Monday, May 31, 2010

Gullickson Captures Tennis Title


Sophomore Chelsey Gullickson captured the NCAA singles championship with a 6-3,7-6(7) win over California’s Jana Juricova Monday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

Gullickson’s road to the national championship featured six wins including over top-ranked Irina Falconi (Georgia Tech), second-ranked Juricova, fourth-ranked Hilary Barte and eighth-ranked Allie Will (Florida). Gullickson is ranked 12th nationally, and her other two wins in the NCAA Tournament came over 21st-ranked Sanaz Marand (North Carolina) and 121st-ranked Martina Rubesova (Northwestern State).

“I still can’t believe it, when she hit that swinging volley in the net, I thought ‘oh, my gosh,’ this is really happening,” said Gullickson. “I have had a lot of ups and downs this season, but this is very exciting. The crowd was awesome. They got me super excited and pushed the nerves out. I thought my serves and return game were sharp, and I tried to play smart and stay positive throughout the match.

“I want to thank my coaches, Jeff (Wallace) and Frank (Polito) for doing an amazing job,” Gullickson added. “They gave me a lot of confidence. I went through some struggles during the regular season, and I think that made me stronger.”

Gullickson is the third Dawg in school history to win an NCAA singles title, joining Lisa Spain (1984 in Los Angeles) and Angela Lettiere (1994 in Athens). Former Dawg Shannan McCarthy was a finalist in 1992 in Palo Alto.

“It’s a great day to be a Dawg and congratulations go out to Chelsey,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. “She had a great week and to do it at home, beating all the best players, that’s very exciting and we’re all very proud of her. It’s big for the school to have another national champion.”

A native of Palm Beah Gardens, Fla., Gullickson concludes the year with a 30-8 record while Juricova saw her 19-match winning streak end to finish 44-7.

This marks the seventh time in the 29-year history of the NCAA Women’s Singles Championship that a sophomore claimed the crown.

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