ATHENS----Sixth-ranked Georgia heads to Clemson Saturday for an 11 a.m. match with the 19th-ranked Tigers.
It will be the first road test for the Bulldogs (2-0) and a rivalry weekend for the Tigers (1-1). Clemson also plays host to No. 30 South Carolina on Sunday.
“Clemson has another great team, and we’re excited to go on the road for the first time this season,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. “It’s a new season and both teams have a lot of new players looking to gain experience.”
The two teams last met in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Championships in Athens, and the Bulldogs won a thrilling 4-3 match. With the match tied at 3-all, Maho Kowase made an amazing comeback at No. 3 singles. She trailed 5-1 in the final set and rallied past senior Klara Vyskocilova 0-6,7-5,6-1. This year, both teams have four freshmen on their roster with Georgia returning five letter winners while the Tigers only have two.
Sophomore Lauren Herring along with juniors Kowase and Kate Fuller anchor the top of the Bulldog lineup. Herring, who earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2012, is even better this season. Ranked eighth nationally, she is 22-2 this year. The 18th-ranked Kowase sports a 20-5 record while the 54th-ranked Fuller is 15-3. Kowase and junior Lilly Kimbell are ranked No. 22 in doubles with a 9-1 record. They have been almost perfect at the No. 3 spot in the lineup, owning a 25-1 career mark including going 22-0 there last season. Georgia played Fuller and freshman Silvia Garcia at the No. 1 spot last weekend, and they posted a pair of wins over ranked teams.
Saturday’s match will be the last action for the Bulldogs before the ITA National Team Indoors (Feb. 8-11) in Charlottesville, Va. Georgia is one of 15 teams that qualified for the event by winning an ITA Kickoff Weekend tournament. Last week, Georgia defeated No. 73 Columbia 4-1 and No. 70 Georgia State 7-0. Clemson went 1-1 at an ITA Kickoff event on the campus of Alabama. They beat No. 24 Tulsa and lost 4-2 to No. 10 Alabama. The Tigers have three players among the top-80 nationally, led by Yana Koroleva (32), Romy Koelzer (69) and Beatrice Gumulya (77).
For Live scoring of Saturday’s match, follow this link: http://clemsontigers.com/fls/28500/tennisstats/xlive.htm