May 30, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The University of Georgia men's tennis team played the postseason without a senior in the lineup and surprised the nation, advancing to the "Final Four" for the sixth time in eight seasons with three freshmen, a sophomore, and two juniors playing singles.
The Bulldogs wrapped up an eventful 2012-13 season with an overall record of 26-5 and a place in the national semifinals, ending the year ranked No. 3 in the ITA poll. Despite a young team and the loss of one lineup regular due to injury and another leaving the team unexpectedly prior to the tournament, head coach Manuel Diaz celebrated his 25th season at the helm by getting the best out of his players and making more highlights:
- Diaz coached his 700th college match at UGA, now with a career record of 585-122 (.827); the Bulldogs' win at Mississippi State on March 10 moved Diaz into second place all-time on the SEC wins list, moving past UK's Dennis Emery and now trailing only Georgia legend Dan Magill
- The Bulldogs won 20 matches in a season for the 10th year in a row
- Georgia swept the SEC regular-season and tournament titles, securing their league-leading 35th and 36th overall championships
- The team moved out of the NCAA first and second round "regionals" for the 10th straight time with home wins over Binghamton and Northwestern to reach the final site
- Georgia posted two wins in Urbana, Ill., over Oklahoma and Pepperdine to reach the semifinal - where the squad lost a deceptively close 4-1 match to the eventual champion Virginia
- The team posted a 17-match winning streak over the course of the season, the longest for the program since the 2007 national championship team went undefeated at 32-0
- Georgia's doubles team of freshman Ben Wagland and junior Hernus Pieters advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships; by entering as a No. 5-8 seed, the duo secured All-America honors; Georgia's doubles team of Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux joined them in the doubles tournament, while Pasha and Wagland also played in singles
- Junior Garrett Brasseaux was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team at the No. 5 singles line
- Wagland and sophomore Nathan Pasha earned first team All-SEC honors
- Back in the fall, the team of Pieters and Wagland reached the final of the ITA National Indoor Championships - the prestigious event at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York. The duo punched their ticket by winning the consolation draw of the ITA All-American Championships earlier in the fall in Tulsa, Okla.
Georgia brings back six regular starters
After all it accomplished in 2012-13, Georgia's men's tennis team will bring back six regular starters between singles and doubles in 2013-14. Bulldog freshmen posted a combined 79 singles wins this season, in addition to 15 of 25 match clinches.
Championships coming back to Athens
The University of Georgia will host the 2014 NCAA Men's & Women's Tennis Championships, according to an announcement from the NCAA in November 2012. The Dan Magill Tennis Complex has hosted the men's tournament 24 times and the women's event three times, in addition to three combined tournaments for a total of 30, most recently in both 2010 and 2012. The event has been combined since 2006. The Georgia men's tennis team has won six NCAA titles on the men's side - five of which came while playing in Athens. The women claimed the national title in 1994 and 2000 - the former coming at home. The NCAA has recognized a national champion in men's tennis every year since 1946. It has done so in tournament format since 1977. The first women's championship was held in 1982. The tournaments have undergone some changes since their inceptions, including moving from a 16-team field to the current 64-team field in 1999. The first two rounds are held at on-campus sites, followed by the Round of 16 and beyond at the designated NCAA Championship site.