Junior Hernus Pieters
Feb. 1, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The sixth-ranked University of Georgia men’s tennis team (3-0) will hit the road for the first time this dual match season when it travels to take on No. 4 Ohio State (7-0) on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3 for a noon match at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Live scoring for the top-10 match-up will be available on Georgiadogs.com courtesy of OSU.
LOOKING AT OHIO STATE: Fourth-ranked Ohio State enters the weekend at 7-0 overall coming off a 4-0 win over Toledo on Jan. 27. Six of OSU’s seven early-season wins have been shutouts, while the Buckeyes surrendered just one point in the other match.
The Buckeyes - who reached the NCAA quarterfinals last season - are led by a trio of nationally-ranked singles players including the nation’s current No. 1 in Peter Kobelt. Behind him, Connor Smith is No. 13 and Chris Diaz No. 30. The squad already has four players with double-digit singles wins, paced by Kobelt’s 19. Smith brings in a six-match winning streak.
SERIES HISTORY: Georgia is 11-3 all-time vs. the Buckeyes, including last season’s 4-3 victory over then-No. 2 OSU at home.
LAST TIME OUT: The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team won all three doubles matches and five singles matches in straight sets en route to a 6-0 win over No. 55 Clemson Thursday at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility.
Georgia took the doubles point to go ahead 1-0. At No. 1, the fifth-ranked tandem of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland defeated Austin Ansari and Yannick Maden, 8-1, to improve to 15-4 on the season. Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha clinched the point at No. 2 with an 8-6 win over Clemson’s Gerardo Meza and Ayrton Wibowo. Austin Smith and Nick Wood finished off the doubles sweep at No. 3 with an 8-5 win over Hunter Harrington and Zachary Rigsby.
To start singles, Smith cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Wibowo at No 4, then Wagland made it 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Meza at No. 3. Nathan Pasha furnished the match clincher at No. 1 where he defeated No. 75 Maden, 7-6(3), 6-2. No. 16 Pieters gave the Bulldogs their fifth point when he topped Harrington, 6-3, 7-5 at No. 2. Freshman Nick Wood made it 6-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Rigsby at No. 5. Brasseaux’s match at No. 6 was suspended after the first set.
YOUNG PUPS: Georgia has gotten strong play at the outset of the season from the team’s freshmen. Rookie Ben Wagland has compiled an 11-3 mark overall and a 3-0 record in dual matches, including a clinch vs. VCU to send Georgia back to National Indoors. Austin Smith is 9-3 overall and 2-0 in duals, while Nick Wood - who joined the team in January - is 1-1.
The Bulldogs will need to rely heavily on their rookies in 2013, as at least two freshmen have played singles in each of the first three matches, while three have played twice.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia remained No. 6 in the ITA team rankings for the second week this spring on Jan. 30. With that, the Bulldogs have now been ranked in the top six every week since May 2, 2011 and in the top-10 since March 29, 2011.
Individually, Georgia boasts three players in the singles top 20 in KU Singh (No. 8), Hernus Pieters (No. 16), and Nathan Pasha (No. 19). In doubles, the team of Pieters and freshman Ben Wagland are No. 5 while Wagland is No. 29 with Pasha. New singles and doubles rankings will be released after the National Team Indoors.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs remain on the road when they travel to meet in-state rival Georgia Tech on Fri., Jan. 8 at 4 p.m. in Atlanta. The next week Georgia will be in action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 15-18 in Seattle.