Univ. of Georgia Team Page
ATHENS, Ga.--- The sixth-ranked Georgia women's tennis team punched its ticket to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA tournament with a 4-0 win over the No. 11 Texas Longhorns (19-8). But it wasn't just the Longhorns it was battling, Georgia was also up against the weather. After an hour-long weather delay, rain forced the match to be completed indoors.
"I thought we did a great job of going indoors. We were kind of hoping we could stay outside," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "Once they said its time to go indoors, our players put their game faces on. We started well, kept momentum, and were able to get it done.
The Bulldogs (24-4) got off to a quick start with a dominating doubles performances, claiming the doubles point for the 22nd time this season. Georgia's 46th-ranked duo of senior Nadja Gilchrist and sophomore Kate Fuller was first off the court with an 8-3 win over the Texas' 44th-ranked pair of Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott. Shortly after, senior Chelsey Gullickson and freshman Lauren Herring clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 defeat of Krista Damico and Cierra Gaytan-Leach. When the doubles point was clinched, Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase led 6-3.
With today's win, Georgia is 21-1 when it wins the doubles point.
"I told our players after the match that from start to finish, this might have been our best match of the year," Wallace said. "What a great time to be playing and peaking. I was thrilled with the effort that they game and the way they all played."
Georgia carried its momentum from doubles into singles, winning the first set on all six courts, a feat that the Bulldogs accomplished just nine times all season. Just as Georgia was nearing victories on multiple courts, rain moved into the Athens area causing a 58-minute delay, before the match was moved indoors.
At No. 2, after trailing 1-3 in the first set, Gilchrist went on a tear, upsetting 68th-ranked Krista Damico 6-4, 6-2. The win is the Webster, New York native's 22nd of the season. Georgia went up 3-0 when 70th-ranked Herring took down the Longhorns' Noel Scott, 6-3, 6-3. Herring, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year earlier this week, improves to 30-8 this season. Kowase, ranked 58th nationally, picked up her fifth clincher of season with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Texas' Lina Padegimaite, 7-5, 6-1.
Wallace credited the crowd, especially those who stuck around after the lengthy delay for giving his team momentum.
"The crowd was awesome today," Wallace continued. "They were absolutely phenomenal. We hope they come back Saturday and bring two new friends. They were inspiring and really into it."
With today's win, Georgia improves to 12-3 all-time against the Longhorns, including 2-0 this season. Georgia beat Texas 4-3 in the Round of 16 at the ITA National Indoor Championships earlier this spring.
Georgia is playing in its 26th consecutive NCAA Championships and is now 64-23 all-time in the tournament. Additionally, Georgia moves to 8-3 in round of 16 matches and later held in Athens. Additionally, it is the 11th time that Georgia has advanced to at least the quarterfinals since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999.
The Bulldogs will advance to meet the winner of the Duke-Virginia match in Saturday's quarterfinals at 4 p.m. ET.
Texas vs Georgia
May 17, 2012 at Athens, Ga.
Georgia 4, Texas 0
1. Chelsey Gullickson (UG) vs. Aeriel Ellis (TEX) 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
2. Nadja Gilchrist (UG) def. Krista Damico (TEX) 6-4, 6-2
3. Maho Kowase (UG) def. Lina Padegimaite (TEX) 7-5, 6-1
4. Lauren Herring (UG) def. Noel Scott (TEX) 6-3, 6-3
5. Kate Fuller (UG) vs. Cierra Gaytan-Leach (TEX) 6-1, 4-5, unfinished
6. Lilly Kimbell (UG) vs. Elizabeth Begley (TEX) 6-4, 4-1, unfinished
1. Nadja Gilchrist/Kate Fuller (UG) def. Lina Padegimaite/Noel Scott (TEX) 8-3
2. Chelsey Gullickson/Lauren Herring (UG) def. Krista Damico/Cierra
Gaytan-Leach (TEX) 8-4
3. Lilly Kimbell/Maho Kowase (UG) vs. Aeriel Ellis/Elizabeth Begley
(TEX) 6-3, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,4,3)
Rain Delay 58 min.