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NCAA.com | February 15, 2014

Alabama holds off Virginia's rally

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Emily Zabor came from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) on court No. 5 in singles to clinch No. 16 Alabama's 4-3 victory against Virginia on Saturday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility. With the win, the Crimson Tide moves to 5-2 overall, while the loss drops the Cavaliers to 5-2 on the season.

"I needed to win," Zabor said. "Our team works so hard, and it doesn't matter who the last one is. I feel like sometimes I'm better in high-pressure situations like that. I was glad to pull it out, but this is definitely a team victory."

Alabama came out of the gates blazing, picking up early breaks on courts Nos. 1 and 2 to lead from the start. Mary Anne Daines and Danielle Spielmann maintained that momentum throughout the match and cruised to an 8-2 victory on court No. 2 against Stephanie Nauta and Maci Epstein. The match on court No. 1 got close midway through, but the Tide's 20th-ranked duo of Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe held on in the end, winning three consecutive games to take the match 8-5 versus No. 3 Julia Elbaba and Rachel Pierson.

Alabama took a 3-0 lead after winning the first two singles matches starting with the victory on court No. 6 from Luicelena Perez. Perez wasted no time and took care of her court, winning 6-0, 6-2 versus tMarie Faure. Spielmann gave the Tide its third point of the match with a win on court No. 2, dominating No. 53 Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-3. From there, Virginia went on to win three consecutive points, taking the matches on courts Nos. 1, 4 and 3, setting up for Zabor's clincher on court No. 5.

"We knew this was going to be a very close match," Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. "It tilted both ways, and even though we were up 3-0 Virginia had the momentum. We needed to settle down and work, and that's how you beat a team like this."

No. 7 Northwestern 5, No. 17 Texas 2

AUSTIN, Texas -- Northwestern knocked off its third top-20 opponent of the 2014 season with a 5-2 victory at Texas on Saturday. The Wildcats swept doubles play and claimed four of six singles matches to beat the Longhorns.

At No. 2 singles, Belinda Niu moved her season record to 4-0 with a narrow 6-4, 7-6 (2) versus 77th-ranked Ratnika Batra. The win is Niu's second against a ranked opponent in 2014.

Northwestern was very strong in singles matches Nos. 4, 5 and 6. No. 92 Jillian Rooney cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 against Neda Koprcina. Lok Sze Leung, ranked No. 109, fought through a tough first set to claim her match versus Lina Padegimaite 7-6 (4), 6-2. Nida Hamilton eased past Pippa Horn 6-0, 6-2 in her match at No. 6 singles.

The doubles point was claimed when Hamilton and Maddie Lipp, playing at No. 2, defeated Elizabeth Begley and Horn in a very close 8-7 (6) match. The `Cats No. 25 ranked tandem of Veronica Corning and Alicia Barnett captured an 8-6 victory versus Breaunna Addison and Koprcina. In the third match, Niu and Brooke Rischbieth handed Batra and Padegimaite an 8-4 defeat.

No. 9 Southern California 7, No. 42 UC Irvine 0

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIF. -- Southern California got back in winning mode with authority on Saturday. The Trojans headed down to the old stomping grounds of senior Brynn Boren for a matchup against UC Irvine, setting up shop for the day at the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club. It was a relatively quick visit to the courts, as the Women of Troy served up a smooth 7-0 sweep of the Anteaters to improve to 5-2 overall on the year.

Doubles play saw USC's set of ranked pairs scoot past UC Irvine to snag the first point of the day. No. 4 Giuliana Olmos/Zoe Scandalis set the tone with an 8-3 win at the No. 2 spot, followed by an 8-1 victory by defending national champs Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria at the No. 1 spot. On court No. 3, USC's No. 8 duo of Brynn Boren/Zoe Katz dished out an 8-4 win, and USC was off to singles play with a 1-0 lead in its pocket.

It was a stretch of straight-set victories on the singles courts for the Trojans, who were sparked to action by senior Christian's 6-2, 6-0 win against Sarah Stadfelt on court No. 6. No. 124 Gabriella DeSimone bettered that score by a game with a 6-1, 6-0 decision versus Kat Facey at the No. 5 spot to take the Trojans to a 3-0 lead. Coming in with the clincher soon after was No. 99 Olmos, whose 6-3, 6-1 win against Ali Facey put the victory in Trojan hands with the 4-0 advantage.

The teams would finish off the remaining matches for this one, giving No. 26 Santamaria the chance to lock in for a swift 6-1, 6-1 win against Sarah Gong on court No. 2, and putting hometown hero Boren in position to wrap a 6-3, 6-2 win on court No. 1 against Marivick Mamiit. Scandalis put the final touch on the sweep with her 6-4, 6-4 decision against Franziska Goettsching on court No. 3.

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