Lauren Herring didn‚Äôt have much to work with this week.
The junior has been nursing a left abdominal muscle pull and a sore right wrist, leaving her unable to serve or hit during practice.
But it didn‚Äôt show as the nation‚Äôs fourth-ranked singles player cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Elon‚Äôs Jordan Johnston on Friday. Herring provided the clinching point for the No. 4 Bulldogs to give them a 4-0 victory over Elon and their first win of the dual-match season.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think I did anything too great or too flashy, but I definitely don‚Äôt think I played bad,‚Äù she said. ‚ÄúI thought I stuck to what I do well. I played good defense at times, and I stepped up and played offense when it was necessary.‚Äù
It was the second clincher for Herring ‚Äî she and Maho Kowase, the No. 5 doubles team in the country, worked for a 6-2 victory over Johnston and Frida Jansaker, helping the Bulldogs win the doubles point.
‚ÄúI just think they were really attacking and controlling play and they‚Äôre just quick,‚Äù Georgia coach Jeff Wallace said of his team. ‚ÄúJust looked great. They‚Äôve been practicing hard and playing well and they showed it today.‚Äù
The Bulldogs‚Äô top three in singles showed little struggle ‚Äî Silvia Garcia rattled off a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Jansaker on court two; Kowase defeated Barbora Lazarvoa 6-1, 6-0. But senior Kate Fuller, who has a knack for getting off the court quickly, found herself down 2-1 in the first set to Bryn Khoury. Wallace set some roots down on Fuller‚Äôs bench for the remainder of singles play and the two had a quick pow-wow before the start of the third set.
‚ÄúI wasn‚Äôt one bit worried and I don‚Äôt think she was either,‚Äù Wallace said. ‚ÄúIt was just a few errors, but you know what? She overcame it and got that first set and was rolling quick in the second set.‚Äù
Fuller said the nerves of playing her last first dual-season match and the way the ball was playing low off the cool floor in the indoor facility had her tighter than usual from the start.
‚ÄúBut I was glad I kept going for it and kept hitting it anyway knowing that it would come back,‚Äù said Fuller, whose matched went unfinished at 6-4, 3-0. ‚ÄúBryn is a good player, she puts a lot of balls in the court and was slicing balls low. But I feel like I got my rhythm finally in the first set.‚Äù
The win propelled Georgia into Sunday‚Äôs match against Arkansas, the winner of which advances to the ITA National Team Indoors championship in Charlottesville, Va., from Feb. 7-10. The Bulldogs adjusted to the cool temperatures after spending last week playing outdoors at a tournament in Hawaii. But Herring said it is easier to transition from outdoors to indoors than vice versa. Garcia said it was it was a quick transition.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs pretty cold here, but we‚Äôve been practicing indoors and we‚Äôre kind of used to the cold because we‚Äôve been practicing the past week like this,‚Äù Garcia said. ‚ÄúI was so excited to start the season, so I played well and was so happy to start this again.‚Äù
Rachel G. Bowers: twitter.com/rachelgbowers
No. 4 Georgia 4, No. 75 Elon 0
1. No. 4 Lauren Herring (UGA) def. No. 69 Jordan Johnston (ELON) 6-0, 6-0
2. No. 10 Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Frida Jansaker (ELON) 6-0, 6-2
3. No. 25 Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Barbora Lazarova (ELON) 6-1, 6-0
4. Kate Fuller (UGA) vs. Bryn Khoury (ELON) 6-4, 3-0, unfinished
1. No. 5 Lauren Herring/Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Jordan Johnston/Frida Jansaker (ELON) 6-2
2. Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Taylor Casey/Maria Camara Ruiz (ELON) 6-0
3. Caroline Brinson/Lilly Kimbell (UGA) vs. Bryn Khoury/Viviana Stavreva (ELON) 5-1, unfinished
Order of finish:
Doubles (2,1); Singles (2,3,1)