No. 22 Arkansas Falls to Crimson Tide in Home Finale

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 22 University of Arkansas women’s tennis team dropped a marathon 4-3 decision to Alabama in the Razorbacks’ home finale on Sunday. Arkansas falls to 10-5 overall and 4-5 in Southeastern Conference play.

The Hogs and Crimson Tide battled from start to finish. Alabama claimed the first doubles win of the afternoon when Anne Marie Hiser and Sydney Riley defeated Razorbacks Indianna Spink and Lauren Alter 6-4. Arkansas responded with a win on court one, a strong 7-5 victory for Morgan Cross and Tatum Rice over No. 49 doubles duo of Moka Ito and Loudmilla Bencheikh.

The two teams cheered from the sidelines of court three, where senior Jackie Carr and sophomore Kelly Keller battled back to force their Crimson Tide opponents Alba Cortina Pou and Anna Parkhomenko into a tiebreak set. Carr and Keller continued to push back against Alabama’s attack, but ultimately fell 7-6 (7) to drop the doubles point.

In singles play, Arkansas made quick work of Alabama on courts one and two, winning both in straight sets. No. 44 Spink defeated Bencheikh 6-2, 6-3 and Keller beat Ito just the same, 6-2, 6-3. The Crimson Tide countered with a 6-3, 6-3 win on court five as junior Laura Rijkers dropped her match to Sasha Gorchanyuk and the match was tied at two points apiece.

Cross stepped up to give Arkansas the lead once again, with a win against Parkhomenko on court four, 6-1, 7-6 (5). Cross’ win breaks a four-match losing streak for the freshman, now 9-6 overall this season. On court six, Alter rallied back from a tough 6-1 loss in the first set and a 5-1 deficit in the second set to win four straight games to tie the match at 5-5 before falling to Gorchanyuk 7-5.

Now tied 3-3, both teams looked to court three for the final point. Rice dropped her first set to Alba Cortina Pou 6-2 before battling back for a hard-fought 7-5 set-two win to tie the match. Cortina Pou overpowered Rice in the tiebreaker set and clinched the win for Alabama 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Arkansas closes out the season with four straight road matches, starting at Tennessee on Friday, April 2 and at Georgia on Sunday, April 4.

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