Men’s Tennis Wins SEC Championship

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Men’s Tennis Wins SEC Championship

Austin Smith
(Photo by John Kelley)
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The eighth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team beat 14th-ranked Ole Miss 4-0 to win the 2015 SEC championship Saturday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

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The Bulldogs (19-3, 11-1 SEC) have now won the SEC regular season championship 29 times, including three in a row, to go along with nine conference tournament crowns for a total of 38 combined league titles in program history. Georgia also secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament in College Station, Texas. Host Texas A&M, which shared the regular season SEC title with Georgia, will be the No. 2 seed.
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No. 34 Austin Smith clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over the Rebels’ 16th-ranked Nik Scholtz at No. 1. The junior from Cumming, Ga., leads the team with 14 dual match victories this season.
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“This is a great way to end the regular season,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “We had great play on all six singles courts. Nick (Wood) gave us the first point, Paul (Oosterbaan) the second, and this was a tremendous win for Austin at No. 1. He is really locked in and finishing the regular season on point. He is playing tremendous tennis and is so focused right now. After we lost to Mississippi State, our guys recommitted, and they see how to handle the important matches and not take anything for granted. Now we go into the SEC Tournament with a lot of momentum and the number one seed.”
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Georgia won a close doubles point to take a 1-0 advantage. Nathan Pasha and Wood defeated Grey Hamilton and William Kallberg 6-3 at No. 3, but within seconds Ole Miss (16-7, 8-4 SEC) claimed a 6-2 win at No. 2. The doubles point came down to No. 1 where the nation’s top-ranked pair of Smith and Ben Wagland ultimately prevailed 7-6(6). The Rebels rallied to take a 6-4 lead in the tiebreaker, but Georgia went on to win the final four points to go ahead 1-0.
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“Ole Miss was serving so well and it kept them in the match,” Diaz said. “Even though we got a lead in that tiebreaker, I thought our guys kept their composure and poise and continued to fight. That doubles point could have gone either way, and the match may have been a little bit different. I give credit to our No. 1 team. They played tremendous tennis.”
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Wood won the first completed singles match at No. 5, 6-1, 6-2 against Vinod Gowda, then Oosterbaan followed moments later with his 10th consecutive win, 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 6. Smith and Pasha were both on the verge of victory at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, and it was Smith who tied for the team lead with his fifth match clincher of the season to give the Bulldogs the SEC title.
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Pasha and Eric Diaz were honored prior to the match as part of Senior Day festivities. Diaz did not play on Saturday after undergoing surgery earlier in the week.
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Georgia will receive a double bye in the SEC Tournament and will play in the quarterfinals Friday in College Station. The SEC Tournament bracket will be released later this weekend.
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Tennis Match Results
Ole Miss vs Georgia
April 11, 2015 at Athens, Ga.
(Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
[su_spacer size=”40″] #8 Georgia 4, #14 Ole Miss 0
[su_spacer size=”40″]  Singles competition 
1. #34 Austin Smith (UGA) def. #16 Nik Scholtz (OM) 6-4, 6-4
2. #27 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) vs. #84 Stefan Lindmark (OM) 5-7, 3-3, unfinished
3. #25 Nathan Pasha (UGA) vs. Gustav Hansson (OM) 6-4, 6-5, unfinished
4. Ben Wagland (UGA) vs. William Kallberg (OM) 7-6 (8-6), 2-3, unfinished
5. Nick Wood (UGA) def. Vinod Gowda (OM) 6-1, 6-2
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) def. Grey Hamilton (OM) 6-2, 6-4
[su_spacer size=”40″]  Doubles competition 
1. #1 Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (UGA) def. #46 Zvonimir Babic/Nik Scholtz (OM) 7-6 (8-6)
2. Gustav Hansson/Stefan Lindmark (OM) def. Wayne Montgomery/Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) 6-2
3. Nathan Pasha/Nick Wood (UGA) def. Grey Hamilton/William Kallberg (OM) 6-3
[su_spacer size=”40″] Match Notes:
Ole Miss 16-7 (8-4); National ranking #14
Georgia 19-3 (11-1); National ranking #8
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,6,1)
Official: Clark Weaver  T-2:31  A-1,811

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