STARKVILLE, Miss..--The top-seeded Georgia women's tennis team beat ninth-seeded Ole Miss 4-0 to advance to the semifinals of the 2013 SEC Women's Tennis Tournament Friday morning at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Miss.
"It was an interesting day," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "It started off wet, it was super cold and there was a lot of wind, but I thought our players did a great job. Our number two and three doubles really came out and played well today. I really liked the fight from our number one team as well. I thought Ole Miss played great singles, especially at the start. It was great to see Ayaka play so well. She was first off the court and played a really great match. Lauren just played a fantastic match to day and then Silvia clinched it. Kate, Maho, and Mia were also playing some really good tennis. Overall, it was a great first day for us. We're looking forward to tomorrow."
Georgia (20-2) will play the winner of Alabama and Tennessee at 11 a.m. ET Saturday. It will be the sixth semifinal appearance for Georgia in the last seven years.
Georgia got off to a quick start after winning the doubles point. Georgia's No. 62 tandem of Maho Kowase and Lauren Herring quickly beat the Rebels' No. 40 duo of Caroline Rohde-Moe and Marija Milutinovic, 8-1. Later, the Bulldogs' newly formed pair of Ayaka Okuno and Lilly Kimbell beat Ole Miss' Allie Robbins and Julia Jones, 8-2. It's the 21st doubles point that Georgia has won this year.
Freshman Okuno quickly gave Georgia a 2-0 lead after beating Ole Miss' Milutinovic, 6-3, 6-0. Okuno improves to 3-0 in singles, after making her Georgia debut two weeks ago. Later, Herring, the sixth-ranked player in the country, gave Georgia a 6-2, 6-1 win when she upended No. 44 Rohde-Moe. She improves to 34-5 on the year. Georgia clinched the match when No. 89 Silvia Garcia quickly gave Georgia a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-4 lead over Erin Stephens. The Bulldog freshman has now won eight matches in a row and has a 21-2 record. It was the fourth match that Garcia has clinched this year.
Georgia improves to 35-8 all-time versus Ole Miss, including 7-2 in the SEC Tournament. This marks the sixth time in seven years that Georgia has reached the semifinals of the conference tournament.
1. #1 Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Iris Verboven/Erin Stephens (UM), 6-7
2. #62 Maho Kowase/Lauren Herring (UGA) def. #40 Caroline Rohde-Moe/Marija Milutinovic (UM), 8-1
3. Ayaka Okuno/Lilly Kimbell (UGA) def. Allie Robbins/Julia Jones (UM), 8-2
Order of finish (2,3)
1. #6 Lauren Herring (UGA) def. #44 Caroline Rohde Moe (UM), 6-2, 6-1
2. #13 Maho Kowase (UGA) vs. Julia Jones (UM), 7-6 (5), 4-2, uf
3. #89 Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Erin Stephens (UM), 6-2, 6-4
4. Kate Fuller (UGA) vs. Mai El Kamash (UM) 5-7, 6-2, 2-2, uf
5. Ayaka Okuno (UGA) def. Marija Milutinovic (UM), 6-3, 6-0
6. Mia King (UGA) vs. Iris Verboven (UM), 6-4, 3-1
(5, 1, 3)