The Tennessee women’s tennis team hoped for an upset against No. 7 Georgia on Saturday afternoon, or at least a match that had plenty of suspense and drama.
Instead, Georgia dominated with a 6-1 victory at Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center for its first victory at UT since 2009.
“That’s a good team,” said a disappointed Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick. “That’s a team that needs to be in the top 10. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there.”
Even Tennessee’s lone point earned by No. 1 player Brynn Boren in singles over Lauren Herring (6-2, 6-3) could not be fully enjoyed because Herring had a nagging neck injury that forced her to serve under-handed.
The match went Georgia’s way from the start, when the Bulldogs won the doubles point, despite an 8-2 victory by Caitlyn Williams and Joanna Henderson at No. 2.
Although Tennessee (2-5) tied the match at 1-1 after Boren’s singles victory, Georgia’s Silvia Garcia beat Williams at No. 3 (6-1, 6-2) and Makenzie Craft beat Lady Vol Tiffany Tavares at No. 6 (6-3, 6-1) to put the Bulldogs up 3-1.
Georgia (7-1) needed only one more point for the victory, and it soon closed out the match when Mia King beat Tennessee’s Mimi Fotopoulos (6-2, 6-0) at No. 5.
The remaining matches offered more hope for Tennessee to at least get another point or two in the loss, but Georgia regained control at the end in both. Lady Vol senior Kata Szekely came back to win the second set against Maho Kowase after losing the first, but she lost the 10-point tiebreaker held in lieu of a third set.
Joanna Henderson also battled back from a 3-6 first-set loss to Kate Fuller to win the second set, 6-4. However, Fuller came back to claim the third set, 6-0.
Despite losing the match Saturday, Patrick has not lost hope for the team, which plays host to Mississippi State on Friday at 5 p.m.
“We’ve got a young bunch,” he said. “We can definitely improve and we have to improve over the next couple of weeks.”
Boren also is trying to stay positive and even knows a possibility exists to play Georgia again.
“We know they are a great team, but we played with them,” the junior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., said. “We can come back at the SECs (April 17-20) and hopefully get another shot at them.”