FAYETTEVILLE – With a two-match skid now behind them, the 15th-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team will look to right the ship this weekend as they travel to the state of Alabama to take on the 35th-ranked Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers on Friday and Sunday respectively.
Last weekend, Arkansas (13-6, 3-3 SEC) faced off against Tennessee and Georgia, but did not have their best matches of the season as they dropped both, 6-1 and 7-0 for their second and third conference losses. There was a bright spot on the weekend, however, as freshman Jade Frampton was the lone winner on Friday against the Lady Vols and the win gave her 20 on the season and was her 11th in last 12 matches.
“They were both good matches,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “We certainly didn’t play too poorly in either match, we just got beaten by a good Georgia and Tennessee team, both of which are highly ranked. It was a little disappointing, but we’re looking to bounce back this weekend and try to establish ourselves again as we move forward toward the end of the regular season.”
The first opponent in this weekend’s slate is the Alabama Crimson Tide, a team the Hogs have defeated four out of the last five years, including a 6-1 win last year at the Billingsley Tennis Center. This season, the Crimson Tide are ranked No. 35 in the nation by ITA and hold a 9-5 record overall and 2-3 record in the SEC. Riding a two-match winning streak into their competition with the Hogs, the Tide also bring the reigning SEC Player of the Week, Courtney McLane, who provided the clinching point over the Vanderbilt Commodores last time out and their first victory over Vandy since 1994.
In the rankings, freshman Mary Anne Mcfarlane leads a trio of Tide players in singles at No. 40, followed by Alexa Guarachi, who is No. 85, and then McLane, who ranks No. 111. In doubles, Guarachi and McLane are one of the top tandems in the country as they rank No. 15 in the nation, as well as the team of Macfarlane and Antonia Foehse, who are listed at No. 60.
On Sunday, the Razorbacks will head to Auburn to face the Tigers, who go into April still searching for their first conference victory. Auburn sits at 4-13 on the year and 0-6 in SEC play and are coming off losses to Vanderbilt and at Kentucky by a 7-0 and 6-1 score respectively. The lone win came from Caroline Thornton. All-time, Arkansas holds a 15-12 record against the Tigers and have been winners in the previous two matches.
“Going to Auburn and Alabama is always a difficult trip,” said Hegarty. “It’s outdoors at both places and we’re really just now starting to get our outdoor game going. Every time we go down there we get two great matches. We will certainly continue to work on the things that we need to do at the end of the season.”
With the exception of the previous weekend, the Hogs have truly had a stellar year so far and the numbers prove it. As a team, Arkansas has a nearly .600 winning percentage in singles altogether and are over .550 in doubles. Senior Anouk Tigu continues to lead the way for the Hogs as she holds the third-best record on the team in singles at 18-9. The leader in that wins category comes in the form of freshman Jade Frampton, who sits at 20-9 and has been a winner in 11 of her first 13 matches in dual play. The majority of Frampton’s wins have come at the No. 6 spot, where she is 10-2 on the season. Frampton is also a winner of two SEC Freshman of the Week awards so far this season and looks to build on that number as the season continues.
In doubles, the Hogs number-one team consisting of Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson are at a team-leading 20-8 record and 13-5 this spring. 11 of those 13 wins have come at the top court. This solid play by Tigu and Paulson have earned them a ranking of No. 24 by ITA.
Friday’s match with Alabama is set to begin at 2 p.m. and live stats will be available for that match. The match on Sunday against the Auburn Tigers will start at 1 p.m. Full match recaps for both days will be available after each match is final on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.