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 Bulldog in school history to win an NCAA singles title, joining Lisa Spain (1984 in Los Angeles) and Angela Lettiere (1994 in Athens). Former Bulldog Shannan McCarthy was a finalist in 1992 in Palo Alto.
"It’s a great day to be a Georgia Bulldogs 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."
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.
A native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Gullickson began the match serving and quickly fell behind love 40 and then rallied back for a hold. The match remained on serve until Gullickson picked up a break in the sixth game for a 4-2 edge. Juricova got the service break right back but Gullickson responded with a strong return game to notch another break for a 5-3 lead. She closed out the first set with a powerful service game at 6-3.
Juricova began the second set by holding serve and then rallied back from love 40 to notch a service break on Gullickson and then held to go up 3-0. Gullickson used a couple of aces to finally hold in the fourth game and a series of wicked returns got the break back to tighten things up at 3-2. Neither player would hold serve until Gullickson’s booming serve returned in the eighth game to square the set at 4-all. The ninth game featured an array of close line calls that drew the ire of the crowd and ultimately Juricova held to go up 5-4. Both players would hold service as the second set would be decided in a tiebreaker.
Gullickson seized control early with a mini break courtesy of a forehand winner for a 3-1 lead. Juricova responded with a volley winner and then two unforced errors by Gullickson turned the tiebreaker in the Bears favor at 4-3. However, Gullickson rebounded with a couple of forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. A near-ace that Juricova barely got a racket on and Gullickson had match point at 6-4. A passing attempt by Gullickson hit the top of the net and fell backwards to make it 6-5. Then, a forehand error by the Bulldog tied it at 6-all. Gullickson pounced on Juricova’s second serve for a winner and a 7-6 advantage and another match point. Juricova fought back with a backhand winner to stay alive. Gullickson took the next point with a forehand winner to set up match point number four. She got her first serve in that Gullickson returned to medium depth and Juricova moved in for a swinging volley. However, it found the middle of the net, and it was over. Gullickson was your 2010 NCAA singles champion.
Monday marked the fourth career meeting between the two opponents and Gullickson is 3-0 with one match halted. The first meeting came at the 2009 National Team Indoors in Madison, Wis., and it never finished. Gullickson led 6-3,4-6,3-1 when play was halted as Georgia upset the second-ranked Bears 4-2. Gullickson eliminated Juricova 6-3,7-6(5) in the round of 16 at the 2009 NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. Earlier this season at the ITA All-American Championship in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Gullickson defeated her 7-6(3),7-5 to reach her first grand slam final.