The University of Georgia men's and women's tennis teams were in action this Saturday afternoon against two of UGA's oldest rival institutions. The 7th ranked women travelled to Atlanta to take on 13th Georgia Tech, while the 4th ranked men hosted No. 66 Clemson in Athens. Both ended well. Which is the good news and which is the better news is, perhaps, in the eye of the beholder.
Both matches started at 1:00 p.m. Weather wasn't a factor, as both were played indoors (although the storm did make the lights flicker in Georgia's Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Facility). The men made it look easy against the visiting Tigers, but the women had a tougher time of it on the Flats.
The men started impressively in doubles, winning at the two and three spots and securing the doubles point before Clemson's number one team of Yannick Maden and Zachary Rigsby upset Georgia's Wil Spencer and Garrett Brasseaux 8-4. But the guys made it look easier in singles play, allowing the Tigers just one set, as five of the six Dawgs defeated their opponents in straight sets on the way to taking all six and a final 7-0 win.
Your women's team faced a much higher ranked opponent than did the men, and with just six spots separating them in the national rankings, a home win by the Yellow Jackets over the Bulldogs could barely be considered an upset. Tech was looking to make a statement, having just come off a strong performance at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor.
Georgia dominated the early years (generation) of the rivalry between the two schools, but Tech's program has gained strength in the last several years, winning four of the last eight matches with UGA and Tech's first and only NCAA championship in 2007 (which championship they won in Athens in a year they'd lost to Georgia). But today was not their day. The Dawgs got it done and in dramatic fashion.
Tech got off to a good start, taking the doubles point by winning two of three. Unlike the men against Clemson, all but one of the singles matches took three sets. In the No. 1 match, Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson tied the point total 1-1 by defeating Jillian O'Neill 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. The Jackets fought back and regained the lead when Caroline Lilley defeated Maho Kawase at number 2 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. UGA's Lauren Herring tied it up again at 2-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Elizabeth Kilborn. After a break in the action due to the limited number of indoor courts, Georgia's Nadja Gilchrist gave the Bulldogs its first lead by taking the number 4 singles, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, over Christina Ngo. But Tech tied it once again at 3-3 when Jasmine Minor dispatched Lilly Kimbell 7-6, 6-4 at number 6.
So it all came down to Georgia's Kate Fuller against Alex Anghelescu, a former Bulldog who transferred to the Flats. Kate lost the first set (5-7) before storming back (6-2, 6-2) to take the number 5 match and the 4-3 victory for Georgia. This is a very good Tech team: they should do very well this season and in the NCAA tournament. Georgia was better.