The day opened with a classic battle between the No. 2 seed Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The matches were moved indoors Thursday morning with rain in the area and two of the first round matches were even moved to the campus of Georgia Tech where additional indoor courts were used.
While Alabama was edging Notre Dame 4-2, four women's teams took buses to Georgia Tech’s Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta. The first match at Tech featured North Carolina earning a 4-0 victory over Texas A&M.
On Thursday afternoon, No.11 Stanford came back from a 3-2 deficit to upset No. 6 California. Cal's Maegan Manasse was one game away from closing out the match against Caroline Doyle. Doyle, won that game, and Stanford sealed their spot in the quarterfinals with a dramatic 4-3 victory.
The real drama on the day involved the host school in the University of Georgia. After Georgia took the doubles point from USC and Lilly Kimball won at No. 4 singles, everything got tight.
Approaching 8:30 p.m. and the match tied 3-3, Lauren Herring and Zoe Scandalis battled to a third set tie-breaker in the No. 1 singles match. It went to a deciding set tiebreaker and Herring battled back from an early deficit to claim the tie-breaker 7-5.
Herring credited the crowd and her grandparent with helping her get the victory.
“I could not have done it without (the crowd),” Herring said. “Our crowd is amazing. It was really special because my grandparents are here. It was really cool.”
It was the first time Herring's grandparents has seen her play a home match.
Other winners Thursday night were Florida, UCLA, and Duke.
Saturday's feature match will be No. 1 seed Georgia taking on rival, Florida.
Men's first round action begins on Friday.