Men's Tennis Set For ITA Kickoff

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Jan. 23, 2014

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SCHEDULE OF PLAY
Sat., Jan. 25
9 a.m. Washington vs. Stanford (First round)
1 p.m. Georgia vs. Columbia (First round)
Sun., Jan. 26
9 a.m. Consolation Match
5 p.m. Championship Match

ATHENS, Ga. --- The third-ranked Georgia men's tennis team will host one of the 15 legs of the 2014 ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26 as the event heads to Athens for the sixth straight season.

Georgia will welcome No. 36 Washington, No. 40 Stanford, and No. 43 Columbia to the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. The Bulldogs will be the No. 1 seed, followed by the Huskies, Cardinal, and Lions. The Nos. 1 and 4 seeds and the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds will play one another in the first rounds on Saturday, with the winners to play a deciding championship match on Sunday with a bid to the prestigious ITA National Team Indoor Championships on the line.

Live scoring (all four matches) and the Georgia Tennis Live Chat (Georgia matches only) will be available on Georgiadogs.com for the duration of the tournament. All action is free and open to the public. A tournament central page including full schedule of events and results can be found on Georgiadogs.com.

ABOUT THE ITA KICKOFF: In all, 60 teams are competing for a place in the National Team Indoor in Houston Feb. 14-17, 2014. Host Texas A&M receives an automatic bid, leaving 15 spots available for each regional winner to complete the competitive 16-team field. Hosts were decided based on final 2013 rankings.

The Bulldogs have won the National Team Indoor twice (2006, '07) and have reached the finals six times (1982, '94, '95, '97, '98, and 2009). The tournament began in 1973 and Georgia has played in it every year except 2003. Most recently, the Bulldogs posted Kickoff Weekend victories over Vanderbilt and Virginia Commonwealth to reach the final site in Seattle a year ago, where the squad advanced to the quarterfinals.

LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia men's tennis team opened its spring season last weekend at the MLK Invitational on the campus of Georgia Tech. Though no team scores were recorded, junior Nathan Pasha was crowned the singles champion as he went 3-0 in the tournament including a victory over 15th-ranked Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss.

In all, Georgia went a combined 20-7 in singles & doubles action vs. players from Ole Miss, Memphis, and Tech.

IN THE RANKINGS: The Georgia men's tennis team came in at No. 3 in the 2014 ITA preseason rankings released on Jan. 2, and remained there in the following edition released Jan. 21.

The Bulldogs return the top five singles players from last year's squad that reached the NCAA semifinals. It marked the third straight year Georgia has been ranked in the preseason top-five. UGA finished the 2013 season ranked third.

In the singles rankings, Austin Smith is No. 12, followed by Nathan Pasha at No. 21, Garrett Brasseaux at No. 47, Ben Wagland at No. 48 and Nick Wood at No. 102.

Smith - unranked in the fall - led the Bulldogs with 15 wins, including seven against ranked opponents. He reached the quarterfinals of the All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., and also made the final of the SEC Fall Classic in Nashville. Pasha notched 13 wins, including titles at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships at Georgia Tech and the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens.

In doubles, Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland are ranked 12th, while the tandem of Pasha and Pieters is No. 59.

RECAPPING THE FALL: Georgia players won three singles titles and reached the final of another fall tournament to start the 2013-14 season. Sophomore Austin Smith led the Bulldogs with 15 wins, including seven against ranked opponents. He reached the quarterfinals of the All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., and also made the final of the SEC Fall Classic in Nashville. Nathan Pasha notched 13 wins, including titles at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships at Georgia Tech and the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens.

Pasha and Smith represented UGA in the singles draw of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in New York, while senior Garrett Brasseaux was named champion of the Bulldog Scramble in November. In doubles, the team of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland led the team with six wins.

ON DECK: The Bulldogs will again take on some of the best competition in the nation early in the season, as the squad prepares to head to the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown for meetings with two top-five foes next weekend in Los Angeles. There, the Bulldogs will face off against No. 4 USC on Feb. 1 and No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 2.

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