The fourth-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team will open its season at home, playing host to three ranked teams: No. 57 Old Dominion, No. 64 Tulane and No. 74 Wyoming. The weekend’s action is part of the 2016 ITA Kick-Off Weekend, and the winner of the four-team tournament will receive a berth into the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Madison, Wisc. from Feb. 5-8.
ITA Kick-Off Weekend
No. 57 Old Dominion vs. No. 65 Tulane – Friday at 9 AM ET
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 74 Wyoming – Friday at 1 PM ET
Consolation match (losers of Friday matches) – Saturday at 5 PM ET
Championship match (winners of Friday matches) – Sunday at 1 PM
“This is an exciting part of the year for us,” said Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace. “Any time you can kick off your season with your dual matches – this is why we come out and practice and run and lift and do all the things that we do. Now we’re able to start this season, and it’s great that we’re here at home. I know our players are excited and ready for this.”
There will be two dual matches on Friday (Tulane vs Old Dominion at 9 a.m., Georgia vs Wyoming at 1 p.m.), then the consolation match is Saturday at 5 p.m. and the championship will be Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Bulldogs haven’t lost at home since May 17, 2014, a streak of 11 matches.
Live scoring will be available via georgiadogs.com.
The team showed promise in the fall campaign, with standout play from sophomore Ellen Perez and junior Caroline Brinson.
Georgia entered fall play with six players ranked by the ITA as well as all three doubles pairs. As the spring season begins, the Bulldogs have four players in the ITA’s rankings, headlined by Perez and Brinson at No. 12 and No. 22, respectively. Silvia Garcia and Kennedy Shaffer round out the Bulldogs in the singles ranks, with Garcia at No. 82 and Shaffer at No. 109.
Georgia has two doubles pairs ranked, with Perez-Mariana Gould coming in at No. 14 and Garcia-Shaffer in a tie at No. 30.
In the team rankings, UGA checks in as the No. 4 team in the country.
The team was picked to finish third in the conference in the SEC Coaches Poll, behind No. 3 Florida and last year’s champion, No. 1 Vanderbilt, respectively.
The team consists of seven returning letterwinners in addition to two newcomers, Stephanie Grodecki and Anne Marcinkowski, as head coach Jeff Wallace enters his 31st season at the helm of Georgia’s women’s tennis program.
Ellen at The Open
Shellharbour, Australia native Ellen Perez received a wild card bid to compete in the Australian Open’s doubles tournament alongside Florida’s Belinda Woolcock. The pair fell in the first round to Australian professionals Jessica Moore and Storm Sanders 6-4, 6-2.
Brinson Beasts in Southeast
Junior Caroline Brinson entered the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional as the No. 72 player in the nation, but she took home the Southeast regional crown thanks to four victories over ranked opponents in the final three days of competition. Over that span, the New Orleans, La. native victimized the No. 5 (Josie Kuhlman, UF), No. 37 (Kennedy Shaffer, UGA), No. 38 (Kourtney Keegan, UF), and No. 6 (Stephanie Wagner, Miami) players in the country. Brinson was rewarded for her strong play with a boost in the rankings, checking in at No. 22 nationally in the ITA’s initial spring poll.
Aussie at All-Americans
Ellen Perez punched her ticket to the ITA Indoor Championships in New York early on in the fall courtesy of a terrific display at the ITA All-American Championships in Los Angeles. By reaching the semifinals in both singles and doubles (alongside Mariana Gould), Perez became the first Bulldog to reach the final four in each side of the draw since Agata Cioroch in 2003. Since the inception of the tournament in 1988, Perez became just the 20th player to reach the semifinal in both singles and doubles.
Wallace Enters Year 31
With this weekend’s action, head coach Jeff Wallace will begin his 31st season in charge of Bulldog women’s tennis. In his 30 seasons, he has amassed 655 wins, five national championships, eight SEC crowns and six SEC Tournament trophies. Wallace is the winningest active head coach in women’s collegiate tennis.
Bernstein Named to New Role
Drake Bernstein enters his fourth year with the program in a new role, changing title from Assistant Coach to Associate Head Coach. The Georgia alum has played an integral part in the team’s success since joining the staff, helping lead the team to its last three of 29 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.
New Name on the Staff
Maryland ‘13 graduate Vroni Van Berlo joined Georgia’s staff as a volunteer assistant prior to the season. Van Berlo brings with her a master’s degree in from the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business program. As a collegiate player, she was named to the All-ACC squad her senior year after playing primarily on the No. 1 and No. 2 singles courts. She previously was a volunteer assistant at Maryland.
Tennis Live Stream
New in 2016, Georgia will be able to live stream all outdoor matches. The streams will be available on georgiadogs.com, with select competition also carried on SEC Network +.
Hall of Fame Schedule
The ITA Hall of Fame, located on the outside of the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, will be open at select times of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Fans are welcome to look around the exhibit on collegiate tennis at the following times:
Friday 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday 3 p.m.-5 p.m.