Alabama Wins Thriller Against Auburn, 4-3
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Freshman Natalia Maynetto won six straight games in the third set of her singles match to clinch the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide’s 4-3 victory over No. 17 Auburn on Friday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. With the win, Alabama improves to 13-1 overall and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference while the loss drops the Tigers to 14-2 on the season and 4-1 in the league.
“I was just fighting so hard,” said Maynetto. “I wasn’t trying to think about the result or how much I was down. My goal was to just stay out there and give it all I had.”
After taking the first set easily, 6-1, Maynetto dropped the second to Auburn senior Plamena Kurteva, 6-4. In the third, Kurteva built up a 5-1 lead before Maynetto went on her run for the 7-5 victory.
Alabama had to come from behind in singles as it would be edged out by Auburn in the Tide’s closest doubles point of the season, which lasted nearly 90 minutes. The Tigers’ 54th-ranked duo of freshman Pleun Burgmans and Kurteva were first to finish, topping Alabama’s No. 6 duo of senior Alexa Guarachi and junior Mary Anne Macfarlane, 8-6. Auburn’s second win would take some time, but would eventually come on court three as senior Paulina Schippers and sophomore Jen Pfeifler posted another 8-6 score for the Tigers.
The Tide won two straight points in singles, as 60th-ranked Guarachi dominated freshman Michala Kucharova, 6-3, 6-1 on court two, while Alabama sophomore Emily Zabor downed Pfeifler, 6-1, 6-3 on court five. Auburn picked up its first singles win next as No. 51 Burgmans outlasted No. 20 Macfarlane, 6-3, 7-6(2) on court one. Senior Antonia Foehse awarded the Tide its third point of the match as she rallied to beat junior Jackie Kasler, 7-6(4), 6-3, on court four. The Tigers would even the count, despite a hard-fought performance from freshman Maya Jansen, who won six straight games to take the second set. From there, all eyes would turn to the battle on court six, which eventually decided the victor.
“There’s a flood of emotions right now,” said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “This team will not quit. We’ve talked repeatedly about being in challenging situations, and they won’t back down. Everyone plays their part. For Natalia to be down 5-1 and fight her way into that match is more than clutch.”
Alabama returns to action on Friday, March 22, when it heads to Gainesville to take on the fourth-ranked Florida Gators. The match is slated to begin at 5 p.m. CT.
1. No. 54 Burgmans/Kurteva (AU) def. No. 6 Guarachi/Macfarlane (UA) 8-6
2. Foehse/Jansen (UA) vs. Kasler/Flickinger (AU) 7-7, unf.
3. Pfeifler/Schippers (AU) def. Zabor/Maynetto (UA) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3
1. No. 51 Pleun Burgmans (AU) def. No. 20 Mary Anne Macfarlane (UA) 6-3, 7-6(2)
2. No. 60 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. Michala Kucharova (AU) 6-3, 6-1
3. Emily Flickinger (AU) def. No. 73 Maya Jansen (UA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
4. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. Jackie Kasler (AU) 7-6(4), 6-3
5. Emily Zabor (UA) def. Jen Pfeifler (AU) 6-1, 6-3
6. No. 115 Natalia Maynetto (UA) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Order of Finish: 2,5,1,4,3,6*