Georgia (17-5, 10-2 SEC) did its best to overcome a 3-0 deficit, clawing its way back with singles wins on courts 4-6 to draw things level late in the match. Florida (19-2, 11-1 SEC) managed to hold its ground on court 3, however, as the Gators’ Brianna Morgan edged Georgia junior Silvia Garcia in a three-set battle to clinch the match and a clear advantage in the race for the SEC regular season title.
Now, with just one day of matches remaining in the regular season, Georgia must beat South Carolina on Sunday and hope that Florida loses at home to Tennessee in order for the Bulldogs to claim a share of the conference title.
“It was a really close match today,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “The doubles was really close and our players did well to fight back in singles. If we had gotten just a few more points here and there it could have been a different story. Florida played some great tennis, though. Now we can just look forward to playing South Carolina in Columbia on Sunday and getting ready for the postseason.”
Early on, the doubles point could have swung either way as the No. 20 pair of senior Lauren Herring and freshman Ellen Perez narrowly lost 8-6 on court 1 before freshmen Hannah King and Laura Patterson fell 8-7 (2) in a tiebreaker on court 3 that clinched the point for Florida. Garcia and freshman Kennedy Shaffer were locked in a tiebreaker of their own on court 2 that went unfinished.
The Bulldogs fell further behind in singles play as Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead with wins on courts 1 and 2. Georgia was in control of the other matches, though, and Caroline Brinson earned the Bulldogs their first point with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 43 Belinda Woolcock on court 5.
Hannah King followed her lead shortly thereafter with a 6-2, 7-5 win on court 6 to trim the Gator advantage to 3-2. Kennedy Shaffer then completed the comeback with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over No. 42 Kourtney Keegan on court 4.
That left the court 3 match between Garcia and No. 21 Brianna Morgan as the decider, but the Georgia junior was unable to capitalize on her second set victory as she lost 2-6, 6-1, 2-6 to Morgan.
Georgia will now travel to Columbia for its final match of the regular season against South Carolina at 1 p.m. Columbia will also serve as the host site for the SEC Tournament, which is scheduled to run from next Thursday through Sunday at the Carolina Tennis Center.
- Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (UF) def. Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (UGA) 8-6
- Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (UF) vs. Silvia Garcia/Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) 7-7(4-2)unfinished
- Spencer Liang/Peggy Porter (UF) def. Laura Patterson/Hannah King (UGA) 8-7(2)
- #5 Brooke Austin (UF) def. #8 Lauren Herring (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
- #10 Josie Kuhlman (UF) def. #59 Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-2, 6-4
- #21 Brianna Morgan (UF) def. #91 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
- #69 Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #42 Kourtney Keegan (UF) 7-6(6), 6-2
- #110 Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. #43 Belinda Woolcock (UF) 6-1, 6-4
- #82 Hannah King (UGA) def. Peggy Porter (UF) 6-2, 7-5
Order of Results: Doubles (1,2) Singles (1,2,5,6,4,3)