Athens, GA - The 15th-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team opens the 2011 dual match indoor season Friday at 4 p.m. when they play host to Memphis. The match will be held at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts, and it’s free to attend.
The Bulldogs are coming off a successful showing at the Georgia Invitational last weekend when they won 32 out of 33 matches against players from No. 45 Indiana, Kansas State and Troy. Georgia went 21-1 in singles and dropped only three sets. Bulldog tandems were a perfect 11-0 in doubles. The freshmen duo of Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase were named the doubles champions. They went 3-0 to raise their record to 7-1 on the season. Kowase was tabbed the singles champion after going 3-0, and that moved her career mark to 16-5.
“We had a great start to 2011 and now are getting ready for our first dual match,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace who is in his 26th season at the helm. “We’re looking forward to facing Memphis, and it will be the first team match for a lot of our players.”
Georgia’s squad features six freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and one senior. With a youthful squad, Wallace said he had the team play a number of tournaments this past fall to recognize the importance of proper training both on and off the court. Overall, the team played 141 matches (going 59-38 in singles and 24-20 in doubles).
Georgia has five players ranked among the ITA 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, Kimbell is No. 95 and Kowase is No. 97. In doubles, the Gilchrist/Kimbell tandem is No. 18 while Ellis/Alexandra Anghelescu check in at No. 40. Georgia junior Chelsey Gullickson, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, currently is not ranked because she did not play any collegiate events in the fall but instead competed as an amateur 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. Gullickson returned to UGA this semester and played in the Georgia Invitational. She went 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles.
Georgia posted a 13-9 mark last year and finished ranked No. 18 while Memphis went 8-13. Lee Taylor Walker coaches the Tigers. Juniors Courtney Collins, Andrea Arques-Garcia and Kelly Gray combined to go 31-40 in dual singles matches last year. Memphis has four newcomers after losing four letter winners off the 2010 squad. One of the top Tiger additions is Tyler Junior College transfer Mariya Slupska. She helped the Apaches to the 2010 national title and won the NJCAA doubles title. Friday will be the season opener for the Tigers too.