INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. | The Georgia women’s swimming and diving team claimed fourth place as the 2017 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday at the Indiana University Natatorium.
The Lady Bulldogs now have finished in the top five for nine straight years, including national titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
The Lady Bulldogs rolled up 252.5 points during the four-day competition. Stanford earned team honors with 526.5 points, followed by California with 366 and Texas A&M with 292.5. Georgia edged Texas for the final team spot on the podium by half a point.
“Our young ladies refused to quit, they refused to stop fighting,” said Coach Jack Bauerle, who led Georgia to its first-ever fourth-place finish. “We’ve had firsts, seconds and thirds at this meet, and I’ve got to tell you that this feels pretty satisfying. We talk about every point counting; how about every half point? That’s just incredible. Meets like this never go perfectly, but if you respond in the right way, you can overcome obstacles. Our four seniors at this meet — Olivia Smoliga, Chantal Van Landeghem, Emily Cameron and Rachel Zilinksas — were tremendous leaders all week. You’re only as good as your senior leadership.”
Smoliga earned silver in the 100 freestyle as she reached the wall in 46.30, eclipsed only by Stanford’s Simone Manuel, who recorded an American record time of 45.56. Smoliga shattered her own school record of 46.70 set at the 2016 NCAAs. Van Landeghem tied for sixth (for the critical half point) in 47.54.
Smoliga ended her final NCAAs with runner-up efforts in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. She capped her career with school records in those events as well as on the 200 and 400 freestyle and 200 and 400 medley relays.
“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to swim for this program,” Smoliga said. “I’ve had so many doors opened to me by being in Athens. I made sure I soaked in every moment this week because it was my last chance to be on this team with these girls. I’ll never forget these last four years.”
The 400 freestyle relay of Smoliga, Veronica Burchill, Meaghan Raab and Van Landeghem finished second in 3:08.97. That shattered the school record of 3:09.40 set in 2013.
Chelsea Britt won the 200 butterfly consolation in 1:54.11 to place ninth. Megan Kingsley placed 12th with a time of 1:54.76.
In the 200 backstroke, Kylie Stewart placed 12th with a time of 1:51.71.
Tigers post 5-1 win over Georgia
BATON ROUGE, LA. | Sixth-ranked LSU beat Georgia 5-1 Saturday at Alex Box Stadium in front of a crowd of 11,327.
Georgia (8-12, 0-2 SEC) held the Tigers to just four hits but LSU took advantage of eight walks to clinch an SEC series. Freshman Tony Locey started and went 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts to fall to 2-3. Georgia collected nine hits but stranded seven runners and the Tigers turned three double plays.
The Tigers (15-5, 2-0 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the second on a walk, hit by pitch, wild pitch and an RBI-groundout by Josh Smith. In the fifth, Antoine Duplantis registered his 10th and 11th RBI of the series with a two-run single for a 4-1 advantage and end Locey’s outing.
LSU left-hander Jared Poche’ entered the game with a 0.00 ERA, having thrown 29 scoreless innings on the year. The streak was snapped in the fourth inning when junior Keegan McGovern led off the frame with a solo home run, his second of the year. It was the only blemish for the senior who went seven innings, scattering seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts to improve his mark to 5-0. Caleb Gilbert tossed the final two innings for his first save.
LSU opened the series with a 22-9 win Friday. The series continued Sunday afternoon.
Kentucky edges Georgia 2-1 in SEC opener
ATHENS, Ga. | The No. 16 Georgia softball team (24-4, 0-1) fell in its SEC opener, as the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats (19-4, 1-0) edged out the Bulldogs 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Brittany Gray (15-2) pitched the complete game for Georgia, giving up seven hits and a walk while striking out seven batters. After the third inning, Gray wouldn’t allow a Wildcat runner past second base. Kentucky’s Meagan Prince (8-2) also went the distance, as Georgia took four hits and four walks off of her while Prince struck out nine.
Junior Cortni Emanuel led Georgia at the plate with a pair of hits while Lacey Sumerlin reached first in all three of her plate appearances with a double and two walks.
Kentucky jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings. The Wildcats opened the contest with a single and stolen base by Erin Rethlake before putting her in scoring position with a sacrifice. Rethlake scored on a RBI hit from Abbey Cheek before Cheek brought in the other run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
Georgia cut the advantage to 2-1 in the fourth, as Alyssa DiCarlo reached on a one-out walk. Sumerlin followed with a RBI double to the outfield wall to bring in the Bulldogs’ lone run.
The home team had chances, but the Bulldogs would leave Sumerlin stranded in the fourth as well as C. Emanuel in the fifth after she made her way to third on a hit and two-base error. DiCarlo and Sumerlin were left on base in the sixth after two walks while a leadoff hit from Brea Dickey in the final frame had her standing at second at game’s end.
The series continued Sunday afternoon.