Well, friends, the tennis regular season has come to an end on Saturday with both the men's and women's teams notching victories over the Tennessee Volunteers. The men avenged last year's home loss to the defending 2011 SEC champions by dominating the Vols 7-0. The women celebrated Senior Day in Athens, honoring Chelsea Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, by accepting the Lady Vols' forfeit. Intercollegiate Tennis Association rules require a team to have four able players to participate in dual-match play, and with three Vols injured and a fourth stricken with illness Friday night, the seven-woman roster was too depleted to participate. The UGA victory goes in the record books as 7-0 by default.
Both the UGA men's and women's teams had strong seasons. The men finished up with the second-best conference record at 10-1, behind SEC champs Kentucky (11-0) to whom we offer our congratulations. With an over-all record of 20-2, the Dawgs' only losses came to the SEC champions and the number one team in the nation, Southern California. At press time, Georgia is ranked fourth with new ITA rankings to be released later today.
The ladies wrapped up the regular season with a 9-2 conference record, good for third behind champions Florida and runners-up Bama. Those two teams represent the Bulldogs' only conference losses, and the loss to Cal back in February's National Team Indoor Championship quarterfinals were the only blemishes on a 19-3 record.
In Knoxville, the men took a 1-0 lead over the Vols by winning two of the three doubles matches, dropping the No. 1 match. In singles play, Nathan Pasha (on his way to his fourth SEC Freshman of the Week honor) made it look easy in a 6-1, 6-2 win over Tennessee junior Taylor Patrick at the No. 6 spot to extend the Georgia lead to 2-0. Ignacio Taboada defeated Jarryd Chaplin 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 to make it 3-0. The win was clinched at No.2 when KU Singh defeated Hunter Reese 6-4, 6-4. The rout was on: Sadio Doumbia took down Brandon Fickey 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Hernus Pieters took care of Edward Jones 6-3, 3-6, 6-4; and Wil Spencer won his 100th career collegiate tennis singles match against Mikelis Libietis 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 10-6.
Next up for the guys is the SEC tournament in Starkville. The tournament begins on Thursday, April 19, but the Dawgs, seeded second, get a first-round bye. Georgia starts play at 8:00 a.m. Friday, taking on the winner of Thursday's Auburn-South Carolina match. It's a single-elimination tournament with the semifinals on Saturday and the championship match on Sunday.
The ladies, meanwhile, will be in Oxford for the conference tournament. They also get Thursday off thanks to their No. 3 seed. They'll face the winner of Kentucky versus South Carolina and face a possible chance to avenge last week's loss to Bama in the semi-finals.
We'll have quick updates of Georgia's results in the tournaments here at Dawg Sports. so stay tuned.