FORT WORTH, Texas -- The No. 21 TCU women's tennis squad dropped a tough match to No. 63 Alabama Saturday by the score of 4-3. The Horned Frogs fall to 4-5 for the season, while the Crimson Tide advance to 8-0.
“We had a couple of freshman step up today, which is good to see,” TCU head coach Jefferson Hammond said. “If we can just get everyone to play well on the same day, we are going to start having plenty of success.”
TCU jumped on the Crimson Tide in doubles to being the afternoon, sweeping all three matches for the point. Newcomer Kayla Duncan and sophomore Katariina Tuohimaa got the Frogs going with a dominating win over Alabama’s Taylor Lindsey and Paulina Bigos, moving the TCU duo to 5-3 for the season.
Seniors Macall Harkins and Anna Sydorska, currently ranked No. 13 in the country, clinched the point for the Purple and White with an 8-5 victory over No. 38 Courtney McLane and Tiffany Welcher. The win marks the first for TCU’s top pairing since defeating Federica Suess and Noemi Scharle of Florida State on Feb. 1.
Sophomore Maria Babanova and freshman Gaby Mastromarino teamed up for the second time this season, moving to 2-0 for the year after taking down Alabama’s Merritt Emery and Shelley Godwin by the score of 8-6. The TCU tandem claimed its other season win against North Carolina State last Saturday.
In single action, Mastromarino gave the Frogs’ a 2-0 advantage after making quick work of Emery, 6-2, 6-2. The Tequesta, Fla., native snapped a short two-match losing skid to advance to 4-3 for the year.
Alabama would bounce back, taking down the Frogs from the Nos. 5, 1 and 2 positions, respectively, and taking a 3-2 lead. Sydorska dropped her seventh match in singles play, falling to the Tide’s Shelly Godwin, 6-2, 6-3. Harkins, ranked 85th in singles, fell at the hands of unranked Welcher, 6-2, 6-2, while Tuohimaa was defeated by McLane, 6-4, 6-4.
Duncan would drag TCU back into the match from the No. 3 position, taking care of Paulina Bigos in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. The match was suddenly all-square, 3-3, with sophomore Idunn Hertzberg and Alabama’s Lindsey on the No. 6 court.
Hertzberg kept the match close in the beginning, knotting the first set at 1-1 and 2-2, but Lindsey would take the opening frame, 6-4. Hertzberg would fight back in the second stanza, but it wasn’t enough to push to a third set, losing 6-4, 6-4.
“We have struggled a little bit in the last couple of matches, but we will get it turned around,” Hammond said. “We’ve got a strong team, we just have to keep going after it and stay loose.”
TCU will have some time to regroup and refresh before hitting the road for College Station Thursday to face in-state opponent No. 30 Texas A&M. TCU has the upper hand in the all-time series against the Aggies, holding a 21-17 advantage.