Alabama Women's Tennis Wins Regional
Deas, Tommy, The Tuscaloosa News
TUSCALOOSA | Nothing was going to stop Alexa Guarachi on Saturday.
Not a rain delay.
And certainly not the Memphis Tigers.
The University of Alabama's 5-foot-8 senior played with power and passion to lead the ninth-seeded Crimson Tide to a 4-0 victory over No. 33 Memphis in the Tuscaloosa Regional final in the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship.
Alabama (21-5) advanced to the program's first appearance in the round of 16 since the NCAA field was increased to 64 teams in 1999. UA will face eighth-seeded California in Champaign, Ill., at 9 a.m. Friday.
Guarachi supplied attitude and energy to Alabama's matchup against Memphis. With partner Mary Anne Macfarlane, she got the Crimson Tide's sweep started with an 8-1 doubles victory over Tiffany Welcher and Alyssa Hibberd.
"We set the tone with the doubles and we just got on a roll," Guarachi said.
Moving over to singles, playing in the No. 2 position against Welcher, a former UA player, Guarachi was overpowering. She hit scorching forehands and blistering backhands, and attacked the net at every opportunity to put points away in a 6-4, 6-3 win.
The match was interrupted by rainfall that held up play for about an hour, but Guarachi came out attacking again when it resumed.
"I felt like that's our biggest attribute is when we have a lot of energy as a team," Guarachi said. "I feel like being a senior I have to sometimes create that for the team. We didn't have as much energy (in Friday's win over Northwestern State) and we got away with it, but today we knew they were going to come after us. We said no, this is our house, we're going to go after them."
When she wasn't hitting winners, Guarachi was yelling encouragement to her teammates in full voice, her cries resonating over the other courts at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.
"She set the tone with her energy, her mentality, her fight, her competitive spirit," Alabama coach Jenny Mainz said. …