WTennis: #1 Bulldogs Travel to Arkansas and Missouri This Weekend

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WTennis: #1 Bulldogs Travel to Arkansas and Missouri This Weekend

The nation’s No. 1 collegiate women’s tennis team, the Georgia Bulldogs, set out Thursday afternoon in a charter plane headed to Fayetteville, Ark., for the first of its two final regular-season away matches this weekend. 

The first serve between the Bulldogs (17-0, 9-0 SEC) and the No. 40 Razorbacks is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. ET. Arkansas (10-10, 3-6 SEC) is riding a two-match win streak after it defeated both Southeastern Conference Mississippi schools last weekend on the road. After Friday’s match, the Bulldogs will jet over to Columbia, Mo., for a Sunday 1 p.m. ET match with the Missouri Tigers (13-9, 0-8 SEC). The Tigers are searching for their first conference win of the season when they play No. 17 Tennessee to start their homestand.

Vivian Wolff

“We’ve had a lot of talks with this group, and I think they are very motivated to do the right things, and be ready for every time we compete,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “This group loves to compete, they are very competitive, and they know what is at stake every single time they step onto the court. They seem to be on a mission, and when that match starts nothing else seems to matter, it is about doing what is important during that match.”

The road trip is Georgia’s second in as many weekends as the Bulldogs are coming off sweeps at both SEC Alabama contingents last time out. The victories upped Georgia’s win streak to 17 in a row – the most since 2002, while also improving to 9-0 in the conference – its best start since 2003. Two more SEC wins would also push that streak to the 2002 season in which Georgia started 22-0, and went on to win one of the program’s nine regular season conference titles and finished in the NCAA semifinals.

Helping Georgia go 2-0 last weekend was sophomore Vivian Wolff who won both singles matches and both doubles matches, garnering SEC Player of the Week honors. The Frankfurt, Germany native has gone 2-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles for four-straight weekends, totaling 16 wins. She holds a 23-3 singles record and a 16-6 overall doubles mark – both team highs. Wolff and junior Elena Christofi obtained their first ITA doubles ranking at No. 55 this past Tuesday and are 10-0 on the No. 2 doubles court since first joining forces in February.

Marta Gonzalez

For Arkansas, two ranked sophomores, No. 104 Martina Zerulo and No. 84 Tatum Rice, lead the team in singles wins with 14 and occupy the first two courts, which projects them to go up against Georgia’s No. 1-ranked Katarina Jokic and No. 24 Marta Gonzalez, respectively. However, the Razorbacks’ best individual dual win percentage comes from freshman Miruna Tudor on court five at 10-3 and will face Christofi who is on a six-match win streak. Arkansas is 7-for-18 in taking the doubles point with one in SEC play. In comparison, Georgia is 12-for-16, including four doubles points in a row.

Missouri’s sole ranked singles player, junior Mackenzy Middlebrooks at No. 124, plays atop of the Tigers’ lineup and holds a team-best 18-10 record with 12 wins in dual play. On the No. 6 singles court, Tiger sophomore Marta Oliveira has a 13-2 record with a nine-match win streak and will battle Georgia’s Meg Kowalski who has yet to lose in her freshman campaign at 17-0. In doubles, Missouri is 9-for-20 with none coming in conference play.

“Very nice, we are super excited about that,” Wallace said on the timing of the last road trip being a charter flight. “It will be a good trip, because the travel aspect should be quick and smooth.”

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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.