Sophomore Lea Ma was named SEC Newcomer of the Week announced by the conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The interruption of the spring sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the suspension of a number of awards in the spring of 2020. The freshmen class of student-athletes in a number of spring sports in 2020 was not provided the opportunity to compete for SEC Freshman of the Year or SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Now, with the introduction of the 2021 spring seasons, an additional class of student-athletes will be competing for those same honors.
A subgroup of Communications Directors has developed recommendations related to award eligibility for student-athletes who were freshman in the spring of 2020 as well as a new group of freshmen who have joined teams for the spring of 2021. Only those student-athletes who were freshmen in 2020 and are now sophomores in 2021 would be eligible for this new award.
The Dix Hills, N.Y. native becomes the second Bulldog to receive conference weekly honors this season, with senior Katarina Jokic being named SEC Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks previously. Ma is coming off a 4-0 performance in both doubles and singles over a period of two matches.
In doubles, she and partner junior Meg Kowalski defeated Hannah Daniel and Nadja Meier of Georgia Southern 6-0 and Carly Briggs and Rebeka Mertena of then, No. 19 Tennessee, 6-2. Singles wise, she defeated Charlotte Van Dieman of Georgia Southern in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 and No. 118 Briggs 6-1, 6-3, picking up her second ranked singles win of the season.
As a team, the Bulldogs jumped up two spots in the latest ITA rankings moving from No. 5 to No. 3. The SEC has seven members ranked in the top-25, the most of any conference, and two teams on the outside looking in, receiving votes.
Georgia is preparing for their first set of road matches against Ole Miss on Feb. 26 and Mississippi State on Feb. 28.