A third-set comeback victory from senior Kennedy Shaffer lifted the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldog women’s tennis team past No. 11 Texas, 4-2, at the Nielsen Tennis Complex, punching a ticket to the second round of the National Team Indoor Championships.
“It was a well-played match, and we had to have every bit of it. We needed that doubles point. Morgan [Coppoc] and Elena [Christofi] played really strong tennis and got that done. And then Morgan and Mariana [Gould] rolled through singles, and all of a sudden, we were up 3-0. But Texas came to play, and they shifted the whole momentum of the match in their team’s favor. But the Dawgs, we kept fighting. We did everything we talked about. Our teammates kept supporting each other, and Kennedy found a way to win.”
The win marks number 700 for Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace over a 33-year tenure, which includes two national championships, three national indoor team titles and eight Southeastern Conference titles. The Georgia alum has collected five SEC, four regional and four ITA Coach of the Year honors.
“It’s exciting and it’s fun, but we’re up here to get this young team to have a phenomenal weekend and try to get a win. I’ve been doing it a long time, but it’s really about a group of people. We’ve had a lot of great players and great coaches come through this program.”
On the second court in doubles, the 18th-ranked senior/freshman doubles duo of Mariana Gould and Katarina Jokic cruised by Texas’ Marta Perez-Mur and Turati. After freshman Annette Goulak and Shaffer dropped a 6-4 decision to Bojana Markovic and Petra Granic, the doubles point came down to the first court.
The eighth-ranked tandem of Elena Christofi and Morgan Coppoc sealed the go-ahead Georgia point, taking two straight final games to secure the match, 7-5.
Georgia added two more singles points on courts five and six. Gould topped Poluta in the sixth spot, 6-4, 6-1 while No. 71 Coppoc eased past Perez-Mur on the fifth, 6-3, 6-1. Texas threatened with a pair of singles wins, cutting into the Georgia lead 3-2 as Christofi and No. 49 Marta Gonzalez fell on courts four and three, respectively.
On the first two courts, both Shaffer and eighth-ranked Jokic came back from first-set losses to force their respective matches into a third. Shaffer commanded the final frame with a 6-1 win, clinching the contest to send Georgia into the next round of the ITA National Indoors. When play completed, Jokic led the top-ranked player in the nation 1-0 in the third set on court one.
Next up, Georgia returns to action on Saturday against No. 9 Duke in the National Team Indoors at the Nielsen Tennis Complex.
Georgia 4, Texas 2
Nielson Tennis Stadium
Singles (6, 5, 4, 3, 2)
1. #8 Katarina Jokic (UGA) vs. #1 Bianca Turati (UT) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0, uf
2. Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) def. #64 Petra Granic (UT) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
3. #41 Anna Turati (UT) def. 49 Marta Gonzalez (UGA) 6-1, 6-2
4. #64 Fernanda Labrana (UT) def. Elena Christofi (UGA) 6-1, 6-1
5. #71 Morgan Coppoc (UGA) def. Marta Perez-Mur (UT) 6-3, 6-1
6. Mariana Gould (UGA) def. Katie Poluta (UT) 6-4, 6-1
Doubles (2, 3, 1)
1. #8 Christofi/Coppoc (UGA) def. A. Turati/Labrana (UT) 7-5
2. #18 Gould/Jokic (UGA) def. Perez-Mur/B. Turati (UT) 6-1
3. Markovic/Granic (UT) def. Goulak/Shaffer 6-4