Bulldogs To Open SEC Play Vs. Tennessee
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 9 Georgia men’s tennis team (7-3) is set to open the 2013 Southeastern Conference schedule when it hosts eighth-ranked Tennessee (12-2) this Friday, March 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs won their first two outdoor matches last week to move to a perfect 5-0 at home this season and 7-3 overall.
The Bulldogs are 20-4 in SEC openers under Manuel Diaz, and winners of three straight. Last season the Bulldogs opened the conference schedule with a 6-1 win over South Carolina.
Georgiadogs.com will offer live video and live stat coverage on Georgiadogs.com in addition to the Georgia Tennis Live Chat. Admission is free and open to the public.
LOOKING AT TENNESSEE: The Vols enter the weekend at 12-2 overall, and have been out of action since the ITA National Team Indoors, where they went 1-2 with a win over Texas A&M and losses to Ole Miss and UCLA.
Tennessee is led by three players in the singles rankings, including Mikelis Libietis at No. 13, Hunter Reese at No. 33, and Brandon Fickey at No. 76. In doubles, the team of Libietis and John Collins are No. 28, while Collins and Ed Jones are No. 34. The team of Libietis and Jarryd Chaplin comes in at No. 40 for UT.
Georgia is 47-23 all-time vs. the Volunteers, including last season’s 7-0 shutout on the road in Knoxville.
LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia men’s tennis team went 2-0 in its most recent outings, defeating Furman 6-1 on Sunday and East Tennessee State 5-2 on Monday to improve to 7-3 on the season heading into Friday’s SEC opener vs. Tennessee.
The Bulldogs won doubles in each of the matches, now winners of eight doubles points out of their 10 matches in 2013, while the squad is now 5-0 at home this season. Rookie Ben Wagland continued his stellar start to his career, going 4-0 in his matches including the clincher vs. ETSU after he was first off in singles vs. Furman.
DIAZ’S RECORD WATCH: In his 25th season at the helm, Bulldog head coach Manuel Diaz is just three away from moving into sole possession of the second-most wins in Southeastern Conference history. Standing with 566 career wins as an SEC head coach, Diaz is two shy of former Kentucky coach Dennis Emery, who retired in 2012 after 30 seasons and 568 victories.
In first place all-time is Bulldog legend Dan Magill, who collected an SEC record 706 victories in his 33 seasons from 1955-88.
YOUNG PUPS: Georgia has gotten strong play at the outset of the season from the team’s freshmen. Rookie Ben Wagland has compiled a 14-5 mark overall and a 6-2 record in dual matches, including a clinch vs. VCU to send Georgia back to National Indoors. Austin Smith is 13-5 overall and also 6-2 in duals, while Nick Wood was out to a 4-1 start before suffering an ankle injury.
Marco Nunez won the first two dual matches he played in, snagging one victory each at No. 5 and No. 6 vs. ETSU and Furman, respectively, last week.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia came in at No. 9 in the Feb. 26 edition of the ITA team ranking after being ranked No. 6 for each of the first four polls in 2013 and No. 8 on Feb. 19. With that, the Bulldogs have now been ranked in the top-10 every week since March 29, 2011.
Individually, Georgia boasts four players in the singles rankings, including KU Singh (No. 11), Nathan Pasha (No. 42), Hernus Pieters (No. 72), and Ben Wagland (No. 95).
In doubles, the team of Wagland and Pieters is No. 6 this week, followed by Pasha and Singh at No. 23 and Pasha and Brasseaux at No. 32. The latter duo is 9-1 on the season and 6-0 in dual matches, recently named to the All-Tournament Team of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships at No. 2 doubles.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs will play one more non-conference match, welcoming William & Mary to Athens on Mon., March 4 at 2:30 p.m., before hitting the road in SEC play to take on Ole Miss and Mississippi State next weekend.