This weekend in Auburn tennis is a big one for both the men’s and women’s teams. Both teams have lost their first two matchups in spring SEC play to LSU and Texas A&M; the women on the road and the men at home. Each team will need to have a big weekend to get back into their rhythm for the rest of the season. Both teams play Kentucky and Vanderbilt this weekend; the women at home and the men on the road.
This weekend for the women’s team continues an already brutal start to conference play this spring. The lady Tigers host fifth ranked Vanderbilt this Friday at 2 pm, and eighteenth ranked Kentucky on Saturday at 11 a.m. Both teams are coming off dominant wins over Arkansas and Missouri.
The doubles pair of Jaeda Daniels and Madeline Meredith will need to play to their best ability this weekend. The duo has been dominant, only having lost one match all year. Sophia Graver and Taylor Russo will likely be paired together this weekend as well having proved themselves, dropping only two matches when paired together. Graver and Russo are ranked twenty-second nationally for doubles. Both duos won their matches against Texas A&M in the team's only points of the match. Daniels, Meredith and Russo will all be looking to bounce back from losses in their last singles matches. Graver has been the only lady Tiger to win a single’s match since the start of conference play.
The lady Tigers can make a statement this weekend. Knocking off one of the favorites in the SEC followed by getting revenge on a team that beat them earlier in the year will boost the team’s morale after a disappointing road trip to start conference play. Coach Lady Spencer is excited to play at home and is ready for a rematch against Kentucky. “Where we were a month ago is drastically different from where we are today... Seeing them in early in the season, it’s not gonna be a surprise for us” said Coach Spencer in an interview.
The men’s team may have a steeper mountain to climb this spring. The Tigers have been disappointing since the meat of the schedule began on Jan. 25 with a match against Harvard. The key for the Tigers this weekend will be doubles points, as it has all season. The Tigers have been struggling to win their doubles points and relying too much on their singles to win them matches. The coaching staff have been struggling to find good pairs for doubles; dramatically different when compared to the women's team.
The male Tigers were dominated their last two matches. Several matches against LSU could have gone Auburn’s way, but ultimately they lost. Coach Bobby Reynolds said the key for the Tigers is to play aggressive and not worry about what’s going to happen on the court. The Tigers head on the road to twenty-sixth ranked Vanderbilt on Friday at 4 pm followed by Kentucky on Saturday at 1 pm.
Both teams need to play well this weekend. The pressure will be intense if each team doesn’t win a match this weekend. The ladies team are looking to compete for the SEC this year and need these wins to earn a better seed in the tournament as well as boost their confidence. Neither team wants to fall to winless in the conference this spring, and the mens team would fall to 11-10 overall with two losses.