KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 21 Razorback women’s tennis team had a tough match against the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs on Friday afternoon in the SEC Tournament in Knoxville. After dropping the doubles point and falling behind, the Hogs couldn’t get back on track in singles and fell 4-0 to be eliminated from the tournament.
Arkansas (17-9, 6-5 SEC) had a chance to win the doubles point after splitting wins at courts one and three. However, Georgia (16-3, 9-2 SEC) was able to win at court two and then take that momentum into singles, winning three straight set matches.
“I think we really needed the doubles today,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “because Georgia is so potent in singles. It was going to be tough to get four singles wins, had it played out we were certainly making good ground on three singles courts. Obviously it was critical that we had the doubles today.”
The Razorbacks were riding a five-match doubles point winning streak going into Friday’s match and at times looked to be in good position to make it six-straight. Even with the early Georgia win on court three, the Hogs were able to respond right away on court one with an 8-6 win from the team of senior Anouk Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson over Chelsey Gullickson and Kate Fuller in a top-20 doubles team matchup. The win by Tigu and Paulson was their 26th of the season. However, the final court came down to the No. 2 spot and juniors Stephanie Roy and Kate Lukomskaya were just short in giving the Hogs the early lead, dropping their match 8-5.
Moving into singles, it was all Georgia early on as the Bulldogs had first set wins at courts two, four and six, but it was all Hogs on the other end with first set wins at positions one, three and five. Tigu, at one point during the first set, was the only Razorback with a lead. She ended up cruising to a first set win over Gullickson, 6-3. Gullickson is the reigning NCAA Singles champion. Once Tigu got the ball rolling, junior Emily Carbone got in on the act and cruised to a first set win over Fuller, 6-3. Then Paulson completed the trifecta of first set wins with a huge come from behind effort, 7-6(7) over Lilly Kimbell.
Looking back at courts two, four and six for the second set, it quickly became the same song just a different verse as the Bulldogs continued to pound away at the points and ended up straight set winners at those same three courts. The clincher came on court four when Alex Anghelescu defeated Lukomskaya, 6-0, 6-2.
“We for the most part played well here. We just had a couple of spots where we struggled and that’s what got us today. Overall, I feel good about our performance. In the match against Georgia, you really want to get that doubles point and it came down to the wire. Had it gone the other way, you would have seen a much different flow into the singles”
It is the second straight year the Razorbacks have been ousted in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, but now they must await their fate and see where their name falls in the NCAA Tournament. If the Hogs make the field, it will be the fourth straight year under Hegarty that the Hogs have made it and the fifth time in the last six years. The selection show for the NCAA Tournament will take place on May 3rd and will be televised on ESPN News.
For updates as well as complete coverage of the Razorback women’s tennis team as they continue throughout the spring, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.No. 21 Arkansas 0No. 9 Georgia 4Complete Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 3, 1, 2*No. 1 #19 Anouk Tigu/Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #10 Chelsey Gullickson/Kate Fuller (UGA) 8-6No. 2 #41 Lilly Kimbell/Nadja Gilchrist (UGA) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 8-5No. 3 Cameron Ellis/Alina Jerjomina (UGA) def. Valentina Starkova/Jade Frampton (ARK) 8-3Complete Singles ResultsOrder of Finish: 6, 2, 4*No. 1 #26 Chelsey Gullickson (UGA) vs. #29 Anouk Tigu (ARK) 3-6, 6-2, 1-1 unf.No. 2 #87 Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 6-1, 6-1No. 3 Lilly Kimbell (UGA) vs. Claudine Paulson (ARK) 6-7(7), 4-3 unf.No. 4 #111 Alex Anghelescu (UGA) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-0, 6-2No. 5 Kate Fuller (UGA) vs. Emily Carbone (ARK) 3-6, 5-3 unf.No. 6 #91 Cameron Ellis (UGA) def. Jade Frampton (ARK) 6-2, 6-0