pierson, 8-5, to clinch the doubles point and give Alabama a 1-0 lead.

Building on momentum from doubles, the Crimson Tide claimed the first two singles matches in straight sets to extend their lead to 3-0. Refusing to go down without a fight, fourth-ranked Elbaba sparked a potential Cavalier comeback by defeating No. 76 senior Mary Anne Daines, 6-2, 6-2, to put the Cavaliers on the board. No. 107 sophomore Stephanie Nauta continued to chip away at Alabama’s lead with a victory on the fourth court before No. 39 Pierson defeated No. 59 Jansen 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to even the score.

The success of Virginia’s comeback hinged on the outcome on the fifth court, where sophomore Maci Epstein battled junior Emily Zabor in a thrilling three-set match. After splitting the first two sets, the match boiled down to the third-set tiebreaker. Zabor would not be denied, defeating Epstein 7-2 in the tiebreaker to clinch a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 win and the match for Alabama.

Virginia will look to bounce back from the loss Friday at 3:30 p.m. when the team hosts top-ranked Duke at Boar’s Head Sports Club to open ACC play.

—compiled by Kristen Cauley


Published February 16, 2014 in Sports




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