The No. 1-seeded Georgia Bulldogs left Tuesday afternoon en route to Orlando, Fla., for the conclusion of the 2019 NCAA DI Women’s Tennis Championships.
The field is set for the championships at the USTA National Campus as the final eight men’s and women’s teams that advanced through the super-regional round last weekend travel to Central Florida for a chance to win a national title.
Two practice days await the Bulldogs (26-1) prior to facing No. 8-seed Vanderbilt in the NCAA Quarterfinals Friday at 5 p.m. ET. The match will be televised live on the Tennis Channel. Tennis Channel will carry more than 50 hours of live action throughout both the team and individual competitions.
The match between the Commodores (19-7) and the Bulldogs will mark the third meeting this season. First, Georgia edged VU, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships back in February when the Bulldogs made their run as Indoor Champions. The second meeting was the regular-season finale in which Georgia won 4-1 to keep its record unblemished and win the program’s 10th Southeastern Conference regular-season title outright.
“First off, I’m super thrilled for this team,” Jeff Wallace said. “They’ve played great all year and have worked very hard to be where they are. We call it doing it the ‘Georgia Way’, which encompasses a lot, but we are one of those eight teams that have a shot. We’ve had two close matches with Vanderbilt and I know they will be going into the match with the mentality of you can’t beat a team three times. At the same time, we’ve done that in other years whether at the Indoors, regular season, SEC Tournament, or what have it. We know it can be done, but we have to get to work and be ready. It’ll be a great battle and we just need to play for each other. I think this team is really ready.”
The NCAA Quarterfinals appearance is the second in as many years for Georgia and the 15th trip since the NCAA field expanded to 64 in 1999. The Bulldogs aim to make their first semifinals since 2015 and first finals appearance since they last won it all in 2000.
Non-broadcast matches will be streamed live on the USTA National Campus website. For additional tournament information, click HERE.
NCAA Tournament Guide
Dawgs in the NCAA Tournament
Record: 82-30; 2 Titles (1994, 2000); 33-straight appearances dating back to 1987
No. 1 Seeds: Georgia grabbed the true No. 1 seed for the second time (2014) since the field expanded from 16 to 64 teams (1999). The Bulldogs’ last national title came in 2000 when Georgia was grouped in the top-four seedings with no true top spot.
Round of 8: In the current format, Georgia has now reached 16 of the 21 possible Round of 8 trips. This year marks the second- straight quarterfinals appearance. Georgia is 7-8 all-time in the Round of 8. Last season, Georgia lost to Stanford in the Round of 8 en route to the Cardinal’s NCAA Championship.
Scouting the Commodores
• Vanderbilt (19-7) finished third in the Southeastern Conference behind South Carolina and Georgia. The Commodores have reached the four-straight NCAA quarterfinals.
• As the No. 8-seed, Vanderbilt swept Miami (Ohio) and Georgia Tech in the NCAA Regionals and then blanked Texas A&M at home in the Super Regional.
• The Commodores’ last loss came in the SEC Tournament semifinals against South Carolina.
• VU’s lineup features a split of upper and lower classmen, while five own an ITA singles ranking. No. 18 Christina Rosca, a junior, is 3-0 in the NCAA Tournament on court three. She will face Georgia’s Lourdes Carle who also is 3-0 in the NCAAs. The two met in the SEC regular-season finale with Carle clinching the match against Rosca.
• In doubles, Vanderbilt has taken the point in 15-of-25 dual matches, including five-straight since last dropping the point in the SEC regular-season finale in Athens.
• All top-8 seeds advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. For five of the teams (UGA, Duke, VU, UCLA, and Stanford) it makes the second year in a row being in the Round of 8.
Things to Watch For
• Georgia (26-1) is one win away from tying the school record in total wins. The Bulldogs have won 27 matches three times prior (1994, 2000, 2009), and in two of the cases, it came with an NCAA Title (94’, ‘00). In 2009, UGA finished a semifinalist.
• Since the NCAA format expanded to 64 teams in 1999, Georgia has made it to five Final Fours, going 1-4 and the last appearance being in 2015.
• Georgia has played in three National Championship matches (1987, 1994, 2000), which have all been against Stanford.
Through 27 dual matches, Georgia is 21-for-26 in obtaining the doubles point (Doubles bypassed in NC State match). The Bulldogs are 46-20 (12 unf.) in individual doubles dual matches. After dropping three doubles points at the ITA Indoors, the Bulldogs switched up the lineup, which resulted in taking 18 of the next 19 points. Georgia dropped the doubles point in the Super Regional against Michigan, snapping a 13-match doubles point streak. The win over the Wolverines marked the fifth time Georgia has won the match after losing the doubles point.
Last season, Georgia took 19-of-25 doubles points, going 38-16. Georgia was one of four schools (North Carolina, Duke, Stanford) to have two doubles teams inside the top-30 in the final ITA rankings.
’The PIT’ Getting it Done
As far back as the 1980s or beyond, courts four, five and six of the Henry Feild Stadium have been named “The Pit”. The idea is to highlight the tough mentality of players that occupy those courts, the less attention compared to the players that roam the upper courts. This doesn’t matter, because “The Pit” is all business and the points count the same. There is a new plaque leading down to court four that is titled “The Pit”.The women’s team is defining the term to a ‘T”. Through 27 dual matches this spring, the Bulldogs in “The Pit” are 56-4 with 15 clinchers and 18 unfinished matches – all of which were led or tied by Georgia at stoppage. Sophomore Vivian Wolff on court four is 22-1 with four clinches and two top-20 wins. Junior Elena Christofi on court five is 15-2 with two ranked wins and two clinches. On court six, freshman Meg Kowalski is 19-1 with nine clinches, and two ranked wins.