By (Ben Boynton)

It has been a rough stretch for the University of Alabama women’s tennis team. The team is currently mired in a seven-match losing streak, and it has not won since Feb. 26 against Princeton in Birmingham. Of those seven losses, five of them have been on the road or at a neutral site, with the four most recent matches being true away matches.

Coach Jenny Mainz is not disappointed by the team’s effort. In fact, she’s pleased with how the team has competed.

“It’s easy to get discouraged, but you just can’t get discouraged,” Mainz said. “To the team’s credit, they’re competing and fighting in every match.”

Mainz said an area the team needs to improve in is the start of a match. She believes the team has had some slow starts, and thus, it has found itself behind early. The Crimson Tide has not done well in recent doubles points, losing the last five. That starts the team in a 1-0 hole and gives the opponent momentum. Alabama has also struggled at the start of singles play, often losing first sets.

Despite all that, Mainz is confident her team will figure it out.

“We have a lot of season left to play, and a lot of opportunities,” Mainz said. “We’ve just got to get a better start and cut out the loose points. We’re going to have to continue to work through it; we can’t go around it. I’m optimistic this team is up for it.”

The Crimson Tide has a good opportunity to turn around its recent misfortunes with a home match Thursday against Ole Miss. Freshman Andie Daniell is excited about the opportunity to play at home again after the recent road stretch.

“It feels good playing on your own courts,” Daniell said. “You’ve got your fans in the stands and all of that support. It’ll be nice to have that again.”

The team has a 0-4 record in away matches this season, but is 3-2 at home. Daniell feels that playing in front of a friendly home crowd helps bring out the best in the team.

“There’s so much energy when you play at home,” Daniell said. “When you’re away, you don’t have the people there cheering for you and you don’t have their support to lean on.”

The Rebels, like Alabama who holds a 0-6 SEC record, have struggled in conference play, going just 1-3 so far. Ole Miss possesses a four-match losing streak of its own, and is just 1-2 on the road this season as it heads to Tuscaloosa.

Thursday’s match is set for a 5 p.m. CT and will likely be played indoors at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility due to possible inclement weather.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports