Jan. 30, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (2-0) is headed west to participate in the inaugural SEC/Pac-12 Showdown, joining Florida, Southern Cal, and UCLA in dual match competition Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1-2, at the Trojans’ Marks Tennis Stadium in Los Angeles.
Georgia and Florida will each square off against the pair of Pac-12 opponents, both ranked in the top five of the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll. The Bulldogs will open against host and fourth-ranked USC on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, before meeting No. 2 UCLA on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The ITA’s experimental scoring format will be in place for the event, with sets in all matches played to six games, tiebreakers at five-all, and no-ad scoring.
The Pac-12 Network will televise the Sunday matches, including a video stream with a subscription to a participating cable provider. Paul Sunderland and Paul Goldstein will be on the call.
LOOKING AT THE TROJANS: Fourth-ranked Southern Cal stands at 2-0 on the season after using a pair of wins over Santa Clara and Wichita State last weekend in the ITA Kickoff to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships later this month.
In 2013, the Trojans reached the NCAA quarterfinals with a record of 26-5, snapping their string of four consecutive national titles.
All-American Ray Sarmiento leads the way with a No. 10 singles ranking. He is joined on the national rankings list by four more Trojans: No. 32 Yannick Hanfmann, No. 67 Jonny Wang, No. 70 Michael Grant, and No. 113 Roberto Quiroz.
LOOKING AT THE BRUINS: No. 2 UCLA enters the weekend at 3-0, most recently securing wins over Wisconsin and Texas Tech at the ITA Kickoff to reach the National Indoors. The Bruins did not concede one team point to the opposition all weekend.
UCLA is coming off its finish as NCAA finalists in 2013, and boasts the nation’s No. 1 singles player in Clay Thompson. Other ranked singles players for UCLA are: No. 11 Marcos Giron No. 62 Mackenzie McDonald, No. 64 Karue Sell, and No. 120 Gage Brymer. Giron and McDonald are also ranked in doubles, checking in at No. 10 nationally.
LAST TIME OUT: Georgia weathered a late charge by No. 40 Stanford en route to a 4-1 victory and a place in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championships on Sunday evening.
The Bulldogs (2-0) used two wins over Columbia and the Cardinal to advance out of the ITA Kickoff’s Athens region and snag a spot in the prestigious 16-team field next month in Houston. Senior Garrett Brasseaux went a combined 4-0 on the weekend, including his clinching three-set singles victory in the championship match. The Bulldogs advance to National Indoors for the 11th straight season.
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 has remained there in the two subsequent editions.
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.
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.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs return home to host East Tennessee State in dual match action on Thurs., Feb. 6 at 3:30 p.m. at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. Live scoring and the Georgia Tennis Live Chat will be available.