The Georgia men's and women's tennis teams hosted the first two rounds of NCAA tournament action this weekend and emerged victorious. Both teams advance to the Rounds of 16, when all teams still standing converge on Athens and the Dan Magill Tennis Complex to battle for the NCAA Championships starting on 17 May for the women and 18 May for the men.
Your sixth-seeded UGA women's team made it through the weekend by defeating the College of Charleston 4-0 Friday and edging Clemson 4-3 on Saturday. The second-seeded men blanked South Carolina State 4-0 on Saturday and beat FSU 4-1 Sunday in a match played indoors due to rain.
The men are cruising right along. They lost the doubles point to FSU Sunday by faltering at the 1 spot after dropping at 3 but winning 2. But the guys came back strong in singles, taking wins at the 2, 4, and 3 spots in straight sets by KU Singh, Ignacio Taboada, and Sadio Doumbia, respectively. Senior Wil Spencer clinched the 4-1 win at number 1 after falling behind in the first set, defeating the Seminoles' top player 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. The remaining two matches, which had a delayed start due to the fewer number of indoor courts, went unfinished, but Nathan Pasha and Hernus Pieters were playing strong.
Around the bracket, nationally, all of top 16 seeds advanced from their regional competition except 9-seed Mississippi State, upset by Baylor in Starkville, and 10-seed Oklahoma, who had a bad day in Norman against (of all teams) Tulsa. I don't know how big a deal that is for the Sooners, but I'd be embarrassed to lose the Athens Regional to another school in Georgia. The Dawgs will face 15-seed North Carolina on Friday, 18 May, with play scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm.
The Georgia women had a closer call against -- the Country Gentlewomen? Ladies? -- Clemson on Saturday. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead after winning at the 2 and 3 doubles spots. Chelsey Gullickson made it 2-0 at the No. 1 singles spot when she handily defeated Clemson's Keri Wong 6-0, 6-2. It started to look like a rout when Kate Fuller took down Nelly Ciolkowski 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5 to make it 3-0, but the Tigresses roared back to tie the match 3-3 with hard-fought wins at Nos. 6, 2, and 4. All eyes turned to the 5 spot where Georgia's Maho Kowase had been blanked in the first set and ground out a 7-5 win in the second. She took the third set 6-1 to clinch her fourth team win of the season.
Like the men's bracket, the women's now has all but two of the top 16 seeds standing. And like the men's bracket, the women's saw a seeded Mississippi school (Ole Miss) fall against a Texas team (Rice). Eighth-seeded Bama lost to Georgia Tech in Tuscaloosa 4-3. Georgia plays 11 seed Texas on Thursday, 17 May, in a match scheduled for 4:00 pm.
Tournament play continues in Athens through 22 May for the team championships, with a separate tournament for singles and doubles championships beginning the next day. Live scoring is available through GeorgiaDogs.com if you can't make the events live, and we'll have results here at Dawg Sports after each round, as long as the Dawgs are playing.