UGA women’s tennis pushing through paradise’s effects

Jeff Wallace’s squad has withstood drastic temperature and time changes in the last week.

Seven days in Honolulu competing in the Hawaii Tournament can have that effect.

“It was unbelievable,” Wallace said. “We played some good tennis, too.”

The Georgia women’s tennis team swept the singles podium — Lauren Herring, Silvia Garcia and Maho Kowase took one, two and three. The Bulldogs also took the top two spots in doubles with Herring and Kowase finishing first and Garcia and Kate Fuller taking second.

“The first day, it were so hard to adjust for the humidity and the hotness, so I felt like I was dying out on the court,” Kowase said, laughing. “Am I out of shape this much? It was the first match, so I was a little nervous. I couldn’t make that many balls. It was a little frustrating, but it was hard to get mad on the court because it was paradise. Blue sky, flowers everywhere. I was like, ‘I can’t get mad.’ As the days go on, everybody started moving well, playing well. The last day pretty much everybody playing pretty good.”

But there have been some lingering effects, despite spending a week in paradise.

“It’s tough,” senior Kate Fuller said. “I think some of us haven’t been feeling that great. I think Caroline (Brinson) wasn’t feeling that great on the trip, so we’re just trying to get caught up on school, get a little bit of rest and then get some good practices in on our own courts to be ready for Friday. You got to do the best you can and that you’re disciplined enough to adjust to the time and everything.”

Added Wallace: “I think they’ve handled it good. Them being as young as they are, I think they’ve rebounded a little easier than I did, but quite honestly they’ve been busy because of school and everything. It’s just what you have to do. We had a great trip; so much fun.”

The No. 4 Bulldogs, who have just seven on their roster this season, are a host site for the ITA Kickoff Weekend, and play Elon at 1 p.m. today. Matches will be indoors, which comes with some adjusting after playing a week in the heat and humidity. A spot in the ITA National Indoor Team Championships from Feb. 7-10 in Charlottesville, Va., is on the line. But Fuller likes the shape Georgia is in.

“For this stage in the season, you try to feel it out and see how everybody’s doing, but I feel like this is the strongest we’ve been in a while at this stage,” Fuller said. “That’s really exciting to see how fit everyone is and really how well everyone’s hitting the ball. It looks really good, I think.”

Rachel G. Bowers: twitter.com/rachelgbowers