[break] The ninth-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team (6-2) will make an appearance in the final of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the seventh time in school history after beating No. 5 California 4-2 in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon.
In a scenario similar to the one in which they beat No. 1 UCLA on Saturday, the Bulldogs claimed the doubles point with wins on courts two and three and then clinched the overall match with a singles victory from freshman Hannah King on court five. Sophomore Caroline Brinson and freshman Kennedy Shaffer won the Bulldogs’ other two singles points as Georgia stamped its ticket to a national final for the first time since 2002.
“I am super excited, just really happy for this team and these players and what they’ve done,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “They know every time they come out here it’s going to be a battle and everyone’s going to give everything they’ve got. They’re just enjoying that part of the sport and that’s what you want your players to do. You don’t want it to ever be easy. It’s not easy out here. These are close matches and hard-fought matches, but people have to step up and win big points and play at high levels, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
The Bulldogs earned their first win in doubles on court three as King and Brinson brushed aside the Golden Bears’ Stephane Lin and Karla Popovic with a 6-1 victory. The young Georgia duo is now 9-2 for the season and a perfect 7-0 on court three. Shaffer and junior Silvia Garcia then clinched their fifth doubles point for the Bulldogs this spring with an impressive 6-3 victory over No. 9 Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi on court two. The tandem remains perfect on the season with a 6-0 record that includes a 3-0 mark against nationally ranked opponents.
After winning the doubles point, Georgia found itself facing a Golden Bears’ singles lineup that featured five nationally ranked players. One of those players, No. 78 Fabikova, drew California level with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over freshman Ellen Perez on the number two court. Shaffer restored Georgia’s lead just moments later, however, as she swept aside No. 14 Susanyi 6-3, 6-4 to give the Bulldogs a victory on court three.
Brinson won 6-2, 6-4 shortly thereafter to put Georgia ahead 3-1 and leave the No. 91 ranked King in pole position to clinch the match on court five for the second day in a row. The Dunwoody, Ga., native was flawless under pressure, winning 7-5, 6-3 over No. 30 Popovic to cement Georgia’s place in the title match. No. 83 Garcia’s loss to No. 64 Denise Starr on court four was of little consolation to the Golden Bears, who will now find themselves playing in the third-place match on Monday.
“It feels amazing,” said King. “It’s such a cool moment to experience this with my team. As a freshman it’s cool to have my first clinches be on such big stages and I’m just really proud of everyone for the support they’ve given me.”
Georgia will face the winner of the Florida-UNC match tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET. in the championship final. All matches will continue to take place at the Boar’s Head Sports Club and will be available for viewing via video or live scoring by clicking here. Georgia is 3-3 all-time in the finals of the ITA National Indoor Team Championships, having last won in 2002 with a 4-1 victory over No. 4 Vanderbilt.
- #5 Maegen Manasse (CAL) vs. #19 Lauren Herring (UGA) 7-6, 2-4, unfinished
- #78 Klara Fabikova (CAL) def. Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-2, 6-2
- Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #14 Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) 6-3, 6-4
- #64 Denise Starr (CAL) def. #83 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-3, 7-5
- #91 Hannah King (UGA) def. #30 Karla Popovic (CAL) 7-5, 6-3
- Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Cecilia Estlander (CAL) 6-2, 6-4
- #4 Maegen Manasse/Denise Starr (CAL) def. Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-3
- Silvia Garcia/Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #9 Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi (CAL) 6-3
- Hannah King/Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Stephane Lin/Karla Popovic (CAL) 6-1