March 20, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia men's tennis rookie Ben Wagland has been named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Wednesday morning.
It marks the first weekly honor for the Sydney, Australia native after he went 4-0 last weekend - his third undefeated week out of the last four for the Bulldogs (12-4, 4-1 SEC). He improved to 10-3 in singles and 9-4 in doubles on the dual match slate, while his performance helped Georgia to a weekend sweep of SEC East rivals Florida and South Carolina with the Bulldogs now sitting tied atop the league standings.
In Georgia's 4-0 win over the rival Gators last Friday, Wagland's tiebreak victory in doubles with partner Hernus Pieters provided the clinch to give the Bulldogs the early point, and he was first off in singles to push Georgia to a 2-0 lead over Florida en route to the shutout. On Sunday vs. the Gamecocks, Wagland and Pieters would again clinch the doubles point after the previous two matches split, and the freshman then rallied from down 5-2 in the second set in singles to clinch the team match with a 6-2, 7-5 decision over Thiago Pinheiro. It marked his team-leading fifth clinch of the year and third in the last six matches as Georgia won it by a final score of 5-2.
Currently No. 5 in doubles and No. 71 in singles, Wagland is the highest-ranked SEC freshman in both polls. Both of his doubles victories over the weekend came against ranked pairs.
Wagland and the Bulldogs are next in action this weekend as they head to play two top-15 opponents on the road, meeting 13th-ranked Vanderbilt on Fri., March 22 at 3 p.m. EDT before taking on No. 4 Kentucky at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Live scoring will be available for both matches on Georgiadogs.com.