ATHENS, Ga.--The fourth-seeded Georgia women's tennis team (23-3) travels to Urbana, Ill., the final site of the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championships, to take on Clemson in the round of 16 on Fri., May 17th at 1 p.m. ET at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex.
Last weekend, Georgia beat Winthrop and Arizona State in the first and second rounds to advance to its 25th round of 16 appearance in program history. Should the Bulldogs win on Friday, they'll face the winner of Southern California and Stanford on Sunday, May 19th at 1:00 p.m. ET in the "Elite Eight."
Fans will be able to participate in the Georgia Tennis Live Chat on Georgiadogs.com as the Bulldogs are playing in the tournament. Live scoring and video streaming will be available courtesy of the University of Illinois.
GEORGIA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Bulldogs are making their 27th consecutive appearance in the NCAA championships, which ranks fifth nationally in a tie with Florida. Stanford, UCLA and California have the longest streaks at 32 and Texas is in fourth at 31. Georgia is 66-24 all-time in the NCAA Championships, including 10 trips to the National Semifinals (most recently in 2009), and national titles in 1994 and 2000. This is the Bulldogs 13th trip to the round of 16 since the tournament went to the current format in 1999.
FIRST/SECOND ROUND FLASHBACK: Georgia beat Winthrop in the first round and No. 26 Arizona State in the second round to capture its 13th Sweet 16 berth since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999. Not only did the Bulldogs shutout both opponents, but they led on every court when each of the matches were suspended. Georgia improves to 24-0 all-time in first and second round matches hosted in Athens. Freshman Ayaka Okuno clinched both victories.
TIGERS IN THE SWEET 16: Georgia readies for a familiar opponent in the round of 16 in the Clemson Tigers. The Bulldogs are 25-19 all-time versus Clemson, including a 5-2 win on the road earlier this season. In that match, Georgia won the doubles point, and then got singles wins from Herring, Kowase, Fuller and King. The Tigers have no doubles tandems ranked, but three players ranked inside the Top-40 in singles. In the NCAA Tournament, Clemson holds a 2-1 edge.
BULLDOGS EARN INDIVIDUAL BIDS: Four Bulldogs earned bids to the NCAA singles and doubles championships, which will take place in Champaign, Ill. after the team competition. Sophomore Lauren Herring and junior Maho Kowase earned bids to the NCAA singles championships, and the top-ranked duo of junior Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia earned a bid to the NCAA doubles championships.
Herring earned the No. 6 seed and Fuller and Garcia earned the No. 1 seed. Because Herring is a top-16 seed in the singles tournament and Fuller and Garcia are a top-eight seed on the doubles tournament, each earns ITA All-America honors. Georgia hasn't had three All-Americans in the year since the 2007 season. Both the doubles and singles draws will be announced during the team tournament.
SEC CHAMPIONS: Georgia clinched its ninth regular season SEC championship (1983, `89, `90, `94, 2000, `02, `07, `09). It's only the fourth time in history that both the men and women's team's have won the SEC regular season in the same year.
TOP DOGS: Georgia has three ranked singles players and four ranked doubles pairs. Herring and 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 35-5 record this year. She has won eight matches in a row. This season, she has beaten seven Top-30 opponents. Kowase, who has a 36-8 record, is ranked 19th in the country. She went undefeated in conference play, racking up the most conference wins of anyone in the SEC. She had a team-high eight match clinchers. Garcia, ranked 104th in the country, and has been playing at the three spot since enrolling in January and is 23-2 this season--a best among SEC freshman.
In doubles, Fuller and Garcia, who are 23-2 this season are nation's top doubles tandem. Fuller is also ranked with Herring (No. 50). Kowase and Lilly Kimbell are ranked No. 61 with a 9-3 record. Georgia's court two duo of Herring and Kowase came in at No. 52 in the latest rankings. Both Fuller/Garcia and Herring/Kowase went 2-0 last weekend. Since August, Georgia has played 14 different doubles pairings.
KEEPING IT FRESH: Freshman have had a big impact on Georgia's 2013 success. They've accounted for nearly 35% of the team's singles wins, combining to go 58-21 (.734), almost exclusively since January. 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 23-3 record in singles and a 23-2 in doubles record. She came in at No. 1 in the latest ITA Top-60 doubles rankings with junior Kate Fuller and is ranked No. 104 in singles.
Mia King and Okuno have each clinched three matches for Georgia this spring. King is 14-5 record, while Okuno is 5-2, fresh of a 2-0 record in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. She started her career with an undefeated weekend that helped her reel in SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
KATE THE GREAT: With her 37 doubles wins this year,>Kate Fuller is the new Georgia record holder for doubles victories in a season. Chelsey Gullickson set the old record with 35 in 2012. In singles, Fuller has made quick work of her opponents winning first nine times this season.
IN THE NUMBERS: Here are some interesting statistics from the 2013 season:
• Georgia has 46 combined wins the last two seasons, the best since 2009-10. If the Bulldogs win the National Championship, they'll reach the 50-win mark, a total not set since 1999-00, the last time that Georgia won the NCAA Championship.
• Georgia holds a stellar .826 singles winning percentage (among its top six players)and a .804 doubles winning percentage. Both totals are the best since doubles moved to being played before singles in 2001. Ignoring the format change, the next best year would be Georgia's 2000 National Championship season (.733/.750).
• On the topic of winning percentages, freshman>Silvia Garcia has team-bests in both singles (.884) and doubles (.923).
• Home Sweet Home...Georgia went a perfect 14-0 at home this season for 12th time in program history. It last happened in 2009.
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 earlier this season. With Georgia's 7-0 win over Arkansas, Wallace improved his career record to 602-148 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, 844, D. Magill, 706)