In a matchup of Top 15 teams it all came down to two Laurens: Florida’s 23rd-ranked Lauren Embree and Georgia’s 56th-ranked Lauren Herring.
Herring would take the first set 3-6. Embree struck back in the second set to win, 6-2. With the game tied at three apiece, the victor of the third set would give their team the victory.
Embree would finish Herring off by winning the set 6-3 to give the No. 15 Gators a 4-3 upset win against No. 5 Georgia in Athens, Ga.
“We’ve seen that before,” UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. “She (Embree) manages herself exceptionally well when it comes to pressure time. That’s one of her strengths, clearly. She’s tough, she puts the ball where it needs to be, she doesn’t beat herself. That experience she got last year being the last match on at the NCAA Championships really helped her. She has the confidence to know that she can get it done.”
In doubles play, the Gators would drop the opening match. Lilly Kimbell and Maho Kowase would overtake Caroline Hitimana and Alex Cercone, 8-3. The 13th-ranked pair of Sofie Oyen and Allie Will were victorious against the sixth-ranked duo of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, 8-4. Embree and Joanna Mather would secure the doubles point for the Gators in beating Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring, 8-6.
The first five singles matches only needed two sets to be decided. Georgia earned their first point when Kowase beat Cercone, 6-0, 6-3. Oyen would give the Gators the lead again when she was triumphant against Fuller, 6-2, 6-2. Georgia’s 11th-ranked Gullickson tied it up for the Bulldogs when she took out top-ranked Allie Will, 6-1, 6-4. The Gators would regain the lead when Mather got the better of Gilchrist, 6-3, 6-3. It would become three-all when Kimbell subdued Olivia Janowicz, 6-3, 6-2. The Gators clinched the game when Embree won.
“This was a big win against a really, really good Georgia team,” Thornqvist stated. “I thought we played excellent doubles because they are a really talented and aggressive doubles teams. We’ve played good doubles for a couple weeks now and our one and two doubles teams played at a really high level today. Overall, it was a really good, well played match. I thought Georgia outplayed us at three singles spots where they were just too good and then the three matches where we got our teeth into it I thought we played really well. We managed ourselves well. There was a good crowd. I was very pleased because it was a tough environment to play.”
The Gators will next match will be at home in the friendly confines of Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis complex against Vanderbilt on Friday at 5 p.m. The Gators will try to get their 100th win in a row at home.
Women’s College Tennis
No. 15 Florida at No. 4 Georgia
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Final Score: Florida 4, Georgia 3
1. Sofie Oyen/Allie Will (13), UF d. Chelsey Gullickson/Nadja Gilchrist (6), UGA, 8-4
2. Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather (31), UF d. Kate Fuller/Lauren Herring, UGA 8-6*
3. Lilly Kimbell/Maho Kowase, UGA d. Caroline Hitimana/Alexandra Cercone, UF 8-3
1. Chelsey Gillickson (11), UGA d. Allie Will (1), UF 6-1, 6-4
2. Lauren Embree (23), UF d. Lauren Herring (56), UGA, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3*
3. Joanna Mather (18), UF d. Nadja Gilchrist, UGA 6-3, 6-3
4. Maho Kowase (41), UGA d. Alexandra Cercone (49), UF 6-0, 6-3
5. Sofie Oyen (39), UF d. Kate Fuller (69), UGA 6-2, 6-2
6. Lilly Kimbell, UGA d. Olivia Janowicz, UF 6-3, 6-2
Gator Country reporter Sara Ladwig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.