The Georgia women’s tennis team was cruising through its schedule in 2020 until the season came to a sudden end.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tennis was one of the many spring sports affected, cutting Georiga’s regular season in half. Along with that, all postseason tournaments were canceled.
In Georgia's 10 matches, it finished with an 8-2 record, including an undefeated 3-0 record in SEC play and a No. 8 ranking.
Here are The Red & Black’s postseason takeaways from Georgia women’s tennis’ 2020 season.
A mix of experienced and young talent
The Bulldogs came into the season with an experienced team, returning six players from a 2019 team that took Georgia to a national championship appearance, including singles and doubles All-American Katarina Jokic.
Though the Bulldogs ultimately fell short against Stanford in the national championship, they had a lot to be excited about this season.
Not only did Georgia return an abundance of talent, but it also brought in young talent with freshmen Lea Ma and Anna Hertel. Ma is from Dix Hills, New York, and was the third-overall recruit in the 2019 class. Hertel is from Warsaw, Poland, and one of the team’s four international players. Both performed well in singles and doubles. The two combined for a 10-4 record in singles matches this season.
Despite the influx of youth, Georgia was able to roll through its first four matches with ease in victories over Michigan State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Clemson.
Continued success in doubles
The Bulldogs leaned heavily on their doubles play. Georgia won the doubles point in seven of its eight wins, losing the point only to Virginia in the ITA National Indoor Tournament but still clinching a 4-2 victory.
As mentioned before, Georgia saw some new faces in its lineup in Ma and Hertel, who were paired with Morgan Coppoc and Jokic, respectively. Ma also spent time on the court with Elena Christofi.
Despite new pairs, both performed well during the season. Ma, with Coppoc and Christofi, finished with a 3-1 record in doubles, while Jokic and Hertel finished with a 7-1 record. Hertel and Jokic’s one loss came in a 6-1 defeat at the hands of North Carolina State’s Alana Smith and Anna Rogers, who were the ITA No. 1-ranked doubles pair at the time.
Dominant at home and on the road
Georgia was a difficult team to beat in 2020, as shown by its 8-2 record. The Bulldogs were undefeated at home and on the road, finishing 4-0 and 3-0, respectively.
The Bulldogs’ two losses came at the hands of Duke and NC State in the ITA National Indoor tournament, both of whom were top-10 teams at the time. Their lone neutral-site win came against Virginia in the same tournament.
Otherwise, Georgia was dominant. Of the teams’ eight victories in 2020, five came in sweeps. Among those were two 7-0 victories over Michigan State and Clemson and 4-0 wins in its final three matches against Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Though it will be a longer than usual wait until the Bulldogs step onto the courts again next season in 2021, they will look to keep up that trend.