March 10, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia men's tennis team (7-5) will play its final non-conference match of the 2014 regular season on Wednesday when it hosts current No. 1 Ohio State (17-1) at 2:30 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs have won four in a row heading into the mid-week meeting, while their 20-match home winning streak dating back to May 2012 will also be on the line. The match will be played rain or shine, and admission is free.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 to start conference play after a pair of victories over Mississippi State and Ole Miss over the weekend.
LOOKING AT THE BUCKEYES: Top-ranked Ohio State - winner of last month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships - suffered its first loss of the season last Friday night, a 4-1 setback at No. 4 Oklahoma on the road in Norman, Okla. It snapped a 17-match win streak for the Buckeyes, which had been good for the best start in program history. Ohio State is now 6-1 away from Columbus in 2014.
The team is led by No. 72-ranked Hunter Callahan's 19 singles wins, while Kevin Metka enters with 18 and ninth-ranked Peter Kobelt 17. In doubles, the third-ranked team of Kobelt and Metka lead the way with a 23-5 overall record and a 9-2 mark at No. 1 in dual matches. Herkko Pollanen is also ranked in singles, currently No. 88.
Georgia is 11-4 all-time vs. the Buckeyes, suffering a 5-2 loss last season in Columbus. In 2012, the Bulldogs defeated Ohio State 4-3 in Athens.
LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia men's tennis team (7-5, 3-0) completed a weekend sweep in SEC action, posting a 4-1 win over No. 17 Mississippi State on Friday and a 4-0 win over Ole Miss on Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Georgia has now won four in a row, and remains perfect at 6-0 on the season at home.
The Bulldogs are currently led by Austin Smith's 25 singles victories, while Hernus Pieters is riding a team-leading seven-match singles winning streak. In doubles, Georgia's No. 3 team of Smith and Eric Diaz is 9-1 in dual matches, 3-0 in SEC play, and has won four in a row.
IN THE RANKINGS: The Georgia men's tennis team dropped to No. 35 in the first edition of the computerized ITA poll released two weeks ago, then shot up to No. 16 in the March 4 edition following two straight 4-0 wins over Georgia Tech and Tennessee. The Bulldogs opened the season at No. 3 and dropped one spot to No. 4 on Feb. 4.
A new edition - team and individual - is expected to be released on Tuesday - in time for the Georgia-Ohio State match.
The Bulldogs in 2014 returned the top five singles players from last year's squad that reached the NCAA semifinals. UGA finished the 2013 season ranked third after the trip to the "Final Four."
DIAZ APPROACHING ANOTHER MILESTONE: Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz - now in his 26th season at the helm - is nearing yet another career milestone. Having entered the season with 585 victories to his name, he now stands with 592 and is just eight shy of the 600-win plateau.
Diaz has the ninth-most wins in NCAA Division I men's tennis history, and is second all-time on that list among SEC coaches behind only Bulldog legend Dan Magill, who won 706 matches in 33 seasons from 1955-88.
Only eight NCAA Division I men's head coaches in history have won 600 matches in a career.
Diaz won his 500th match on March 15, 2010 against Vanderbilt, then snagged No. 550 in a 2012 dual match also against the Commodores.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs will step back into SEC play for good when they hit the road for matches at South Carolina and Florida next weekend.