The No. 25 ranked Jackets women’s tennis team was outmatched against the No. 7 ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs in a 7-0 loss on Sunday afternoon. The Jackets (4-2) put up a fight on a number of courts but had their three game winning-streak snapped as they were unable to come out with a single match win against a strong UGA team.
The Bulldogs set the tone for the afternoon by taking the doubles point with two match wins. Tech’s No. 1 ranked doubles team of sophomores Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey played a close match against the No. 5 ranked team of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase, but they ultimately fell 8-6. The second Tech pairing of sophomore Natasha Prokhnevska and senior Muriel Wacker were not able to find any momentum and were overpowered by UGA’s Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller by a final score of 8-3. Jackets freshmen Rasheeda McAdoo and Alexa Anton-Ohlmeyer were ahead in their doubles match 6-5 but had their match suspended once UGA clinched the doubles point.
The results would not get better for the Jackets against a UGA team that was on top of their game. The top four singles players for the Bulldogs were ranked in the top 50 in the nation.
“I think we fought them on some courts where we could, but I think they just outplayed us today. They played really, really well,” said Tech coach Rodney Harmon.
Woodard played in the number one singles spot against Herring, who was the No. 7 singles player in the nation. Woodard was frustrated in the first set by Herring’s ability to pull out points, many of them coming off of difficult passing shots. Woodard did not go down without a fight, however. She got an early break in the second set, only to be broken back for 4-4. Two tough games followed, but Woodard was unable to get the break she needed. A brilliant shot by Herring with Woodard down 6-5 set up three match points. She fought off the first match point, but a double fault by Woodard sealed the match for Herring by a score of 6-2, 7-5.
Prokhnevska, playing in the number two spot, was unable to turn the match around after a weak first set against the No. 6 ranked Garcia. After dropping the first set 6-2, Prokhnevska fell into a 4-0 hole in the second set. The match was looking lost, but a sudden change in momentum saw Prokhnevska win three games in a row. A visibly frustrated Garcia seemed to be rattled, but Prokhnevska was unable to maintain the momentum and ultimately lost the match 6-2, 6-3.
In the number three spot, McAdoo took on the No. 17 ranked Kowase, but lost in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Kurey played a close match against No. 43 ranked Lilly Kimbell. However, she fell just short in each set and lost in straight sets 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). Anton-Ohlmeyer, in the number five spot, was actually the first singles match loss for Tech as UGA’s Fuller breezed through to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Tech’s best chance at preventing the shutout came in the number six singles match between Wacker and UGA’s Caroline Brinson. Wacker won the first set 7-6, edging out Brinson 8-6 in the tiebreak. Brinson came back with a 6-4 second set win, sending the match into a deciding tiebreak. Wacker took a 6-2 lead and it seemed as if Tech would manage to get a point off of the very last match of the day. Unfortunately, Wacker was unable to hold the advantage, and ended up tying at 8-8. Brinson won the last two points of the match, leaving Wacker with a 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 8-10 loss and clinching the sweep for UGA.
“We’re playing pretty good. We can obviously play better. This is the first time we’ve played outdoors. This is the middle of our tough stretch of matches, so we just have to regroup and get ready for FSU and Miami,” Harmon said. “Obviously there are some places where we felt like we should’ve played a little bit better, but you know we have to start our ACC season.”
After going 3-2 in non-conference play, including wins over ranked opponents Nebraska and Tenneseee and losses to UGA and Vanderbilt, the remaining portion of Tech’s regular season schedule consists of conference opponents.
Harmon and the Jackets will try to get back to their winning ways against Florida State in Florida on Feb. 28. The Jackets next play at home against Wake Forest on March 7 at 3 p.m.