Georgia faced Tennessee today in Oxford in the SEC Men's Tennis Tournament to decide the champion, and the Dawgs came out on top once again, defeating the Vols 4-0.
It was a tough fight for the doubles point, but UGA took a 1-0 lead with gritty performances on all three courts. Playing as a pair for only the sixth time this season and only the fifth time in a dual meet, freshman Marco Nunez and redshirt sophomore Eric Diaz notched a 9-7 win at the No. 3 position. The No. 23 ranked pair of Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux clinched the early lead with a tiebreaker win at No. 2. Tennessee's third-ranked pair of Libietis and Reese led #6 Hernus Pieters / Ben Wagland 8-7 when their match was suspended.
I wouldn't say the Vols gave up, by any means, and the singles matches weren't exactly a breeze for the Dawgs, but considering how tight the doubles matches were, singles went relatively quickly. It almost felt like there was a race to see who would clinch for the Dawgs. First, Pasha extended Georgia's lead to 2-0 with his 6-2, 6-4 win at 3. The team score went to 3-0 with Brasseaux's 6-4, 6-1 win at 6. And freshman Austin Smith won the fourth and winning point for Georgia at No. 5, 6-4, 6-0. Pieters was leading 6-3, 4-1 when the match ended and just missed the chance to clinch the championship.
Once again, youth and "the pit" had strong showings for Georgia. It's been a very special season, and there's more to come. With the SEC tournament championship, the Dawgs will be the conference's representative in the NCAA tournament (but were headed to the national field even if they'd lost). We'll report the NCAA bracket when it's announced, but expect Georgia to be a top seed. The NCAA Tournament will be played in Urbana, Illinois, 10-27 May, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
SEC! SEC! SEC!