By (Ben Boynton)

The University of Alabama women’s tennis team came up with a big win in front of a raucous crowd in its first home match of the season, as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The No. 15 Crimson Tide defeated Penn 5-0 on Saturday.

The fans showed up in full force to create an energetic atmosphere in their first opportunity to see the team this year at home.

“Our crowd was awesome,” Coach Jenny Mainz said. “They’re vibrant and full of energy, and it really helps the players so much. It creates such a festive environment in here. It’s loud and it’s imposing.”

The Crimson Tide gave fans plenty to cheer about in a match that featured plenty of success and resilience. Alabama started by taking the doubles point thanks to a 6-4 win from juniors Joanna Nena Savva and Danielle Spielmann and a 6-2 win from freshman Andie Daniell and junior Erin Routliffe.

In singles play, Alabama got off to a fast start, winning five of the six first sets, including two 6-0 wins and two 6-2 wins. Penn refused to back down however, and forced the Crimson Tide to give everything they had to come up with wins.

First, Spielmann dug in for a 6-0, 6-4 victory. Senior Natalia Maynetto delivered a stirring 6-0, 6-4 win that required her to make a comeback after being down in the second set. Sophomore Bennett Dunn clinched the day for the Tide with a 6-2, 6-3 win, and Routliffe clinched her match 7-5, 6-1 just seconds after Dunn finished.

Spielmann said she felt the crowd gave the team a big boost during the match.

“It’s always nice to play at home, and our fans, our crowd give a huge advantage by all showing up every single match,” Spielmann said. “It’s not something you can take for granted, and they’ve pulled us through some really tough ones. It’s awesome.”

The crowd was at capacity, and some people had to stand to watch the match. The fan support was impressive, especially considering all that was going on in Tuscaloosa, including a parade for the National Championship in football and a big basketball game against LSU. These dedicated fans came out to root for the Crimson Tide, and made a difference.

It wasn’t just the crowd working in Alabama’s favor. The whole team showed impressive composure, especially on what Mainz called the “big points”.

“On the 30-all points, the deuce points, we were pretty consistent on being ahead,” Mainz said. “We did a really good job playing decisively and playing on our terms.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports