Georgia Advances to Quarterfinals with 4-0 Win Over Texas
ATHENS, Ga. - The sixth-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team punched its ticket to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament with a 4-0 win over the 11th-seeded Texas Longhorns (19-8). But it wasn’t just the Longhorns it was battling, Georgia was also up against the weather. After an hour-long weather delay, rain forced the match to be completed indoors.
“I thought we did a great job of going indoors. We were kind of hoping we could stay outside,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “Once they said its time to go indoors, our players put their game faces on. We started well, kept momentum, and were able to get it done.
The Bulldogs (24-4) got off to a quick start with a dominating doubles performances, claiming the doubles point for the 22nd time this season. Georgia’s 46th-ranked duo of senior Nadja Gilchrist and sophomore Kate Fuller was first off the court with an 8-3 win over the Texas’ 44th-ranked pair of Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott. Shortly after, senior Chelsey Gullickson and freshman Lauren Herring clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 defeat of Krista Damico and Cierra Gaytan-Leach. When the doubles point was clinched, Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase led 6-3.
With today’s win, Georgia is 21-1 when it wins the doubles point.
“I told our players after the match that from start to finish, this might have been our best match of the year,” Wallace said. “What a great time to be playing and peaking. I was thrilled with the effort that they game and the way they all played.”
Georgia carried its momentum from doubles into singles, winning the first set on all six courts, a feat that the Bulldogs accomplished just nine times all season. Just as Georgia was nearing victories on multiple courts, rain moved into the Athens area causing a 58-minute delay, before the match was moved indoors.
At No. 2, after trailing 1-3 in the first set, Gilchrist went on a tear, upsetting 68th-ranked Krista Damico 6-4, 6-2. The win is the Webster, New York native’s 22nd of the season. Georgia went up 3-0 when 70th-ranked Herring took down the Longhorns’ Noel Scott, 6-3, 6-3. Herring, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year earlier this week, improves to 30-8 this season. Kowase, ranked 58th nationally, picked up her fifth clincher of season with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Texas’ Lina Padegimaite, 7-5, 6-1.
Wallace credited the crowd, especially those who stuck around after the lengthy delay for giving his team momentum.
“The crowd was awesome today,” Wallace continued. “They were absolutely phenomenal. We hope they come back Saturday and bring two new friends. They were inspiring and really into it.”
With today’s win, Georgia improves to 12-3 all-time against the Longhorns, including 2-0 this season. Georgia beat Texas 4-3 in the Round of 16 at the ITA National Indoor Championships earlier this spring.
Georgia is playing in its 26th consecutive NCAA Championships and is now 64-23 all-time in the tournament. Additionally, Georgia moves to 8-3 in round of 16 matches and later held in Athens. Additionally, it is the 11th time that Georgia has advanced to at least the quarterfinals since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999.
The Bulldogs will advance to meet the winner of the Duke-Virginia match in Sunday's quarterfinals at 7 p.m. ET.
UF Women’s Tennis Defeats Michigan, 4-0, to Reach NCAA Quarterfinals
ATHENS, Ga. – After a two-hour rain delay, Florida battled past Michigan to win the doubles point and then swamped the Wolverines in singles en route to a 4-0 victory and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex late Thursday evening.
The second-seeded Gators (24-1) won their 19th consecutive match and recorded the 899th victory in program history to reach the quarterfinals for the 26th time in the 31-year history of the event.
Florida needed a comeback win from the doubles pair of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) to earn the doubles point and that Gators carried that momentum onto the singles courts where they won the first set on all six courts, with Embree, Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) able to finish quickly and secure the team victory shortly before midnight.
“The first hour and a half was tough,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Doubles was very close. I was very happy to see our doubles teams keep their heads and communicate very well. I thought the singles matches were outstanding. On courts 4, 5 and 6 we were about as good as we played all year and that comes out at a great time. We’re moving well, we’re playing smart, we can handle ups and downs and we handle mistakes well.”
Janowicz was the first to complete her singles match, taking the 6-1, 6-3 victory against Michelle Sulahian and give UF a 2-0 lead. The Gator sophomore took a 3-1 lead, up two breaks in the second set and rode that to her eighth consecutive win and the 55th victory of her career.
Moments later, Embree polished off Brooke Bolender, 6-4, 6-1 and gave Florida a 3-0 lead, as the Gator All-American clocked in her 16th straight singles victory. Embree trailed 3-0 to start the match before she ripped off four consecutive games. The next two games were breaks, but Embree served out for the first set and won the first three games of the second. Boldender took Embree’s serve, but the Embree answered by winning the final three games, including her next serve at love to collect the victory.
Oyen provided the clinching match win when she defeated Sarah Lee, 6-1, 6-3, and tallied the 50th singles win of her career. The Gator sophomore improved to a team-best 21-1, finishing her match just as Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) was two points from her match on court five, which was halted as soon as Oyen collected her victory on court four. Oyen has won her singles match in each of UF’s first three rounds of the NCAA Championships, the only Gator able to do so.
The Gators won an important and exciting doubles point, as the tandem of Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather rallied for a 9-7 victory to clinch the 1-0 team lead after Michigan (21-8) took the 8-5 decision on court one, before Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) earned the 8-2 win on court three.
Embree and Mather, who won their 23rd consecutive match – the third-longest run in program history, found themselves down a break and 7-5 after missing out on all three break points in the previous game. The veteran Gator pair quickly regrouped and capitalized on its third break point in the 13th game and Mather held for 7-all. Embree then ripped a forehand cross court winner at break point in the next game and served out for the victory against Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian. The Gator pair improved to 52-7 overall, including a 48-1 record in dual match action, a win total that ranks second all-time in UF history in team competition. Individually, the win marked Mather’s 109th of her career, tying her with Dawn Buth (1995-98) for seventh in Gator history. Embree improved to a stellar 18-0 in doubles-point clinching matches in her career.
“If we have good communication, they have a knack for finding ways to get into matches,” Thornqvist said of Embree and Mather. “We started to own the net.”
Cercone and Hitimana found themselves down 2-0 early against Kristy Dodge and Sarah Lee, before Hitimana got things rolling for the Gators, who ripped off the next eight games to win their seventh straight match. The win was Hitimana’s 55th doubles victory of her career.
Florida will play the winner of the match between No. 7 North Carolina and No. 10 Miami (FL) in the NCAA Quarterfinal round on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. That match was still being contested at the time of this release.