FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The fourth-ranked University of Georgia women's tennis team defeated second-ranked Texas A&M 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Billingsley Tennis Center to claim the 2023 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship. This marks the ninth SEC Tournament title in program history and the 20th overall SEC crown. Graduate Meg Kowalski and sophomore Guillermina Grant earned All-SEC Tournament team honors and Kowalski was tabbed the Most Valuable Player.
"I'm really, really happy, excited and proud of this team," said Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace following the match. "We have put in a lot of work and they came together this weekend and played some absolutely incredible tennis. Our doubles against LSU was the best doubles we've played this season, only giving up three games total. Our semifinal match came right down to the end, (Anastasiia Lopata) coming back from down 5-1 in the third set to win it. We just battle like crazy all afternoon and into the night. To come back and play Texas A&M, who has had such a good year. We played probably our most complete doubles point today and for Guillermina (Grant) and Mell (Reasco) to get those quick points. It was very fitting that it came down to our fifth-year senior Meg who has been such a clutch performer for us in her five years. She fought like crazy and got it done for us. I'm really happy and really excited for this team and we are fired up now for the NCAA Tournament."
In doubles, Georgia (22-4, 12-1 SEC) took two of three from Texas A&M (27-2, 13-0 SEC). After the sophomore tandem of Dasha Vidmanova and Mell Reasco fell to No. 25 Salma Ewing and Jayci Goldsmith on court one, the Bulldogs responded with wins on courts two and three. Meg Kowalski and Lea Ma defeated Jeanette Mireles and Gianna Pielet 6-4, while No. 35 Guillermina Grant and Mai Nirundorn clinched the doubles point over No. 55 Mia Kupres and Mary Stoiana. This marked the first time the duo of Kupres and Stoiana have dropped a doubles match this season.
In singles play, the Bulldogs won three matches. Grant gave Georgia an early 2-0 match lead after defeating Jeanette Mireles 6-3, 6-1. The Aggies answered with a straight-set win on court four as No. 71 Anastasiia Lopata fell to No. 115 Jayci Goldsmith 7-6(5), 6-2. No 66 Reasco quickly responded with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 57 Mia Kupres to draw the Bulldogs within one point of winning the title. Texas A&M added another point on court one as No. 3 Ma fell to No. 2 Mary Stoiana 6-2, 6-4. With two matches left on court, the graduate Kowalski provided the final punch, defeating Daria Smetannikov 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the 2023 SEC Tournament Championship.
Up next, the Bulldogs await their regional assignment for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Friday through Sunday, May 5-7.