ATHENS, Ga.—The No. 4 Georgia women's tennis team hits the road to take on No. 22 Auburn (16-6, 6-5) and No. 8 Alabama (17-3, 9-2) as it closes out the regular season.
The Bulldogs (17-2, 10-1) will take on the Tigers on Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET, and the travel to take on the Crimson Tide on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
With two wins, Georgia is guaranteed at least a share of the SEC regular season crown.
Both host schools will be providing live scoring and links will be available on Georgiadogs.com.
MATCH POINTS: Georgia hits the road for its final regular season weekend, traveling to take on No. 22 Auburn on Friday and No. 8 Alabama on Sunday. With two wins this weekend, Georgia guarantees itself at least a share of the SEC regular season title. Georgia has won eight regular season titles (‘83, ‘89, ‘90, ‘94, ‘00, ‘02, ‘07, ‘09). Georgia sits to No. 4 in the latest rankings released Tuesday by the ITA.
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS: Georgia holds a 48-6 all-time record versus the Tigers, last having lost to them in 2007. Auburn’s six SEC wins are the most since 2002 and ties for second all-time its program’s history. Freshman Pleun Burgmans (No. 26) anchors the Auburn line-up, holding a 13-3 record this spring.
Against Alabama, the Bulldogs hold a 37-2 record. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia in Athens in the regular last spring, 4-3, but then the Bulldogs avenged the loss by beating the Crimson Tide 4-2 in the SEC Tournament. They have four players ranked in singles and two pairs in doubles ranked. Sunday’s match will also serve as a homecoming for first-year Georgia assistant coach Drake Bernstein. After concluding his playing career as a Bulldog, Bernstein joined Jenny Mainz’s staff for a year before returning to Athens.
TOP DOGS: Georgia has three ranked singles players and four 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 sixth nationally sporting a 32-5 record this year. She has won eight of her last 10 matches, including six ranked in the Top-50. The 19th-ranked Kowase has a 33-7 record and has won 11 consecutive matches. Freshman Silvia Garcia, ranked 88th in the country and has been playing at the three and four spots and is 19-2 this season and the winner of six in a row.
In doubles, Fuller and Garcia, who are 18-1 this season, are ranked third nationally. Fuller is also ranked with Herring (No. 46). Kowase and Lilly Kimbell are ranked No. 57 with a 9-3 record. Georgia’s court two duo of Herring and Kowase came in at No. 64 in the latest rankings. Since August, Georgia has played 13 different doubles pairings.
OKUNO HONORED: Freshman Ayaka Okuno started her Bulldog career going 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles. The Osaka, Japan, native dropped only five games combined in her singles and doubles matches throughout the weekend.
WALLACE WINS NO. 600: Women’s tennis head coach Jeff Wallace became one of just three women’s tennis coaches to reach the 600-win mark this past weekend. With Georgia’s 7-0 win over Arkansas, Wallace improved his career record to 600-148 record. He remains the winningest active coach in women’s college tennis. He is one of five active collegiate tennis coaches (of men or women) to reach the mark. He is also just the fifth coach in UGA’s history to reach the 600-win mark (A. Landers, 905, S. Yoculan, 834, L. Harris-Champer, 836, D. Magill, 706).
KEEPING IT FRESH: Four freshmen have had stellar starts to their Bulldog careers. After ITA National Team Indoors, Silvia Garcia was named to the All-Tournament Team and garnered SEC women’s tennis Freshman of the Week honors. She now sports a 19-2 record in singles and a 18-1 in doubles record. She came in at No. 3 in the ITA Top-60 doubles rankings with junior Kate Fuller and is ranked No. 88 in singles.
Freshmen Mia King and Makenzie Craft have also been clutch in singles on courts 5 and 6. King has clinched two matches for Georgia this spring while compiling a 8-5 record. Craft is 7-3 so far this spring.
Okuno started her career with an undefeated weekend that pulled in SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
KATE THE GREAT: With her 32 doubles wins this year, Kate Fuller has moved into fourth place for most doubles wins in a single season at Georgia. Her current mark ties her 2012 win total, but she’ll have at least four more opportunities for doubles wins this season. Chelsey Gullickson set the record with 35 last season.
HERRING GRABS BIG WIN: Eighth-ranked Herring beat Texas A&M’s fifth-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday. Sanchez-Quintanar is the highest-ranked opponent that Herring has beaten this year, and is the 17th ranked opponent that she’s beaten this year.
FOLLOWING GEORGIA WOMEN’S TENNIS: Fans are 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.
DID YOU KNOW? Georgia is one of four 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. 4. The others are Duke, UCLA and Southern California.