Morgan Coppoc

Georgia women's tennis' Morgan Coppoc during a match against Georgia Southern at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on Feb. 17, 2021. (Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)

The Georgia women’s tennis team made its return to the courts for the start of the fall season on Friday.

The team traveled to San Francisco, where they competed in the Battle of the Bay against a slew of other schools, including Pepperdine, Kansas and USC.

“I think it’s a great start for us,” said Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace. “Any time we can get anybody in these fall events, get matches in and gear up for the spring season it helps us make improvements and find things we need to work on.”

Senior Meg Kowalski and graduate Morgan Coppoc traveled to the west coast accompanied by freshmen Guillermina Grant and recent addition Mai Nirundorn, marking the first time any Bulldog competed in the event.

For Georgia associate head coach Drake Bernstein, this weekend’s matches were key in getting the ball rolling for the fall.

“We feel that we got exactly what we needed out of this event,” Bernstein said. “It was a solid starting point and we will be coming back to Athens with areas to work on before our trip to Ole Miss next week.”

Both upperclassmen earned singles victories on opening day. Kowalski, the No. 1 seed, took down Colorado’s Megan Forster in straight sets. Coppoc, seeded third, triumphed in a third-set tiebreaker over the University of Southern California’s Leyden Games.

Meanwhile, the freshmen appeared to show promise in their first collegiate matches, though both Nirundorn and Grant ultimately fell short on day one and were eliminated from the bracket.

Kowalski went on to be eliminated in the round of 16 against Pacific’s Klara Kosan on Friday, but Coppoc went undefeated on the day, earning her ticket to the semifinals on Saturday against VCU’s Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado.

Saturday saw the conclusion of the tournament along with the Bulldogs’ run. Coppoc battled against Diaz-Delgado but ultimately fell short losing 7-5, 7-5.

In doubles, both tandems had strong showings. On day one, Kowalski, who teamed up with Grant, took down a duo from Colorado 8-2, while Coppoc and Nirundorn defeated the No. 4-seeded pair from San Diego 8-3.

Both Georgia duos earned spots in Saturday’s semi-finals, but both fell to pairs out of Pepperdine. Kowalski and Grant faced Lisa Zaar and Nikki Redelijk, going blow for blow until being edged out in the tiebreaker 7-5, losing the match 8-7.

On the other hand, Coppoc and Nirundorn were bested by Savannah Broadus and Anastasia Iamachkine 8-2.

“Our girls competed well and all three of them took a step forward from where we were at, at the start of the tournament,” Bernstein said.

Next week, the Bulldogs will travel to Oxford, Mississippi for the Ole Miss invitational, where they will face the host, Ole Miss, as well as Alabama and Kansas State.