April 6, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -
For just the second time in program history, and the first since 1977, the 11th-ranked women's tennis team beat No. 5 Georgia, 4-3, on Friday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 14-3 overall and 8-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while the loss drops the Bulldogs to 17-3 on the season and 7-2 in the SEC.
"We have been working really hard as a team to put ourselves in this position," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "This was a big win. It was a total team effort, and I am so proud of them. They have worked extremely hard and deserve this."
In doubles play, Alabama took an early lead when junior Alexa Guarachi and senior Courtney McLane downed Georgia sophomore Kate Fuller and senior Nadja Gilchrist 8-3 on court one. However, Georgia would come back with a win on court two as junior Antonia Foehse and sophomore Mary Anne Macfarlane fell 8-3 to Bulldog senior Chelsey Gullickson and sophomore Alina Jerjomina. Georgia would take the doubles point in a hard-fought match on court three when sophomores Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase defeated Alabama freshman Yasmeen Ebada and senior Taylor Lindsey, 8-6.
"We struggled in doubles, and after the doubles point we talked about taking it and how bad we wanted it," said Mainz. "My message was very intense and direct, and I challenged them. No. 1 doubles did a great job, but we dug ourselves into a hole elsewhere."
Alabama evened the score quickly at one all when No. 56 Guarachi earned a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Gilchrist on court two. The Bulldogs took the lead against with a win on court one when No. 8 Gullickson defeated No. 23 Macfarlane 6-3, 6-3. The Tide would even the score again when Lindsey defeated Jerjomina, 6-3, 6-2. The second set was hard fought on court five as both players had difficulty holding serve until Foehse managed to hold at 6-5 to get the 6-1, 7-5 victory over No. 80 Fuller. With Foehse's win, Alabama was up by one and one point away from the victory. The win was clinched for the Tide on court three as McLane defeated No. 50 Kowase. After dropping the first set 3-6, McLane rallied to win the next two 6-2, 6-3 and put Alabama over the Bulldogs. Court four went back and forth but eventually Kimbell prevailed in a 7-3 third set tiebreaker over sophomore Alex Clay after winning the first set 7-5 and dropping the second to a resurgent Clay, 6-4.
"On every court in singles, everyone played huge," added Mainz. "To take four singles wins off of Georgia is not an easy thing to do. They are a great team. I thought it was a great match all around. The response we had in this big a match after losing the doubles point was huge. We will enjoy this win tonight, but we will quickly turn our focus tomorrow to Sunday's match."
On Sunday, Alabama is back in action, taking on No. 22 Tennessee in Knoxville. First serve is set for Noon CT.
1. No. 19 Guarachi/McLane (UA) def. Fuller/Gilchrist (UGA) 8-3
2. Gullickson/Jerjomina (UGA) def. Foehse/Macfarlane (UA) 8-3
3. Kimbell/Kowase (UGA) def. Lindsey/Ebada (UA) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,2,3
1. No. 8 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) def. Mary Anne Macfarlane (UA) 6-3, 6-3
2. No. 56 Alexa Guarachi (UA) def. Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) 6-4, 6-2
3. Courtney McLane (UA) def. No. 50 Maho Kowase (UGA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
4. Lilly Kimbell (UGA) def. Alex Clay (UA) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3)
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. No. 80 Kate Fuller (UGA) 6-1, 7-5
6. Taylor Lindsey (UA) def. Alina Jerjomina (UGA) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2,1,6,5,3*,4