April 4, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The fourth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (17-2, 7-1) is set to close out its 2012 regular-season slate on the road, playing this weekend at Alabama and Auburn before wrapping up next weekend at Tennessee.
Georgia will take on the Crimson Tide on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET at the Alabama Tennis Stadium in Tuscaloosa before traveling to meet No. 16 Auburn on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn.
Live scoring will be available for both matches on Georgiadogs.com, while the Georgia Tennis Live Chat will be running for the Auburn match.
“We expect to meet a couple of big challenges on the road this weekend,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “The guys were very pleased with our Vanderbilt match and we feel like we’ve addressed some important issues that will only make us better after the Kentucky match. We are looking forward to seeing what our performance will be like this weekend."
LOOKING AT THE CRIMSON TIDE: Alabama enters the weekend ranked No. 71 in the team poll and at 6-12 (1-7) on the season. The squad will host Memphis Wednesday before getting back into SEC play this weekend vs. Georgia and Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide currently don’t have any players ranked in singles, though the team of Carlos Taborga and Daniil Proskura are No. 62 in the latest doubles ranking with a 13-4 record. Proskura and Vikram Reddy are leading the way with 14 wins apiece.
Georgia is 49-6 all-time vs. Alabama following a 7-0 win over the Crimson Tide last season in Athens.
Alabama is coached by Billy Pate in his 10th season at the helm.
LOOKING AT THE TIGERS: Auburn enters the weekend at 15-6, an even .500 at 4-4 in the SEC, and No. 16 in the latest ITA poll. The Tigers will take on Tennessee on Friday night before Sunday’s match vs. Georgia at home.
Auburn is led by No. 27 Andreas Mies and No. 77 Alex Stamchev in the singles rankings, while the doubles team of Stamchev and Mies is currently No. 16 and the team of Stamchev and Daniel Cochrane is No. 74.
Statistically, Stamchev (23 wins) leads the team while Mies (22) and Lucas Lopasso (20) have also reached the 20-win plateau. At 11-4, Stamchev and Cochrane boast the best doubles record for Auburn.
Georgia is 48-4 all-time vs. Auburn including last season’s 4-0 win during the regular season and 4-0 win in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championships in Athens.
AU is coached by Eric Shore in his 21st season.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bulldogs saw their eight-match winning streak halted last Friday night in Athens as Georgia fell 4-3 to Kentucky in a match that saw four rain delays and spanned five hours before ultimately finishing indoors at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts, with the Wildcats prevailing via a tiebreaker on the final court. Georgia then opened a new winning streak, downing Vanderbilt 7-0 on Senior Day on Sunday.
PASHA NAMED SEC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (AGAIN): Georgia men’s tennis rookie Nathan Pasha collected the second SEC Freshman of the Week honors of his career on March 28 after winning four more matches last week. Pasha’s week was highlighted by a victory at No. 6 singles vs. second-ranked Ohio State last Wednesday that evened the team score at 3-3 before the Bulldogs went on to post the upset over the Buckeyes in Athens.
Pasha – who was also honored by the SEC back on Feb. 22 – has already won 26 matches as a freshman, including a 15-1 dual match record, a 6-1 clip in the SEC, and two ranked wins. He has gone 11-1 at the No. 6 spot for Georgia, currently on a six-match winning streak in singles.
Against Ohio State, Pasha defeated Connor Smith in three sets, after he had teamed with Sadio Doumbia to post a doubles victory as well. He and Doumbia are currently 5-1 in doubles action. Last weekend vs. Arkansas and LSU, the Atlanta native added two more wins to help the Bulldogs to their current eight-match winning streak overall and a 6-0 start to conference play to secure the league honor.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia dropped one spot to No. 4 in the ITA poll released the afternoon of April 3, following a split weekend that saw the Bulldogs fall to No. 9 Kentucky in Athens. No new singles or doubles rankings came out this week.
Individually, Georgia has five players in the singles poll as well as five ranked doubles teams. Senior Wil Spencer continues to lead the way at No. 8 in the singles rankings, followed by Sadio Doumbia at No. 24, KU Singh at a career-high No. 32, Ignacio Taboada at No. 33, and Hernus Pieters at No. 62.
In doubles, Georgia’s team of Spencer and Garrett Brasseaux sits at No. 14 this week, followed by Doumbia and Taboada at No. 23, Pieters and Taboada at No. 34, Doumbia and Nathan Pasha at No. 59, and Doumbia and Pieters at No. 68.
RECORD WATCH: Georgia senior captain Wil Spencer sits just two singles wins shy of reaching 100 for his career - having played his first two seasons at Texas A&M and his final two at UGA. Spencer’s combined career record at the two institutions is 98-45.
Fellow senior Ignacio Taboada is also getting close to the milestone at 93-34 for his career that included two seasons at the University of Miami and two at Georgia.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs conclude the regular season next Sat., April 14 on the road in Knoxville, taking on SEC East foe Tennessee at 1 p.m. The 2012 SEC Championships is then set for April 19-22 in Starkville, Miss.