Up Next For Arkansas: The Lady’Backs travel to Alabama this weekend for a Friday match against the 29th ranked University of Alabama and a Sunday contest against unranked Auburn.
About Alabama: The Crimson Tide is coming off two home losses against consecutive top-ten teams Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The Commodores doused the Tide with the same score they defeated Arkansas with just two weeks ago, 6-1. Alabama’s lone win came from Alabama No. 1 Robin Stephenson. Currently Stephenson is ranked 8th in the country in singles with an 11-6 record this spring. Against Kentucky, the Wildcats fought Sunday afternoon to a 5-2 victory in Tuscaloosa. 58th ranked Ashley Bentley and Melissa Minor scored wins in the loss. Minor’s victory upset 46th ranked Sarah Foster in a super tiebreaker. Last year in Fayetteville, Iliana Pacheco and Melissa Cornett each captured singles wins in three sets despite a 5-2 Alabama win. All-time, the Lady Razorbacks are 9-10 against the Crimson Tide.
About Auburn: If anyone is as ready for an SEC win this season besides Arkansas, it’s the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are 0-8 in Southeastern Conference play and 6-11 overall. Last weekend, Auburn, like Alabama, face No. 5 Kentucky and No. 6 Vanderbilt, respectively. On Friday, Kentucky blanked the Tigers 6-0, but Auburn forced two second set tiebreakers and on third set by Sarah Suitor. On Sunday against Vanderbilt, Auburn was blanked again, this time 7-0 and in straight sets by the surging Commodores.
Tournament Time: The 2005 SEC Tournament is just around the corner, April 21-24. This year’s tournament is to be held at the University of Alabama at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. For more information, please visit the University of Alabama’s website, rolltide.com.
Ole Miss recap: Before the match, the Lady’Backs clung to an opportunity of winning the Western Division with just a 0-1 record in divisional play. However, Ole Miss doused the title hopes and proved why they sit in a close second in the Western Division standings as Arkansas falls to 10-8(0-8) for the year. The Lady Razorbacks looked solid in doubles play, but Maryori Franco and Karina Ledaja retired on court two to give the Lady Rebels the doubles advantage. In singles, Franco battled back after dropping the first set, 6-2, to Ole Miss’s Virginia Tomatis by owning the second set, 6-1. The match was forced to a super tiebreaker that was controlled by a consistent Tomatis, who won the decider, 10-8. On court one, Vlatka Jovanovic squared off against Chloe Carlotti, marking her fifth consecutive opponent ranked 60 or higher. The first set slipped away from Jovanovic, 6-3, but the Zagreb, Croatia native evened the score with a 6-4 win in the second. Another super tiebreaker ensued in which Jovanovic jumped out to a 5-2 lead with several long rallies ending in her favor. Carlotti played aggressively at the net in the next few points to give her the momentum needed for a tiebreaker win.
Mississippi State Recap: The doubles point was as close a race as any as Maryori Franco and Karina Ledaja evened the score at one match apiece after a Lady’Back loss on court one. The Arkansas pair improves to 9-5 together for the season and marks their third Southeastern Conference win this season. With the doubles knotted at one, the doubles point came down to senior-freshman team Iliana Pacheco and Audrey Bordeleau. The match was forced into a tiebreaker, with Mississippi State’s Polina Kokoulina and Magdi Rekasi holding on for an 8-7(4) win to give MSU a 1-0 advantage. A two-court dynamic put Jovanovic andPacheco on the singles court first, but MSU extended their lead with wins on both lines. On court three, Ledaja dropped her first set, 6-3, to MSU’s Tarryn Rudman, but jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second. Rudman came back, winning five straight games to put the Lady’Backs on the ropes. Ledaja won the next two to even the score, but Rudman squeezed out two more games to give Mississippi State the win.