The Georgia Bulldogs women’s tennis team comes in tied for second in the first ITA Division I Women’s Team Rankings released by the organization on Wednesday morning. They share the ranking with North Carolina, who the Bulldogs faced and beat in the National Team Indoor Championship match last season. Stanford claimed the top spot with UCLA and Duke rounding out the top five.
Georgia is coming off one of its best seasons featuring the sixth National Championship won by the women’s team, the fourth indoor title, an undefeated regular season and SEC regular season title and a trip to the NCAA National Finals where they ultimately fell short to Stanford.
The Bulldogs will face five teams ranked in the top 25; No. 9 South Carolina, No. 10 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 21 Florida and No. 22 Tennessee. The SEC claimed six of the spots in the first rankings, the second most behind the ACC with seven.
With no seniors last season, the Bulldogs return a highly touted and experienced group, along with the addition of two top tier freshmen. Seniors Elena Christofi and Marta Gonzalez return to finish out their careers on a high note after providing consistent performances in singles and doubles play with Gonzalez earning All-America honors in doubles last season. ITA National Player of the Year Katarina Jokic concluded a historic and venerated season including being named a Honda Award finalist, ITA All-America Honors in both singles and doubles, NCAA All-Tournament Team in No. 1 singles and doubles, First Team All-SEC and is ready to only improve. Morgan Coppoc will provide depth for the Bulldogs as a competitor after finishing 14-3 this past fall season. Sophomores Alee Clayton and Meg Kowalski will take the foundation they built upon their first season with the team and provide a competitive edge in singles and doubles. Kowalski had a great freshman campaign going 20-1 in the sixth spot for the Bulldogs. Lea Ma joined the program in June as the No. 3 recruit and began her career in the fall of 2019 going 14-5 in her first taste of collegiate action. Anna Hertel joined the team in January of 2020 and is one of the most experienced international players with a career best juniors ranking of No. 46.
The 35th season for Head Coach Jeff Wallace will debut with the First Serve event on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. inside the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Center. The tennis version of Midnight Madness will allow fans were able to watch the teams battle it out on the court and were able to take part in a clinic, which was hosted by coaches and players from both squads.
The Bulldogs begin the season with the ITA Kick-Off Weekend and will take on Michigan State on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex before taking on either Notre Dame or Furman the following day.
Full ITA Women’s Tennis Preseason Rankings
T-2. North Carolina
8. North Carolina State
9. South Carolina*
11. Oklahoma State
16. Florida State
18. Texas A&M*
24. Wake Forest
25. Ohio State
*Denotes 2020 Opponent