ATHENS, Ga. — Alabama won its first tennis national championship of any kind when fourth-seeded Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe beat No. 2 Georgia’s duo of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase 6-1, 6-0 in Monday’s finals.
Jansen and Routliffe won their 10th straight match to end the season 22-4. They improved to 3-0 this season against Herring and Kowase, who were 36-7 overall.
“This is a total team win,” Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz said. “Erin and Maya brought their best today. I’m so proud of the distance this program has come in my 17 years. We played such commanding doubles and really played on our terms today. They worked so hard for this, and I am so happy for them.”
Jansen and Routliffe opened the match quickly. They broke Georgia’s serve in four points, then won the next six to take a 2-0 lead overall and a 30-0 edge in the third game. They continued to dominate, pulling in front 4-0 before Georgia was able to get on the board by holding serve in the fifth game. Jansen and Routliffe closee out the set on a point penalty from the Bulldogs, winning 6-1.
“Getting those first two games really helped us,” Jansen said. “It really believe that set the tone for the match. I can’t put this into words. This means so much to us.”
In the second set, it was all Alabama as the Tide went on to win six straight games. Leading 40-15 with Georgia serving, Routliffe, standing at the net, eased the ball with just enough force to lift it over the tape for the victory.
“I am so happy to bring back the first national championship in tennis to Tuscaloosa,” Routliffe said. “We knew we had to come out strong and get a good start. Once that final shot went over the net we looked at each other and didn’t really know what to do. It was excitement and relief all at the same time.”