ATHENS, Ga. --- The 10th-seeded and eighth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (16-7) will begin competition in the 2014 NCAA Championships this weekend, hosting first and second round action on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs will welcome Jacksonville State (17-7), No. 26 NC State (17-9), and No. 44 Oregon (17-9) to Athens, with Georgia to square off against JSU in the first round.
UGA and Jacksonville State will meet Saturday at 1 p.m., while NC State and Oregon will face off at 10 a.m. that day. The winners will play one another in the second round on Sunday at 1 p.m. The later rounds as well as the individual singles and doubles tournaments will also be held in Athens at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex May 15-26. Georgia is hosting the championships a record 31st time.
Jacksonville State (17-7, 8-1 OVC) earned its fourth bid to the NCAA Championships in program history by virtue of claiming the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference title with a win over Belmont on April 19. The Gamecocks have won six matches in a row and 11 of their last 12 entering the tournament.
Georgia is coming off the program’s 37th Southeastern Conference title, winning the regular season crown outright. The Bulldogs then fell to Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Georgiadogs.com will offer the Georgia Tennis Live Chat, as well as live scoring and live video streaming, all free of charge, for the weekend.
GEORGIA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Bulldogs are making their 36th overall appearance in the tournament and 31st in a row, entering with a record of 94-30. Georgia reached the NCAA semifinals in 2013, and has reached the finals a total of 13 times. In all, the squad owns six NCAA championships, most recently coming in back-to-back seasons in 2007-08.
Georgia has moved out of the regional rounds 10 years in a row and 13 out of 15 times since the NCAA adopted the current tournament format in 1999.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia is ranked No. 8 in the May 1 ITA poll, the team’s 11th trip inside the top-10 this season. Southern California holds the top spot, followed by Oklahoma, Ohio State, Virginia, UCLA, Baylor, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Texas A&M to round out the top-10.
In the singles poll, Austin Smith leads the way for the Bulldogs at No. 23, while Nathan Pasha came in at No. 30, Garrett Brasseaux at No. 70, and Ben Wagland at No. 82. In doubles, the team of Wagland and Hernus Pieters is No. 8 this week.
GEORGIA WITH FOUR PLAYERS IN INDIVIDUAL TOURNEYS: Four members of the Georgia men’s tennis team were awarded at-large bids to the singles and doubles portion of the NCAA Championships to be held May 21-26 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The individual championships will follow the team tournament set for May 15-20 in Athens.
Junior Nathan Pasha and sophomore Austin Smith were selected for the singles draw, while senior Hernus Pieters and sophomore Ben Wagland were selected as a No. 5-8 seed in the doubles draw, which secures All-America honors for the tandem.
Match-ups for the individual tournaments will be announced during the team portion. A total of 64 players will participate in singles in addition to 32 doubles teams.
Georgia players have won the NCAA singles title four times: Mikael Pernfors in 1984 and 1985, and Matias Boeker in 2001 and 2002. Pernfors beat teammate George Bezecny for the crown in 1985. The Bulldogs have won three NCAA doubles titles including Ola Malmqvist and Allen Miller in 1983, Boeker and Travis Parrott in 2001, and John Isner and Antonio Ruiz in 2005.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs hope to advance out of the regional weekend to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships round of 16, set for May 15-20 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The season will then conclude with the singles and doubles tournaments, also being played in Athens, from May 21-26.