April 8, 2011
GAINESVILLE, FLA. -- Second-ranked Florida gained the edge in the race for the Southeastern Conference regular season title with a 6-1 win over sixth-ranked Georgia here Friday.
The Gators improved to 20-1 overall and 9-0 in the SEC while Georgia dropped to 14-2, 8-1 in the SEC. The Bulldogs had won 12 straight matches but the Gators have not lost at home to an SEC opponent since Georgia upset them back in 2002 when they were ranked number one.
The Gators jumped ahead 1-0 after taking the doubles point. Florida picked up the first win at No. 2 as Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen defeated Nadja Gilchrist and Lilly Kimbell 8-4. The Gators clinched the point when 16th-ranked Alex Cercone and Allie Willie edged ninth-ranked Chelsey Gullickson and Kate Fuller 8-6 at No. 1. It snapped the Bulldog duo's 11-match winning streak and was their first loss in league play. They came in 14-1 overall and 8-0 in the SEC. Georgia's No. 3 team of Cameron Ellis and Alexandra Anghelescu posted an 8-6 win over Joanna Mather and Olivia Janowicz.
As singles got underway, the matches at No. 1 and 2 were tightly contested and went to first set tiebreakers. At No. 3, the 37th-ranked Mather had taken the first set over Anghelescu while 93rd-ranked Oyen did the same over Kimbell at No. 4. Meanwhile Ellis captured the first set at No. 5 and Fuller at No. 6 for the Bulldogs. The feature match at No. 1 between 33rd-ranked Embree and 25th-ranked Gullickson went to Embree 9-7 but not before Gullickson fought off three set points. At No. 2, the sixth-ranked Will posted a 7-3 win in her first set tiebreaker over Kowase to give Florida the first set in four of the six matches.
Then, the matches No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 eventually split sets. Oyen gave Florida a 2-0 lead when she defeated Kimbell 6-4,6-3, ending the Bulldog freshman's 12-match winning streak. She fell to 23-8 on the year and 8-1 in the SEC. The 41st-ranked Janowicz came back to defeat Fuller 3-6,6-2,6-1 at No. 6 for a 3-0 lead. Will clinched the victory for the Gators as she closed out Kowase 7-6(3),6-2 for a 4-0 lead. Then, Cercone made it 5-0 with a 1-6,6-3,6-2 win over Ellis.
With the overall match decided, the No. 1 contest was settled in super tiebreaker after Gullickson took the second set 6-2. However, Embree emerged with the win, 10-3 for a 6-0 margin. The Bulldogs picked up a victory at No. 3 as Anghelescu outlasted the 37th-ranked Mather 0-6,6-3,6-4 for the final.
"We had some opportunities both in the doubles and in the singles, but we didn't capitalize on enough of them," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "We battled up and down the lineup but only came away with a win in doubles and one in singles, and that was not enough. We've got to come back strong on Sunday."
Georgia continues on the road and will face No. 38 South Carolina in Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m.
No. 2 Florida 6, No. 6 Georgia 1
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
1. #16 Allie Will/Alex Cercone, UF d. #9 Chelsey Gullickson/Kate Fuller, UG, 8-6*
2. Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen, UF d. #50 Lilly Kimbell/Nadja Gilchrist, UG, 8-4
3. Cameron Ellis/Alex Anghelescu, UG d. Joanna Mather/Olivia Janowicz, UF, 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3
1. #33 Lauren Embree, UF d. #25 Chelsey Gullickson, UG, 7-6 (9-7), 2-6, 1-0 (10-3)
2. #6 Allie Will, UF d. #91 Maho Kowase, UG, 7-6 (3), 6-2*
3. Alex Anghelescu, UG d. #37 Joanna Mather, UF, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. #93 Sofie Oyen, UF d. Lilly Kimbell, UG, 6-4, 6-3
5. #47 Alex Cercone, UF d. #87 Cameron Ellis, UG, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. #41 Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Kate Fuller, UG, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 2*, 5, 1, 3
Updated Records: Florida 20-1, 9-0 SEC; Georgia 14-2, 8-1 SEC