AUBURN, Ala. ----The No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs women’s tennis team blew by fourth-ranked Auburn, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs (9-3, 3-1 SEC) raced through doubles play with two 6-1 victories to gain the early 1-0 advantage. Then in singles, Georgia took care of Auburn (18-2, 2-1 SEC) with wins from junior Mariana Gould and freshmen Elena Christofi and Marta Gonzalez.
“I thought today was our best doubles point of maybe the year,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “We played really well and when you win 6-1 sets in doubles then you know you have done some things right out there. It gave us a lot of momentum going into singles and I thought our players did a great job out there today. It was tough, close matches but we’ve been working on some things and they are starting the pay off. The team is looking really good.”
In doubles, Georgia’s tandem of Gould and Gonzalez downed Auburn’s No. 38-ranked duo Georgie Axon and Caroline Turner at No. 3. Moments later, junior Kennedy Shaffer sealed the doubles point with a spike after a Christofi serve and a few volleys. Christofi and Shaffer, ranked 58th in ITA doubles, earned their second straight win after defeating Alannah Griffin and Andie Dikosavljevic (#71). The Gould/Gonzalez duo improved to 12-2 and notched their fourth straight win.
First to finish in singles was Gould on court six with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Roos van der Zwaan, putting Georgia up 2-0. Auburn’s top-ranked singles player Alizzee Michaud (#29) narrowed the gap to 2-1 after defeating junior Ellen Perez, ranked 55th, at No. 1. However, that would be the Tigers’ only point as the Bulldogs closed it out.
Gonzalez and Christofi both took their first sets against their opponents then won 7-5 in the second to secure the win. On court five, Gonzalez beat Griffin, while 18th-ranked Christofi bested Auburn’s top frosh Taylor Russo (#102) on the second court.
The win over a top-5 ranked opponent was Georgia’s second of the year with the first coming against then-ranked No. 3 Pepperdine in the National Team Indoors. This marked the third straight match that the Bulldogs have taken the doubles point.
“In the SEC, you are always going to play a great team,” Wallace added. “We just know every time we play it is going to be a competitive match so we just have to enjoy that opportunity each time we go out. I really like where we are at with that.”
The Bulldogs continue their road schedule next Friday, March 17th at 5 p.m. against top-ranked Florida in Gainesville, Fla.