By (Ben Boynton)

When sophomore Korey Lovett’s final rally ended in a match victory, he was instantly mobbed by his teammates before he even had a chance to realize what had just happened. At 7:27 p.m. Friday night, Lovett and his teammates accomplished something that hadn’t been done since 2008.

Alabama men’s tennis earned a 4-3 home victory against the Auburn Tigers, the first home victory against Alabama’s rival in eight years. In a Southeastern Conference full of talented teams, this win may just be a little bit sweeter than most.

The tone was set by the crowd early on. The first 100 fans to arrive got seat cushions and koozies, and plenty of streamers were distributed amongst the faithful as well. Men’s basketball coach Avery Johnson performed the ceremonial first serve, getting the fans buzzing before play even began.

Doubles play was close, with the two teams trading leads on two of the three courts and tying on the third. Alabama was able to come up with the first match, getting a 6-3 win from the pair Becker O’Shaughnessey and Grayson Goldin. Facing Auburn match points on the other two courts, Alabama rallied to earn a 7-5 win from freshman Spencer Richey and sophomore Matthew Rossouw.

In singles play, Rossouw made the match 2-0 with a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory. Freshman Mazen Osama extended the lead to 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 victory. The other four matches all went to three sets. Goldin lost 6-3, 2-6, 1-6 to give Auburn its first point of the night. Seconds later, Lovett was able to finish off a rally after losing his first set, earning a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory to secure the team win.

The remaining two matches would be allowed to finish. Auburn would take both, with O’Shaughnessey falling 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 and Richey losing 4-6, 6-4, 2-6 to make the final score 4-3.

Coach George Husack praised his team for the tough win against a rival.

“It means a lot,” Husack said. “You can throw out the records and rankings. It doesn’t matter [when we play Auburn]. “

Lovett was excited to get the win, but also echoed what the team has said before about the rivalry match.

“We obviously want to win it,” Lovett said. “The whole team thinks of it as a bigger match than it should be, but we still got through it.”

The team will be back in action Sunday afternoon against No. 16 Florida, and the Crimson Tide is looking to build off of its successes against Auburn going into the match. Lovett said the team plans to keep it pretty simple.

The match is set to start at 1 p.m. CT.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports