April 3, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 4 Georgia men's tennis team hits the road to take on a pair of opponents out of the SEC West, facing off against No. 32 LSU on Friday before traveling to No. 53 Arkansas for a Sunday meeting in the next-to-last weekend of the 2013 regular season.
Georgia (15-4, 7-1 SEC) is currently in first place atop the league standings after a 4-1 win over No. 13 Texas A&M last time out.
Live scoring for both matches will be available at Georgiadogs.com courtesy of the host institutions.
LOOKING AT THE TIGERS: LSU comes in with their No. 32 national ranking and an 11-8 overall record, most recently posting a home sweep of New Orleans and Tulane Tuesday in Baton Rouge. The Tigers' most recent SEC action included a 4-2 win over Florida on March 29 and a 4-1 loss to South Carolina on March 31. LSU is 3-5 in SEC play on the year.
The Tigers are led by No. 82 Chris Simpson in the national singles poll, while the team of Simpson and Stefan Szacinski are currently No. 43 in doubles.
Georgia is 44-14 all-time vs. LSU, including last season's 4-3 win over the Tigers in Athens.
LOOKING AT THE RAZORBACKS: No. 53 Arkansas is coming off a pair of SEC losses last weekend, a 5-1 setback at South Carolina and a 4-0 loss to Florida to stand at 12-2 overall and winless at 0-9 in league play.
The Razorbacks currently do not have any players ranked in singles, but the team of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott are No. 35 in doubles.
Georgia is 23-2 all-time against Arkansas after last season's 7-0 win at home.
LAST TIME OUT: The third-ranked Georgia men's tennis team ran its winning streak to six matches with a 4-1 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs (15-4, 7-1 SEC) will enter the final two weeks of the regular season alone in first place in the overall SEC standings as no other team has fewer than three conference losses.
With the win, Georgia also remained perfect at home this season with a 10-0 record.
Sunday's match began outdoors, but was moved to the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility during singles due to rain. The Aggies won the doubles point against the Bulldogs, before UGA responded to snag four singles matches at the top four courts. Freshman Ben Wagland clinched his team-high sixth match of the season at No. 2, getting both sets via tiebreaker.
WAGLAND EARNS WEEKLY HONORS AGAIN: Georgia rookie Ben Wagland has been named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week in men's tennis for the second time this season, the league office announced Wednesday.
Wagland picked up his second honor in the last three weeks, also named the Freshman of the Week on March 20. For Georgia, it is the third straight such award as classmate Austin Smith received the honor on March 27.
The Sydney, Australia native posted his team-leading sixth match clincher of the season Sunday vs. 12th-ranked Texas A&M, as he knocked off Junior Ore at No. 2 singles with both sets decided via tiebreaker. Wagland's victory helped the Bulldogs (15-4, 7-1) to the 4-1 win over the Aggies, as they remain in first place in the SEC standings with two weeks to play in the regular season.
With the win, Wagland moves to 20-7 on the year and 12-4 in dual matches, now tied for the team lead in SEC singles victories with five. At No. 64 in singles and No. 6 in doubles with partner Hernus Pieters, he is the highest-ranked freshman in the SEC in both polls.
IN THE RANKINGS: Following a weekend sweep of two top-15 SEC opponents on the road and winners of nine of their last 10 matches, the Georgia men's tennis team surged to a season-high No. 3 national ranking last week. Georgia was previously No. 6 and had been as high as fifth in the country in 2013. In the April 2 poll, Georgia dropped one spot to No. 4 on account of only playing one match over the weekend.
Senior KU Singh continues to lead Georgia in singles with a No. 11 ranking. Singh has a 13-7 overall record and a team-best nine wins over ranked opponents in 2012-13. Behind him, sophomore Nathan Pasha comes in at No. 53 while Ben Wagland rose to a career-high No. 64 in singles.
In doubles, Georgia's team of Wagland and junior Hernus Pieters are No. 6, while the team of Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux are No. 41. Additionally, Pasha is ranked No. 63 with Singh. Wagland remains the highest-ranked SEC freshman in both polls.
Georgia has been ranked in the ITA top-10 every week since March 29, 2011.
DIAZ MOVES UP ON WINS LIST: In the win against Mississippi State, UGA head coach Manuel Diaz passed former UK coach Dennis Emery for second place all-time on the SEC wins list with 569. He trails only Georgia legend Dan Magill, who won 706 matches in 34 seasons at the helm from 1955-88.
Diaz has been the head coach in Athens for 25 years, owning four NCAA championships, and is one of only two active men's tennis coaches with multiple titles to his name.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs conclude the 2013 regular season next weekend as they welcome Auburn and Alabama to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on March 12 and 14, respectively. The SEC Championships is set for the following week, April 18-21, in Oxford, Miss.