No. 7 Georgia Heads To Rocky Top For SEC Opener
March 1, 2013
ATHENS, Ga.-- The No. 7 Georgia women's tennis team (6-1) will open its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend, traveling to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on No. 57 Tennessee on Saturday at noon.
"[Tennessee] is going to have a great team and we know it's going to be a good first SEC road match," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "We want to get up there and continue to play good doubles, but also make some improvements and each player has to do some things [to work on] that we've been talking about in practice. We just need to win the day mentally and that's going to lead to some great play."
Georgia is 24-3 in SEC openers under head coach Jeff Wallace, and hasn't dropped a conference opening match since the 1996 season. Last spring, Georgia topped South Carolina 4-3 to kick-off SEC action.
MATCH POINTS: Georgia (6-1) travels to Knoxville, Tenn. to kick-off SEC competition with a road bout against No. 57 Tennessee (2-4). Georgia is 40-9 all-time against Tennessee, with an 11-6 record in Knoxville. Last year, the Volunteers were forced to forfeit its match with Georgia in Athens due to injuries. Before that, the Bulldogs hadn't beaten Tennessee since the 2009 SEC Tournament championship match. Georgia hasn't lost an SEC opener since 1997, and is 24-3 in SEC openers in the Wallace era (1986).
SCOUTING THE VOLUNTEERS: The Volunteers, who have yet to play an unranked team, beat No. 54 Indiana and No. 55 Ohio State two weeks ago after dropping its first four matches. Saturday's match will be Tennessee's first since Feb. 17. Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely are ranked No. 21 and No. 43 in singles, respectively, and the pair is ranked fifth in doubles.
LAST TIME OUT: Georgia beat in-state rival No. 24 Georgia Tech last Saturday 4-3. With the doubles point in the balance, Mia King and Lilly Kimbell won a thrilling 9-8 match at No. 3 to clinch the point. Georgia won the next three singles matches (Fuller, Herring, Garcia) to clinch the win. Georgia Tech picked up wins at No. 5 and No. 6. Georgia now owns a 21-4 all-time record versus the Yellow Jackets.
TOP DOGS: Georgia is No. 7 in the latest ITA team poll, and now has four ranked singles players and three ranked doubles pairs. Sophomore Lauren Herring and junior Maho Kowase anchor the top of the Bulldog lineup. Herring, who earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2012, is ranked ninth nationally sporting a 24-3 record this year. The 15th-ranked Kowase has a 22-7 record. Junior Kate Fuller (No. 116), and freshman Silvia Garcia (No. 97) have been playing in the three and four sports. Fuller is 17-4 this year while Garcia is 9-1 and the winner of four straight.
In doubles, Fuller and Garcia, who are 9-0 this season, cracked the top ten in the latest rankings, and are the highest ranked Bulldog tandem at the No. 9 spot. Fuller is also ranked with Herring (No. 20) and Mia King. Kowase and Lilly Kimbell are ranked No. 34 with a 9-2 record.
GARCIA ON A ROLL: After going 6-0 in singles and doubles at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Silvia Garcia was named to the All-Tournament Team and garnered SEC women's tennis Freshman of the Week honors. The Madrid-native, who is 9-1 in singles and 9-0 in doubles, came in at No. 9 in the ITA Top-60 doubles rankings with junior Kate Fuller and cracked the top-100 in the singles rankings at No. 97.
ON DECK: Next weekend, Georgia will return home to continue SEC play against No. 42 Ole Miss on Friday and Mississippi State on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 31-8 all-time against Ole Miss, and have never lost to Mississippi State.
DID YOU KNOW? Georgia is one of three schools to have both its women's and men's tennis programs currently ranked in the top 10. The Georgia men's team is ranked No. 9. The others are Duke and UCLA.
FOLLOWING GEORGIA WOMEN'S TENNIS: Starting this weekend, fans will be able to follow each match through a live blog on Georgiadogs.com. See the website for more details.
After the match, fans can check Georgiadogs.com for post-match highlights and interviews. Fans can also "Like" Georgia Women's Tennis on Facebook and follow @UGAWomensTennis on Twitter for bonus exclusive content.