Bulldogs beat LSU 4-0, advance to final
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The sixth-ranked Georgia women's tennis team will play for its 19th SEC Tournament title tomorrow after defeating No. 24 LSU 4-0 in the semifinals at the Carolina Tennis Center on Saturday.
Lauren Herring clinched the match for the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs (20-5) for the second day in a row with a 6-3, 6-1 singles win over Joana Vale Costa on court 1 that also moved the senior into second place in Georgia's record books for career combined singles/doubles victories with 231 wins.
In doubles, a dominant performance allowed the Bulldogs to set the tone early, as they swept the Tigers aside with an 8-1 win by Herring and freshman Ellen Perez on court 1, and a perfect 8-0, point-clinching performance by junior Silvia Garcia and freshman Kennedy Shaffer on court 2.
"We set the tone in doubles," said Herring. "We all came out and played really well and that was probably our best doubles point of the season. We took that momentum and carried it over into singles."
After Georgia won the doubles point and took a 1-0 lead, freshman Hannah King doubled the Bulldogs' advantage by winning her seventh singles match in a row via an impressive 6-1, 6-4 victory over Skylar Holloway on court 6. Perez then made it 3-0 in Georgia's favor with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 60 Skylar Kuykendall on court 2, before Herring closed things out with her 6-3, 6-1 win over Vale Costa on court 1.
"We've had two good days and now we're on to the finals," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "We've already talked a little bit about some of the things that we've got to get ready for tomorrow and the fact that we've got a lot of experience from winning the tournament last year. I think it's going to be a great match no matter who we're playing on the other side because the final of this tournament is always a close, great match. We just want to rise to the occasion. Sets are on the line and we're really looking forward to battling, being super-energetic, and having a lot of fun out here. That's really what we do as a team and why we've had a great year."
The victory gives Wallace his 23rd 20-win season since he began coaching at Georgia in 1986 and puts the Bulldogs into their 19th SEC Tournament final in program history. They are 7-11 all-time in the finals match, and won the tournament last season with a 4-0 victory over Alabama. Sunday's appearance in the title showdown will be Georgia's fourth in a row.
The final is scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday against the winner of the other semifinal matchup between Vanderbilt and Florida. Vanderbilt was up 2-0 before rain moved into the area and caused a delay. The title match will be available for viewing on SEC Network +.