Our football game may have come up just short of the opportunity to destroy Notre Dame, but our then-ninth-ranked women's tennis team got the opportunity Tuesday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, soundly defeating the No. 15 Irish 6-1. The team showed it was ready to play in doubles, winning all three matches for a 1-0 lead. Kate Fuller made it 2-0 with her 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 4, followed by Makenzie Craft's 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 5 to give the Dawgs a 3-0 lead. In her fourth straight win, Maho Kowase clinched for Georgia with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3. Notre Dame's sole point came next at No. 6, but Lilly Kimbell didn't give in easily, fighting a tough three sets: 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6). UGA's final points came from Lauren Herring at No. 1, 6-0, 5-7, 1-0 (10-3), and Silvia Garcia at No. 2, 6-3, 6-2.
The latest ITA rankings also came out Tuesday, and Georgia slipped three spots from 9 to 12. The rankings are based on a formula based on wins and losses, so that's just where the numbers fell. We can expect the Dawgs to climb again if they keep up their level of play so far. We also have new singles and doubles rankings: Herring is up two spots to 9; Kowase is 17; Garcia, 77; and Fuller, 120. Fuller and Garcia rose to No. 3 in the doubles rankings; Fuller/Hering are 27; and Kimbell/Kowase came in at 50.
Georgia travels to Gainesville to take on No. 4 Florida Friday then to Columbia East for No. 32 South Carolina Sunday.
While we're discussing national rankings, the Georgia men's squad, who've been off since Sunday's win at Mississippi State, rose from 7th to 5th.
The men host No. 35 Florida Friday at 2:30 p.m. and No. 32 South Carolina Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
There's nothing quite like a Georgia team visiting the Flats and handing the Yellow Jackets a loss. I had the pleasure of watching our men's tennis team do just that in February, and our softball team did it in dramatic fashion Wednesday, embarrassing the home team 14-1. The Trade Shoolers got the scoring started in the bottom of the first when a pair of singles and a ground-out RBI gave them the first score of the game, but it was the last score the Jackets would have. Georgia tied it up 1-1 in the second when lead-off walk was advanced to second by a sacrifice bunt and brought home by a single. Things got quiet for the next three innings before the Dawgs extended the lead to 3-1 in the sixth: Kaylee Puailoa hit a double, Tess Sito was hit by a pitch, and Christine Olney brought them home. Things got crazy in the seventh inning as the Dawgs plated eleven more runs, including an RBI off Olney's third hit in four at-bats.
No. 25 Georgia opens conference play at Auburn this weekend.
In Tuesday's game, Appy State manufactured two runs with four hits off Georgia freshman pitcher David Gonzalez. The Dawgs went hitless until the third when, with two outs, Georgia third baseman Curt Powell hit a double, and Kyle Farmer batted him home with a single. Left fielder Justin Bryan tied it up 2-2 for the Dawgs with a homer in the fourth, then the Mountaineers got one back in the fifth with their own solo homer. But the Bulldogs broke things open in the seventh: After Powell singled to left field, Georgia strung together five more hits with two outs to bat in five runs, making the score 7-3. UGA tacked on two more in the eighth with firstbaseman J.T. Phillips reached on a single and catcher Brett DeLoach hit a homerun, again with two outs. The Mountaineers' had one more score, an unearned run in the ninth, as they had a batter walk to first, advance to second on a passed ball, take third on a balk, and scored on a single. Final: good guys 9-4 (11 hits, no errors for the Dawgs).
Wednesday's game saw the visiting team draw first blood again as Appy State plated three runs in the first. Georgia got a run in the bottom of the frame when second baseman Nelson Ward, after hitting a double, advanced to home in two plays on two Mountaineer errors. The Dawgs cut the lead to 3-2 with another unearned run in the bottom of the fifth: Powell hit a double then advanced to third on a balk and scored on a passed ball. Things got out of hand for Georgia in the top of the sixth as the Mountaineers scored five runs on four hits plus two walks, a balk, and a stolen base. Georgia got two back in the bottom of the sixth on two hits, and held the visitors scoreless for the remainder of the game, but one more UGA run in the bottom of the eighth wasn't enough, and the Dawgs fell 8-5.
The Diamond Dawgs are headed to College Station this weekend for the beginning of the SEC slate.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
The NCAA Championships field was announced, and UGA's men's team is sending 11 swimmers to Indianapolis 28-30 March. Two divers from the women's team, Laura Ryan (3-meter springboard) and Ann-Perry Blank (platform), qualified from the Zone B Championships in Knoxville to compete at the women's NCAAs, 21-23 March.
TRACK AND FIELD
We've barely caught our collective breath from the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, and Georgia is kicking off outdoor season this weekend with the Georgia Relays Friday and Saturday. Among the schools sending representatives to Athens are Georgia Tech, Augusta State, Shorter, Brenau, Kennesaw State, Western Carolina, Georgia State, Jacksonville, Chattahoochee Tech, and Florida A&M.
The No. 6 Gym Dogs wrap up the regular season in Raleigh against N.C. State. The SEC Championships will be 23 March in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and the NCAA regionals two weeks later.
Until next time,