STARKVILLE, Miss.—The No. 3 Georgia women’s tennis team fell in the SEC Tournament championship match, losing to No. 2 Florida, 4-0, on Sunday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Miss.
“First of all, Florida played great,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “It was a tough match. We had out chances in doubles with a couple match points. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the doubles point and that’s only the second time this year that’s happened so obviously Florida played well to get [the point]. We were competitive and our girls were fighting and playing hard. We have a few things that we’re looking forward to working on before NCAA’s but again you have to give Florida credit for playing a great match against us today.”
Georgia (21-3) lost a tight doubles point, and couldn’t come back to win four singles matches.
In doubles, No. 62 Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase blanked Florida’s (22-2) Alexandra Cercone and Olivia Janowicz, 8-0 to give Georgia an early advantage. Florida’s duo of Danielle Collins and Brianna Morgan evened the score with an 8-3 defeat of Georgia’s Ayaka Okuno and Lilly Kimbell. With the doubles point hanging in the balance, Florida squeaked out a 9-8 (7-2) win. The Gators survived two match points and gained enough momentum to force and ultimately win the tiebreaker. The loss is only Garcia and Fuller’s second of the year.
It was also only the second doubles point that Georgia had lost all year. Florida improves to 14-0 when winning the doubles point.
In singles, Florida made it 2-0 when No. 95 Morgan topped Georgia’s Fuller, 6-3, 6-0. The loss was only Fuller’s seventh of the year. Later, No. 89 Garcia was beat by No. 54 Cercone, 6-4, 6-3. The loss snapped Garcia’s nine-match winning streak. Florida clinched the tournament title when Florida’s Janowicz came from behind to beat the Bulldogs’ Okuno 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Georgia falls to 49-20 all-time in the SEC Tournament. This was the Bulldogs’ 18th finals appearance.
After the match, Fuller and Herring were named to the 2013 SEC All-Tournament team.
Georgia will await its seeding for the 2013 NCAA Tournament which will be held on April 30 at 5:30 p.m. on NCAA.com. Georgia will likely host the first and second rounds which will take place May 10-12, but campus sites have not yet been announced.
#2 Florida 4, #3 Georgia 0
1. #22 Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (UF) def. #1 Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia (UGA), 9-8 (7-2)
2. #62 Maho Kowase/Lauren Herring (UGA) def. Alexandra Cercone/Olivia Janowicz (UF), 8-0
3. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan (UF) def. Ayaka Okuno/Lilly Kimbell, 8-3
Order of finish: (2, 3, 1)
1. #6 Lauren Herring (UGA) vs. No. 1 Lauren Embree (UF), 6-7(1), 6-5, uf
2. #13 Maho Kowase (UGA) vs. #15 Sofie Oyen (UF), 7-5, 2-6, 1-3, uf
3. #54 Alexandra Cercone (UF) def. #89 Silvia Garcia (UGA), 6-4, 6-3
4. #95 Brianna Morgan (UF) def. Kate Fuller (UGA), 6-3, 6-0
5. Olivia Janowicz (UF) def. Ayaka Okuno (UGA), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
6. Mia King (UGA) vs. #123 Caroline Hitimana (UF), 6-2, 3-6, 1-0, uf
Order of finish: (4, 3, 5)