UNC Too Much for UGA in ITA

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UNC Too Much for UGA in ITA


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The ninth-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team (6-3) came up just short in its bid to secure a fourth ITA National Team Indoors championship in program history on Monday afternoon after suffering a 4-1 loss to No. 3 North Carolina in the title match.


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The defeat puts an end to a remarkable three-match stretch for the Bulldogs that included wins over No. 15 Michigan, No. 1 UCLA, and No. 5 California in the run up to the tournament final.
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“I’m super proud of this group and how well they competed and played this week,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “Coming into this tournament as an eight seed with two losses I think our performances showed that we’ve grown a lot as a program and as a team. We did a great job.”
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The Tar Heels gained the early momentum by handing Georgia what was just its second doubles loss of the season with victories on courts two and three. However, unlike the last time they dropped a doubles point, the Bulldogs were unable to overcome the doubles loss and mount a comeback charge as they dropped early singles matches on courts two and four to fall behind 3-0.
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Sophomore Caroline Brinson, who went undefeated in singles throughout the tournament, pulled Georgia back into the match with a running forehand winner in the third set on court six to cut the Tar Heel lead to 3-1. The momentum swing was short-lived, however, as North Carolina’s Caroline Price fought off a match point against Bulldog freshman Kennedy Shaffer to storm back from 4-5 down and win 7-5 in the third set on court three. That victory gave North Carolina a 4-1 victory and its second ITA Indoors title in three years.
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Freshman Hannah King was up 5-2 in the third set and was just points away from handing the Bulldogs another point on court five when the match was called, while senior Lauren Herring was locked in a third set battle with No. 8 Jamie Loeb on court one. Both matches went unfinished, but showed just how fine UNC’s margin of victory actually was.
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“Today our doubles just weren’t as good as they have been,” said Wallace. “I thought we competed in singles, though, and if we’d just had a few more points fall our way here and there we might have come back and pulled out the victory. Give credit to North Carolina, though, because they’re a good team. We’re now just looking forward to coming back home and playing in front of our fans in a couple of weeks.”
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The Bulldogs are now 3-4 all-time in the finals of the ITA Indoors, having last won the event in 2002.
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Georgia will return to Athens after an almost two-week road trip to host its next match against in-state rival Georgia Tech at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on Saturday, Feb. 21. The match is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET.
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Singles Results
1. #8 Jamie Loeb (NC) vs. #19 Lauren Herring (UGA) 6-2, 5-7, 3-1, unfinished
2. #31 Hayley Carter (NC) def. Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-3, 6-4
3. #22 Caroline Price (NC) def. Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) 6-1, 2-6, 7-5
4. Whitney Kay (NC) def. #83 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-4, 6-3
5. Ashley Dai (NC) vs. #91 Hannah King (UGA) 4-6, 6-4, 2-5, unfinished
6. Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Kate Vialle (NC) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

 

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Doubles Results
1. #13 Ashley Dai/Kate Vialle (NC) vs. Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (UGA) 4-4, unfinished
2. Jamie Loeb/Caroline Price (NC) def. Kennedy Shaffer/Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-2
3. Hayley Carter/Whitney Kay (NC) def. Caroline Brinson/Hannah King (UGA) 6-2
[break] [break] Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,4,6,3)

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.