Bulldogs sweep Illini to open Wailea event

WAILEA – Georgia’s Lauren Herring is both well-traveled and well-accomplished when it comes to tennis.

She displayed her talent Thursday against Illinois at the Wailea Tennis Club.

Herring, No. 4 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings, beat Melissa Kopinski 6-2, 6-0, and teamed with Maho Kowase to defeat Jerricka Boone and Allison Falkin 6-2 in doubles.

“I felt great. The conditions are a lot different than Athens, so it took me a couple of games to get used to how hot it is out here,” Herring said.

Georgia, ranked No. 4 by the ITA, won all six singles matches and the three doubles matches against No. 44 Illinois to begin a three-day, round-robin tournament that also includes No. 29 Oklahoma State and Hawaii Pacific, No. 4 in the Division II rankings.

Herring has played in junior tournaments at Wimbledon as well as in Australia, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, and competed multiple times in doubles at the U.S. Open as an amateur. She owns nine U.S. junior titles.

She went 10-3 during the fall season for the Bulldogs.

“I want to play tennis for sure professionally. I owe it to myself to try. I’m definitely going to stick around for my senior year here at Georgia,” said Herring, a sociology and psychology major.

Herring and Kopinski both chose to slug it out from the baseline.

Herring won the first four games before Kopinski held serve in the fifth. In the next game, Kopinski failed to convert a break opportunity and wound up dropping the game.

“I don’t know about the (final) result, but the first set was a little closer and anything could have happened. If I had only gotten that break,” Kopinski said.

Herring had four of her five aces during the second set.

“I was focusing on my toss in the second more than the first so once I made that adjustment I thought I served a lot better,” she said.

Georgia lost just one set in the match.

“I guess everybody played good, solid tennis and there are things that each player can do a little bit better, but it’s early in January and this is our first meet,” said Bulldogs coach Jeff Wallace. “We’ve been off since November from competition and so I’m pleased as a coach with what I saw today.”

Illinois is to face HPU today.

“Obviously, Georgia is a top-five program and they’re a very talented team and I think it’s a good training experience to play the best and play outside,” said Illini coach Michelle Dasso. “We haven’t played outside in quite a bit being from Illinois. We definitely need to clean up some things and play some smarter tennis.”

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