Gullickson becomes the fourth Bulldog in school history to reach the NCAA singles final, and she will be looking to join Lisa Spain (1984) and Angela Lettiere (1994) as an NCAA champion. Former Bulldog Shannan McCarthy was a finalist in 1992. With her latest victory, Gullickson improves to 29-8 this season while Barte concludes the year at 38-9.
"I felt like I played pretty well today, I was a little nervous early, and Hilary played a great match," said Gullickson. "I had a tough time in the first set and tried to stay consistent. I haven't played that many leftys this year, and it took a while to get adjusted to that. The crowd gave me some energy, it's exciting to hear their support, and I'm looking forward to Monday's final."
The match opened with a couple of service breaks before Barte held in the third game, and then picked up another break on Gullickson to take a 3-1 edge. The service game of both players steadied from that point on as they held serve to bring the match to 4-2. Gullickson converted on her fifth break opportunity to get the match back to 4-3. There were three brief weather delays due to rain in the first set that lasted 17, five and 11 minutes. Gullickson fought off a set point at 6-5, using a powerful serve as Barte returned it in the net. She would hold serve to force a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, Barte got a mini-break to go up 3-1 before Gullickson reeled off three straight points to take 4-3 edge. Then, Barte got her second set point of the match at 6-5 but an unforced error on a ball Gullickson drilled to the baseline knotted the tiebreaker. Gullickson boomed two serves including on her first set point to take the tiebreaker 8-6.
In the opening game of the second set, Barte missed a couple of break point opportunities as Gullickson held serve. The Bulldog sophomore converted on her first break chance in the second game, but Barte got it back in the third game on her fifth try and then held to make it 2-2. Gullickson's serve helped get her some easy points in the fifth game, and then she picked up another break and held serve to take control at 5-2. Barte held serve to extend the match briefly before Gullickson closed it out with a powerful service game.
"This is a well-deserved chance for Chelsey because she's been working extremely hard and playing great," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "She made it to the semifinals as a freshman last year and now to make it to the finals, that's a big deal, and we're excited for her.
"Chelsey got down 4-1 in the first set, and we always tell our players that they have to fight back and show that Bulldog tenacity, and she did," Wallace added. "Sometimes you're going to have to come back, and when you get behind, you have to stay competitive and maintain your energy level. Chelsey fought back against a very talented player."
In the final, Gullickson will face California's second-ranked Jana Juricova who beat Miami's Laura Vallverdu 7-6,6-2. Gullickson is 1-0 against Juricova this season, posting a 7-6,7-5 victory in the semifinals of the All-American Championship on Oct. 10 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Last year in the singles round of 16 at the NCAA Championship in College Station, Texas, Gullickson defeated Juricova 6-3,7-6(5). Juricova is the number two seed in this year's event.
In an NCAA doubles semifinal, Gullickson and sophomore Nadja Gilchrist battle the nation's top-ranked team of Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee) Sunday no earlier than 4:30 p.m.
Live scoring and live video of each match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex will be available at the tournament central page. Tickets are available at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.