April 21, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. - The 11th-ranked women’s tennis team was edged out by No. 7 Georgia, 4-2, in the semifinals of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship semifinals on Saturday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 17-4 on the season, while the Bulldogs improve to 21-3 overall.
"We will take a lot out of this, and there was a lot to be gained," said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. "Even though it didn't go our way, I thought we saw a lot of encouraging things. Georgia did a good job. They were steady. Credit goes to them for playing a great match and fighting hard. They were the better team today."
Georgia would take the early 1-0 lead edging Alabama out for the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. The Tide’s 41st-ranked duo of Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane dominated the Bulldogs’ Chelsey Gullickson and Alina Jerjomina, winning 8-2 on court two. Next to finish was the battle on court one that was neck-and-neck throughout. In the end, it would be Georgia’s Kate Fuller and Nadja Gilchrist winning the final two games for the 8-6 victory over No. 22 Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane. On court three, the Bulldogs’ Maho Kowase and Lilly Kimbell appeared to be in control of the match, taking a 7-3 advantage over Taylor Lindsey and Yasmine Ebada, however, the Tide duo clawed its way back, winning four straight games to tie the match at 7-7. Kowase and Kimbell went ahead 8-7 in a long rally and went on to win the next game to take the match 9-7, giving Georgia the point.
In singles, Lindsey made quick work on Jerjomina on court six, giving up just one game in the 6-0, 6-1 win. The Bulldogs would retake the lead shortly after as No. 7 Gullickson posted a 6-3, 6-0 decision over No. 19 Macfarlane on court one. Alex Clay evened the score at 2-2, picking up a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory against No. 95 Fuller on court four. Georgia would win the next match, pulling ahead 3-2, as Gilchrist came back to win in three sets over McLane, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. The Bulldogs would clinch the team win on court two as No. 59 Kowase topped No. 44 Guarachi, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The final game would not come easily for Kowase, however, as the two battled through eight deuces before the match eventually ended.
"I am really proud of our team," added Mainz. "I think we came out and left it all out on the court. We competed on every court. The distance that we've come from January to now is impressive. I firmly believe that this match will pay dividends down the road. I was telling the team that every loss we have had this season has been timely, and we've responded really well."
1. Fuller/Gilchrist (UGA) def. No. 22 Guarachi/McLane (UA) 8-6
2. No. 41 Foehse/Macfarlane (UA) def. Gullickson/Jerjomina (UGA) 8-2
3. Kowase/Kimbell (UGA) def. Lindsey/Ebada (UA) 9-7
Order of Finish: 2,1,3
1. No. 7 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) def. No. 19 Mary Anne Macfarlane (UA) 6-3, 6-0
2. No. 59 Maho Kowase (UGA) def. No. 44 Alexa Guarachi (UA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
3. Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) def. Courtney McLane (UA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
4. Alex Clay (UA) def. No. 95 Kate Fuller (UGA) 7-6(2), 6-2
5. Antonia Foehse (UA) vs. Lilly Kimbell (UGA) 7-6(7), 4-6, 1-2, unf.
6. Taylor Lindsey (UA) def. Alina Jerjomina (UGA) 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6,1,4,3,2*