By (Mike Schwartz)

After dropping their latest match to the TCU Horned Frogs, 6-1, the women’s tennis team signaled its third loss in its last four contests. In trying times like these for the Crimson Tide, leaders are called upon for help and guidance. When looking for leaders on the team, look no further than seniors Erin Routliffe and Danielle Spielmann.

“It makes the tough times much easier for the team, knowing you have someone to lean on almost alleviates the pressure,” said junior Smith Hinton.

In what can be a long and grueling season, developing a culture within the team is essential, especially when things look their bleakest. There is no disputing that this team is a close-knit group that is not only driven by their personal success but the success of others.

The internal competition is a component to the growth of the team as a whole, but according to Hinton, what motivates the team to dig deep and fight is the team motto that consists of five simple words.

“Family, grit, consistently, passion, and courage. It is what drives the team when we feel that extra push,” said Hinton.

Not only is that motto ingrained in the team’s mindset and culture, the athletes have gone the extra mile and printed their rallying cry on t-shirts. They can be seen sporting the t’s on a daily basis during practices or throughout the tennis facilities. Although the team is going through trying times, Hinton, and the team believes they will not last, but the lessons have learned will.

“Going against a team like TCU will only makes this team better, and despite the score we really felt like we were in these matches. We just could not capitalize on our chances. But looking ahead to SEC play in a couple weeks we know the stiff competition will only make us better and breed more experience,” said Hinton.

Stiff competition it is. As of this week, the SEC has a conference-high eight teams in the AP 25 rankings. After this weekend’s matchup against the University of Tulsa, Alabama will begin SEC play with a slew of vigorous competition. Soon it will be determined just how resilient this bunch is.

To be considered one of the best teams in possibly the toughest conference in the country, Alabama will have to perform on a level they have yet to display. As it is said, you have to beat the best to belong with the best. If they can hone in their abilities, Hinton believes the team will be talked about with the Mississippi and South Carolinas of the country.

“Family, grit, consistently, passion, and courage. If we can stay true to the motto I believe we will be able to compete with anyone,” said Hinton.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports