May 14, 2014
Nathan Pasha a junior from Atlanta on the men's tennis team. He will be writing a blog exclusively for Georgiadogs.com throughout the 2014 season.
Hi Bulldog Nation! I wanted to check in one more time before we begin our journey in the NCAA round of 16 and (hopefully) beyond this week in Athens!
Unfortunately, I was unable to compete with the exception of one doubles match in NCAA regionals because of a knee injury, but we were able to advance to the round of 16 regardless. We have dealt with adversity as a team in spurts throughout the spring, so my absence in the first two round of NCAAs wasn't a huge deal to anyone on the team. My teammates have done what they have been doing all year when adversity strikes, which is to step up and embrace a bigger role when called upon. My injury caused for everyone on the team besides Austin Smith to slide up one spot in the lineup and face tougher opponents than they may have otherwise.
Our first and second round matches against Jacksonville State and NC State were challenges, for sure. We had a quick doubles point against Jacksonville State, winning at lines 2 and 3 with scores of 8-2 and 8-3. After doubles, we raced to three quick singles wins. Garrett Brasseaux was first off the court at line 2 with a 6-0,6-0 win (our first match by this score all season!). Austin Smith gave us our second point at line 1 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory, and Nick Wood clinched the match winning 6-1, 6-1.
Our match against NC State was intense, and most of the guys on the team really benefited in this dual match by moving a spot higher in the line up and facing stiffer competition. My injury also forced Austin Smith and Eric Diaz to move from 3 doubles to 2 doubles, and Nick and Garrett to team up for the first time ever at 3 doubles. Our doubles point came from wins at 1 and 3 doubles. Ben and Hernus won at line 1, 8-5. They continue to play at a very high level, and I honestly always feel like they will win every match they play, which is a great feeling! They are one of the most exciting doubles teams in college to watch. If you are coming to watch us play on Friday and love exciting doubles, I highly recommend you sit behind their court! Nick and Garrett won 8-2. For their first time playing together, they played awfully well. Nick and Garrett are a very good returning doubles team, which explains why they broke their opponents multiple times and won the way they did.
Everyone had challenging matches in singles against the Wolfpack. Half of the singles matches went to 3 sets, and the other half were close, competitive two setters. Ben Wagland gave us a 2-0 lead on line 3 with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Ben's match was highly challenging despite the score. Ben only won by 1 break of serve in each set. Garrett Brasseaux gave us a 3-0 lead with at line 2 with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win. Garrett's second set was highly competitive. His opponent raised his game and forced Garrett to take the match. Austin clinched at 1 with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win. Austin wasn't satisfied with his level of play. He told me after the match that he didn't play very well, but he figured out a way to win. Great players don't always play well, but they find ways to win, and Austin did exactly that to give our team the win!
Watching from the sidelines wasn't easy for me last weekend, but I am very happy for my teammates that benefited from playing better competition, which will prepare them for what is to come. I think that it will help them play at a higher level when we face UNC on Friday. We hope to see all of our fans at the match!! Your support truly makes our NCAA a memorable, unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives!
Pasha and the Bulldogs continue tournament play this Friday, May 16, at 4 PM vs. UNC.