Athens, GA - The University of Georgia women’s tennis team opens the 2011 season ranked No. 15, according to the first Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll released Wednesday.
Defending NCAA Champion Stanford is ranked No. 1 with Florida, Baylor, Notre Dame and UCLA rounding out the top five.
Georgia has five players ranked among the top 125 in singles and two teams in the top 50 in doubles. Senior Cameron Ellis headlines the Bulldog contingent at No. 58 followed by junior Nadja Gilchrist (No. 67) and a trio of freshmen. Alina Jerjomina is ranked No. 84, Lilly Kimbell is No. 95 and Maho Kowase is No. 97. In doubles, the Gilchrist/Kimbell tandem is No. 18 while Ellis/Alexandra Anghelescu check in at No. 40. Ellis posted a team-best 10-3 mark this past fall including 3-0 versus ranked opponents. Kowase had a team-high 13 wins, going 13-5 with three wins over ranked foes. The Gilchrist/Kimbell duo went 4-3 including wins over three ranked teams.
“It’s nice to have five players ranked in singles and two in doubles, however this is the first ranking of the year, and there’s a lot of work ahead,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace who is in his 26th season. “We’re going to focus on everyone improving and getting the team ready to play in the spring.”
The next team rankings will be released on Jan. 25 and be weekly thereafter through the season. Individual ITA rankings will be released every two weeks starting on Feb. 17.
Georgia junior Chelsey Gullickson, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, is not ranked because she did not play any collegiate events in the fall but instead competed in a few professional events including the US Open. Last year, the All-American finished the year ranked No. 6 in ITA singles and No. 6 in doubles with Gilchrist.
Georgia is one of only 16 schools with both the women’s and men’s programs ranked in the top 25, as the Georgia men debut at No. 11. Under Wallace, Georgia has been ranked in the top 25 at season’s end for 25 consecutive years including 21 times in the top 10.
Georgia kicks off the indoor part of its 2011 season Jan. 14-16 when it plays host to the Georgia Invitational. The singles and doubles event will feature student-athletes from Kansas State, Indiana, Troy and the host Bulldogs.