The 11th-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team is set for the 2016 ITA National Indoor Championship, where it will face No. 9 UCLA, Friday at 12 p.m. E.T. in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Bulldogs earned the No.10 seed while the Bruins are seeded seventh. The winner of the match will face the winner of No. 15-seed Columbia and second-seeded Texas A&M on Saturday, Feb. 13 in the quarterfinals.
Georgia and UCLA have already met once this season with the Bruins taking the match, 6-1, in Westwood, California as part of the SEC/PAC 12 Challenge. The Bulldogs played without two lineup regulars in senior Nick Wood and freshman Walker Duncan due to injuries.
BULLDOG FRESHMEN SHINE: Three Georgia freshmen have seen consistent time in the Bulldog’s lineup this indoor season. The trio of Walker Duncan, Emil Reinberg and Jan Zielinski have combined for eight singles wins and played a part in nine doubles victories. Duncan is currently nursing an injury, but hopes to return to the lineup soon.
RANKINGS: Three Georgia players are ranked among the top-75 in the country according to the latest ITA Rankings released Tuesday. Wayne Montgomery is the highest-ranked Bulldog at No. 22, Austin Smith is No. 40 and Paul Oosterbaan is No. 75. In doubles Ben Wagland and Austin Smith are No. 13 and Wayne Montgomery and Emil Reinberg come in at No. 43. No team rankings were released this week.
GEORGIA DOWNS NO. 44 GEORGIA TECH: The Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech, 6-1, on Feb. 6 in front of a capacity crowd at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Courts. The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point, but the Bulldogs responded by winning six straight singles matches. No. 22 Wayne Montgomery defeated then sixth-ranked Christopher Eubanks at the No. 1 singles court to clinch the match. Senior Nick Wood picked up a 6-2, 6-0 victory in his first action of the season.
SMITH EARNS HONOR: No. 40-ranked senior Austin Smith was named SEC Player of the Week on Jan. 27 after going 2-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles as he helped Georgia punch its ticket to the ITA National Indoor Championships. The Cumming, Georgia, native clinched UGA’s 4-1 win against No. 44 Memphis with a three-set victory against the Tigers’ No. 87-ranked Andrew Watson at the top singles spot.
REVIEWING THE FALL: Georgia was led by Walker Duncan who posted 14 singles wins in the fall. Duncan was followed by Austin Smith with 10 victories, including a team-best three wins against ranked opponents. Sophomore Wayne Montgomery won his second straight Southern Intercollegiate title, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a Bulldog since John Isner in 2005-06. In doubles No. 1-ranked Austin Smith and Ben Wagland won 12 matches and earned an at-large bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships where they won the consolation title.
UP NEXT: The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday, Feb. 28, for their first outdoor match of the 2016 season hosting the Eastern Tennessee State Buccaneers at 2 p.m. at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex. UGA kicks off Southeastern Conference play with a home bout against Mississippi State following its match against ETSU.
FOLLOW THE BULLDOGS: For more information on the Georgia men’s tennis team, follow the team on Twitter (@UGATennis), Instagram (@ugatennis) and Facebook (UGA Men’s Tennis).