ATHENS, Ga. --- The second-ranked Georgia men's tennis team will head to the 2013 SEC Men's Tennis Championships in hopes of defending the regular-season conference championship it secured back on April 7. The tournament will be hosted this season by Ole Miss at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss., and will run from April 17-21.
Georgia (19-4, 11-1) enters as the No. 1 seed and will receive a first-round bye into the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs will meet the winner of the No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Mississippi State match Fri., April 19 at 7 p.m. ET. The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final for Sunday.
Georgia enters the postseason on a 10-match winning streak and winners of 14 of its last 15 matches dating back to Feb. 24. The Bulldogs have swept both the regular-season and tournament titles six times, most recently in 2007, when the team went on to win the NCAA title.
Georgiadogs.com will offer the Georgia Tennis Live Chat, as well as live scoring courtesy of the Rebels, for all matches. The official hashtag for the event is #SECMT13.
GEORGIA AT THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: Georgia has won the conference tournament a total of eight times, most recently in 2012. In all, the Bulldogs have won in 1991, 1993, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, and last year - all under the direction of Manuel Diaz. Those eight titles since the inception of tournament play in 1990 lead the league, as Florida is next with four. The Bulldogs have also appeared in the championship match more than any other school, a total of 14 times in 23 tries.
Last season the Bulldogs posted wins over Auburn, host Mississippi State, and Kentucky to take the crown.
700 & 20: The Bulldogs' next match will serve as a milestone for the program, marking head coach Manuel Diaz's 700th match coached. In 25 seasons, Diaz has compiled an overall record of 578-121 (.827).
A win would also give Georgia a 20-win season for the 10th straight year and 21st in Diaz's 25 seasons.
GEORGIA CLINCHES SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Georgia used a road win over Arkansas on April 7 to clinch the 2013 Southeastern Conference regular-season championship. The Bulldogs defeated the No. 53 Razorbacks 4-1 at the Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, securing a 35th overall conference title and the program's 27th regular-season crown - the most of any SEC school.
For head coach Manuel Diaz, it was the 22nd SEC championship in 25 seasons as Georgia's head coach (14 regular season, eight tournament). Diaz also won four titles as a player and three as an assistant coach for a total of 29.
Georgia has won eight SEC championships in the last eight years counting both regular-season and tournament crowns.
IN THE RANKINGS: The Georgia men's tennis team will take a season-best No. 2 national ranking with it when the squad competes in the 2013 SEC Championships this week in Oxford, Miss. The Bulldogs jumped one spot in the latest edition of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll released Tuesday afternoon.
Virginia continues to lead the way at No. 1, followed by Georgia, UCLA, Southern Cal, and Ohio State atop the list.
There were also new singles and doubles polls released today, and senior KU Singh continues to lead the way for UGA with his season-best No. 6 ranking in singles. Behind him, sophomore Nathan Pasha came in at No. 46 and freshman Ben Wagland was close behind at a career-best No. 53. Junior Hernus Pieters cracked the poll at No. 125. In doubles, Georgia's team of Wagland and Pieters is currently No. 6 in the nation, followed by the team of Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux at No. 23.
The Southeastern Conference once again dominated the national ranking, as there are four SEC schools in the top 10 this week and 11 in the top 25. The Bulldogs were last No. 2 in the country on April 24, 2012. Georgia has been ranked inside the top-five for five of the last six weeks.
OLIVER NAMED TO SEC COMMUNITY SERVICE TEAM: Georgia senior Will Oliver has been named to the 2013 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Community Service Team, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon.
The San Antonio, Texas native's community service efforts include his involvement in the "Home Runs For Hometown Rivals" baseball game held on campus last spring, an event organized jointly between Special Olympics UGA and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He also volunteered to re-shelve books at a local library and coordinated an Easter egg hunt at a city park in Athens.
Oliver is a four-year letterman for the Bulldogs majoring in Real Estate. He has 24 wins in his career, including a run in the singles main draw at the 2012 ITA Southeast Regional in Tallahassee. In his four seasons, Oliver has been a part of three SEC championships and helped the Bulldogs to the 2010 NCAA Championships semifinals in Athens.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs will next turn their attention to the 2013 NCAA Championships, with the first and second rounds set for May 10-12 at campus sites to be announced. The round of 16 and beyond - including the singles and doubles individual championships - will be hosted by the University of Illinois May 16-27 in Champaign, Ill.