SEC Champion Georgia Advances To NCAA Final Four, #3 Ranking
The 2009 Georgia women's tennis team capped an outstanding season with another appearance in an NCAA Final Four. In the national semifinals, the Bulldogs fell to eventual national champion Duke to finish the year with a 27-3 record and final national ranking of No. 3.
It was the 21st time in head coach Jeff Wallace's 24 years at the helm that the the Bulldogs concluded a season ranked in the top 10, and the program's best finish since 2002. For an unprecedented fourth time in his career, Wallace earned National Coach of the Year honors by his peers in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). He is the only women's coach ever to be honored four times.
Georgia reached the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February and that was a sign of the potential of the squad. Then, they went 10-1 in the Southeastern Conference to win the SEC title and followed that up with their third straight SEC Tournament crown. The Bulldogs now have won eight SEC titles and six SEC Tournament titles.
Georgia carried a 12-match winning streak in to the NCAA Championships, played host to and won a regional here and then advanced to the program's 10th Final Four in school history. The Bulldogs have made 23 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships.
Georgia had a pair of All-Americans in freshmen Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist. Gullickson, the 2009 ITA National Rookie of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year, was only the fourth UGA freshman in school history to play #1 singles and #1 doubles in the lineup. Gullickson and Gilchrist were the first freshmen duo to play in the #1 doubles spot.
Gullickson reached the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championships and tied a school record with 69 wins in singles and doubles. She had a team-best 43-10 singles record. She became the third Bulldog in school history to be tabbed SEC Freshman of the Year. Gullickson and Gilchrist made the five-member SEC All-Freshman Team. Gilchrist went 35-11 in singles. Senior Monika Dancevic along with Gullickson and Gilchrist were selected to the All-SEC First Team by the league coaches.
Juniors Yvette Hyndman and Naoko Ueshima plus sophomore Cameron Ellis were named to the All-SEC Second Team. Dancevic was named the SEC Tournament MVP.
In the final ITA singles rankings, Gullickson led the Bulldogs at No. 6 followed by Hyndman at No. 57, Gilchrist at No. 61 and Dancevic at No. 98. In doubles, the Gullickson/Gilchrist team finished at No. 7.
BULLDOG HONORS IN 2009