May 8, 2014
ATHENS, Ga.--The No. 1 Georgia women's tennis team plays host to the 2014 NCAA Tournament's 1st and 2nd rounds on Friday and Saturday, looking to punch its ticket to the Round of 16 for the fourth consecutive season. The Bulldogs, who are making their 28th consecutive NCAA appearance, are the tournament's No. 1 overall seed for the first time in program history.
Georgia will square off with Elon (15-8) on Friday at 4 p.m. in the first round. Should the Bulldogs advance, they will face the winner of No. 27 Arizona (17-5) and No. 37 Florida State (15-12) in the second round which is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. This year marks the 13th time that Georgia has hosted the first and second rounds, and the Bulldogs are 24-0 all-time in those matches.
Georgia is coming off of a three-week competition break after winning the program's seventh SEC Tournament Championship in mid-April.
This weekend, fans can follow along on Georgiadogs.com with the live chat, live video and live scoring. All matches are held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Ticket information is available on Georgiadogs.com.
Dogs on Top: After a dominating run through the SEC Tournament three weeks ago, the Bulldogs find themselves atop the rankings for the first time since March 2007. For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs are the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 overall seed.
Georgia in NCAA Championships: The Bulldogs will be making their 28th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tennis Championships, ranking fifth nationally in a tie with Florida. Stanford, UCLA and California have the longest active streak at 33. Georgia is 67-25 in the NCAA Championships, including 10 trips to the National Semifinals with national titles in 1994 and 2000.
...And in the NCAA 1st and 2nd Rounds: Since the NCAA Tournament moved to its current format of 64 teams, Georgia has advanced to the Round of 16 in all but two seasons. The Bulldogs have played host 13 times and are 24-0 in those matches.
The Opposition: Georgia has only played its first round opponent, Elon, once before...in this season's home-opener. The Bulldogs won 4-0, eventually advancing to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships.
The Phoenix secured their program's first NCAA Tournament bid after winning the 2014 SoCon Tournament by knocking off second-seeded Samford in the finals, 4-2. They also upset top-seeded Furman in the semifinals. Much like Georgia, Elon had fallen to both Samford and Furman during the regular season, but avenged those losses in the conference tournament.
The Bulldogs have played Arizona just once before, a 5-4 win at the 1993 ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
Florida State, which is making its eighth consecutive NCAA appearance, is one of just five teams that hold a winning series record over Georgia (8-10) (min. 5 matches).
Flashback to Columbia: It's safe to say that the 2014 squad will always have fond memories of the program's first trip to Columbia, Mo. Georgia beat LSU, before avenging regular season losses to No. 11 Vanderbilt and No. 3 Alabama in route to the program's seventh SEC Tournament Title, and first since 2009.
Four Bulldogs in the Individual Tournament: Four Bulldogs will participate in the 2014 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. The NCAA Championships will be held May 21-26 in Athens, Ga. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
In the singles draw, Georgia's Lauren Herring and Silvia Garcia earned national seeds at No. 6 and No. 9-16, respectively. Kowase will also be included in the draw, but will be unseeded. On the doubles side, Kowase and Herring earned the No. 2 seed. Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia, ranked No. 16 in the latest rankings, also earned a bid.
Georgia has had three NCAA individual singles champions: Lisa Spain in 1984, Angela Lettiere in 1994 and Chelsey Gullickson in 2010. Shannan McCarthy was the runner-up in 1992. No Georgia pairing has ever won the NCAA doubles championship, but Bulldog teams have reached the finals four times, including Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist in 2012.
First round matchups will be released by the NCAA during the team-portion of the NCAA Tournament.
All-Americans: By virtue of being seeded in their respective draws, Lauren Herring and Silvia Garcia earn singles All-America honors and Herring and Maho Kowase earn doubles All-America honors. Kowase can still garner additional All-America honors by reaching the round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship or by finishing in the Top 20 of the final ITA National Singles Rankings.
Garcia and Fuller can grab doubles All-America honors by reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship or finishing in the Top 10 of the final ITA National Doubles Rankings.
Give Me 20: With its three wins in the tournament, Georgia captured its 23rd 20-win season in program history. Head coach Jeff Wallace has been present for 22 of those seasons. The Bulldogs' have now hit the 20-win mark in three consecutive seasons.
Battle Tested Bulldogs: Georgia has played eight Top-10 opponents this season, having beaten five of them. Since 1994, it has beaten at least five Top-10 opponents six times. Georgia beat seven Top-10 opponents in 1994 in route to its first national championship--a record that still stands today.
Top Dogs: The Georgia women's tennis team improved to No. 1 in the ITA's latest computer rankings of the spring. It marks the first time that Georgia has been ranked No. 1 since March 2007.
In addition, the Bulldogs have four singles players and three doubles pairs in the latest individual rankings. Lauren Herring headlines the Georgia contingent at the No. 6 spot. Silvia Garcia and Maho Kowase follow at the Nos. 15 and 20 spots, respectively. Lilly Kimbell rounds out Georgia's presence in the singles rankings at No. 102.
In doubles, Herring and Kowase are ranked No. 2, while Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia improved to No. 19. Lilly Kimbell is also ranked with Mia King at No. 65.
The Georgia women's tennis program is the only in the SEC to have three singles players ranked in the Top-25 and is the only school in the SEC to have two doubles pairs ranked in the Top-20.
Georgia is one of four schools in the country to have both its men's and women's programs ranked inside the Top-10.
What's Next? The University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex will serve as the host of the NCAA Tennis Championships' Round of 16 and beyond May 15-26. Should Georgia advance out of this weekend's regional rounds, it would play in the Round of 16 on Thursday, May 15 at 4 p.m.
Kate Fuller is now four wins away from career singles win No. 100. Lauren Herring, a junior, is five wins away from the 100-win mark.
Kowase is also tied for eighth for most doubles victories in a season (31). Fuller holds the record with 40 and former Georgia great Chelsey Gullickson is second with 35.
Kowase, too, is tied for third (130) for most career singles wins. She is just three wins away from tying Stacey Schefflin for second.
800-Win Club: With its 4-0 win over No. 28 Kentucky earlier this season, the Georgia women's tennis program joined an exclusive club, becoming one of just three Division I women's tennis programs in the 800-win club. The others are Florida (949), Stanford (915) and Indiana (815).
*The NCAA and ITA records for program wins are incomplete. These totals are based on a survey of SIDs. Updated 5/8/14.
Nobody Does It Like Kowase: At the SEC Tournament, Maho Kowase became Georgia's winningest player, now holding the Georgia record for most combined career singles and doubles wins (235). Said Kowase, "It's such an honor. There have been a lot of really great players that have played here at Georgia so to be talked about with them is a great feeling."
Kate The Great: When Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller won their doubles match against Furman on Feb. 21, Fuller set the record for most career doubles wins in Georgia women's tennis history. Fuller passes former Georgia greats Naoko Ueshima (2007-10, 109-50), Chelsey Gullickson (2009-12, 106-42) and Cameron Ellis (2008-11, 103-54). Fuller and Garcia are 27-4 this year and undefeated in their last ten matches. Last season, the Fuller was 40-9 in doubles (26-4 with Garcia).
Non-Conference Success: The Bulldogs had six "guaranteed" non-conference matches, five against opponents ranked in the ITA rankings. Georgia went 5-0 in those matches (No. 75 Elon, No. 51 Arkansas, No. 13 Clemson, No. 25 Georgia Tech, No. 5 Virginia) and added a win over No. 9 Miami (Fla.) at ITA National Team Indoors.
And that's just non-conference play. The Southeastern Conference is among the best in the country with 12 ranked teams, five of which are in the Top-10 (No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 Vanderbilt).
Best Fans in the Country...Literally: Georgia took home the March crown in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Attendance Race.
In March, Georgia played in front of nearly 2,500 spectators in six home matches. The Bulldogs average attendance of 360 fans also ranked first on the women's side. The Dan Magill Tennis Complex and the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts also hosted three of the five most attended matches (Florida, Texas A&M, Missouri) in the country during the month of March.
Where's Wallace: In 2013, head coach Jeff Wallace became one of just four women's tennis coaches to reach the 600-win mark. The winningest active coach in women's college tennis, Wallace ranks fourth on the all-time wins list. There's a complete list on page five of this notes package.
Wallace's excellence isn't just limited to the women's side as he is just one of seven active collegiate tennis coaches (of men or women) to reach the 600-win mark. He is also just the sixth coach in UGA's history to reach the 600-win mark (A. Landers, L. Harris-Champer, S. Yoculan, D. Magill, M. Diaz).
NCAA Championships in Athens: The Dan Magill Tennis Complex will be the home of the NCAA Tennis Championships in May 2014 and 2017. It has played host to the men's NCAA Championships 24 times and the women's NCAA Championships three times, in addition to three combined tournaments for a total of 30, most recently in 2012. The women claimed the national title in 1994 and at home in 2000.
Following Georgia Women's Tennis: Fans are able to follow each home 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.