Last time, you recall, the University of Georgia men's and women's tennis teams had defeated ETSU and FIU, respectively. The women travelled to Virginia this weekend for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with matches on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, while the men were at home hosting William and Mary on Friday. The women faced three of the best teams in the country with mixed results but a strong finish. The men dispatched the Tribe 6-1.
On Friday, the sixth-ranked UGA women's team met 14th-ranked Texas in the opening round of the ITA National Indoors. The Dawgs claimed the doubles point with victories by Lilly Kimbell/Maho Kowase 8-4 and Lauren Herring/Kate Fuller 8-6. Chelsea Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist led their match 7-6 when the point was decided on the other courts. When singles got under way, the Longhorns' Lina Padegimaite tied the match at a point apiece in an impressive defeat of Fuller 6-1,6-3, but Kimbell re-established UGA's lead by defeating UT's Elizabeth Begley 6-0,7-5. The Bulldogs' lead was extended to 3-1 when Noel Scott fell to Herring 7-6(2),6-2, but Texas would not give up: at the No. 1 court, Gullickson (ranked second nationally) was upset by UT's Ariel Ellis (47th) 6-0,3-6,6-3. Kowase clinched the 4-2 win for Georgia with a 6-7(4),6-4,6-2 win over Cierra Gaytan-Leach. With the victory decided, Gilchrist's match, in which she led the third set 4-2, was halted.
The ladies went right back into action on Saturday against seventh-ranked Cal. The Golden Bears took the early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point in impressive fashion: an 8-1 win over Gullickson/Gilchrist and an 8-2 win over Herring/Fuller. Cal did not stop there and claimed three consecutive singles matches in straight sets, downing Gullickson 6-2,6-1; Fuller 6-2,6-3; and Herring 6-3,6-3. It was the kind of lopsided loss that we don't expect from our girls (do you mind? seriously, let me know) and shows that Cal, another perennial powerhouse, is definitely a team to watch this year.
Yesterday, Georgia was back at it with a consolation match against No. 10 Michigan, who previously had defeated Clemson and lost to Duke. UGA lost the first doubles match completed (Gullickson/Gilchrist), but took the point with victories by Kimbell/Kowase and Herring/Fuller. The Wolverines took a 2-1 lead with defeats of Gilchrist 6-1,6-1 and Gullickson 6-2,7-5, but the Dawgs fought back and won all remaining matches for the team win.
Next up for Georgia: a home date with Memphis on 24 February.
On Friday, Georgia's men's team hosted the Tribe from historic Williamsburg, famous for being the site where I sustained a charming, Potteresque scar to the forehead when a beer-inspired dip in glucose prompted me to become overly acquainted with a hotel doorknob.
The Dawgs swept doubles for a 1-0 lead then took the first four singles matches in straight sets: Sadio Doumba defeated W&M's Adrian Vodislav 6-0, 6-1; KU Singh defeated Anton Andersson 6-1, 6-2; Hernus Pieters took down Ben Hoogland 6-2, 6-2; Ignacio Taboada beat John Banks 6-2, 7-5. With the team victory in hand, UGA's Campbell Johnson fell to Will Juggins 6-4, 6-4. Georgia's Eric Diaz finished the day and the Bulldogs' 6-1 victory by defeating Robert Pietrucha 6-2, 6-2.
The Dawgs return to action tomorrow, 14 February, with a date against rival Georgia Tech to avenge last year's 4-3 loss to the Jackets in Atlanta, the first such loss since 1988. If you're in the Classic City, cheer on the Bulldogs at the Dan Magill Tennis Center. The match is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. but will continue for at least a few hours, so show up when you can.