ITA Kickoff: Georgia Opens Dual Match Season Friday

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ITA Kickoff: Georgia Opens Dual Match Season Friday


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The eighth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team will open the 2015 dual match season at home as the No. 1 seed against fourth-seeded Michigan State in the ITA Kickoff Friday at 1 p.m. ET at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. The first match of the day features No. 2 seed Elon and No. 3 Utah at 9 a.m. The winners will play Sunday at 1 p.m. for a berth in the National Indoor Championships, while the consolation match is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m.


[break] [break] ABOUT THE ITA KICKOFF: A total of 60 teams are competing for a place in the National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago Feb. 13-16. Host Illinois receives an automatic bid, leaving 15 spots available for each regional winner to complete the competitive 16-team field. Hosts were decided based on final 2014 rankings. The Bulldogs have won the National Team Indoors twice (2006, ‘07) and have reached the finals six times (1982, ‘94, ‘95, ‘97, ‘98, and 2009). The tournament began in 1973 and Georgia has played in it every year except 2003. A year ago, the Bulldogs posted ITA Kickoff victories over Columbia and Stanford to reach the final site in Houston.
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WINNING STREAK: Georgia is currently riding a 24-match regular season home court winning streak. The streak started on April 1, 2012 with a 7-0 victory over Vanderbilt, which was the final home match of the regular season. The Bulldogs were 12-0 at home in the regular season in 2013 and 11-0 in 2014.
[break] [break] RANKINGS: The Georgia men’s tennis team remained at No. 8 in this week’s edition of the ITA Rankings. That is where Georgia opened in the preseason poll. In the singles rankings, Austin Smith is No. 11, Nathan Pasha is 15, Wayne Montgomery is 32 and Nick Wood is No. 101. Three of the Bulldogs’ doubles teams are ranked: Paul Oosterbaan and Ben Wagland are ranked 16th, Eric Diaz and Smith are 34th, while Montgomery and Pasha are 53rd.
[break] [break] REVIEWING THE FALL: Georgia players won three tournaments in the fall, including two by freshman Wayne Montgomery, who led the team with 18 victories. Montgomery won the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens and the Cajun Classic in Lafayette, La., while Austin Smith was the winner of the Southeast Regional Championships held at UGA. Smith and Nathan Pasha, who was a quarterfinalist at the All-American Championships, each won singles matches at the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. Eric Diaz registered 11 wins, Nick Wood had 10, and Montgomery led the team with six victories against ranked opponents.
[break] [break] UP NEXT: Georgia will play host to the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown for the first time Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 as top-ranked USC, No. 4 UCLA and No. 13 Florida will visit the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The two-day event was held at USC last year.
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ITA KICKOFF SCHEDULE – LINDSEY HOPKINS INDOOR FACILITY
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Friday – January 23
9 a.m. – Men’s Match: Elon vs. Utah
1 p.m. – Men’s Match: Georgia vs. Michigan StateSaturday – January 24
9 a.m. – Women’s Match: Auburn vs. Wake Forest
1 p.m. – Women’s Match: Georgia vs. Samford
5 p.m. – Men’s Match: Consolation
[break] Sunday – January 25
9 a.m. -Women’s Match ­: Consolation
1 p.m. – Men’s Match: Championship
5 p.m. – Women’s Match: Championship

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Greg is closing in on 10 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.