March 29, 2014
COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- After a two-hour rain delay, the seventh-ranked Georgia men's tennis team suffered a 4-1 loss to 12th-ranked Texas A&M on Friday night at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, marking the Bulldogs' first setback since Feb. 16 as their nine-match winning streak came to an end.
The match was part of the new USTA College MatchDay series, and was broadcast live in front of an ESPN3 national audience with singles played first and doubles to be played only if necessary in tiebreaker format. After the teams split first sets at three apiece, the Aggies surged to the victory with wins at Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5 singles. The loss drops Georgia to 12-6 on the season and 7-1 in conference play, while Texas A&M improves to 17-5 (6-1). Georgia is now tied with Kentucky for first place in the conference with the Aggies close behind.
"This was a tough match," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "We didn't take advantage of some opportunities, and they did. Ultimately, Texas A&M was better in pressure situations tonight. Our guys will learn from this and get better and tougher."
Tonight marked Georgia's first ever visit to College Station during the regular season, and also the team's first loss to the Aggies after entering the match with a 4-0 all-time record in the series.
After the teams split first sets at three apiece in singles, Georgia took an early 1-0 lead as SEC Player of the Week Hernus Pieters posted a 6-2, 7-5 win over Jordan Szabo at No. 6. But just moments later, Texas A&M tied the score at 1-1 with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory for 13th-ranked Harrison Adams over No. 18 Austin Smith at No. 1. Next off was No. 52 Jeremy Efferding at No. 3, beating No. 72 Ben Wagland, 7-5, 6-4, to give the Aggies the slim 2-1 edge. But a tight 7-6(3), 7-6(3) win for No. 26 Shane Vinsant over No. 39 Nathan Pasha at No. 2 pushed the home team in front 3-1 and in need of just one more point, and the visiting Bulldogs needing to win both of the two remaining singles matches in order to force the deciding doubles tiebreakers.
After going down 5-1 in the third set at No. 4, senior Garrett Brasseaux stormed back to win four straight games and even the score at 5-5, but before he could complete the rally, Jackson Withrow held on to his break to defeat No. 117 Nick Wood, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 at No. 5 to seal the 4-1 win for the Aggies in front of a school-record crowd.
The Bulldogs will enjoy a rare off day on Sunday before returning to action next weekend in Athens, hosting Arkansas and LSU.
#12 Texas A&M 4, #7 Georgia 1
1. #13 Harrison Adams (TAMU) def. #18 Austin Smith (UGA) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
2. #26 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. #39 Nathan Pasha (UGA) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3)
3. #52 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) def. #72 Ben Wagland (UGA) 7-5, 6-4
4. Junior Ore (TAMU) vs. #75 Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-5, unfinished
5. Jackson Withrow (TAMU) def. #117 Nick Wood (UGA) 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3
6. Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Jordan Szabo (TAMU) 6-2, 7-5
1. #2 Junior Ore/Jackson Withrow (TAMU) vs. #9 Ben Wagland/Hernus Pieters (UGA) 0-0, unfinished
2. #55 Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) vs. Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 0-0, unfinished
3. #44 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) vs. Eric Diaz/Austin Smith (UGA) 0-0, unfinished
Georgia 12-6, 7-1; National ranking #7
Texas A&M 17-5, 6-1; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (); Singles (6,1,3,2,5)