Four members of the seventh-ranked and 2016 SEC Champion Georgia men’s tennis team have received Southeastern Conference honors, including two first-team All-SEC performers in Austin Smith and Wayne Montgomery, the conference office announced on Thursday.
Joining Smith and Montgomery is sophomore Paul Oosterbaan, who was named second-team All-SEC. Rookie and Atlanta native Walker Duncan was tabbed to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
“All four of these players are very deserving for what they have helped us accomplish this season.” head coach Manuel Diaz said, “I don’t know of anyone in the league who means as much to his team as Austin does for us. He leads the league in dual-match wins and has consistently proven he is one of the top players in this conference. Wayne and Paul came up big for us in so many matches, and you can’t say enough about Walker and his development during his first year with the program. I’m just really proud of each of them, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the NCAA Tournament.”
Austin Smith, Sr. – Cumming, Ga. — First Team All-SEC
Smith, who plays at both the No. 1 singles and doubles positions for the Bulldogs, boasts a league-best 19-4 record in dual-match play and leads the team with 18 ranked wins. The Cumming, Georgia, native is the SEC’s active career leader in singles wins with 127 victories over the past four years. Currently ranked 15th in singles and seventh in doubles, he has reeled off six-straight wins against ranked opponents, including a straight-set triumph against the 2016 SEC Player of the Year Diego Hidalgo in the SEC Tournament. Smith is now a three-time first-team All-SEC selection and has helped the Bulldogs claim four-straight SEC Championships.
Wayne Montgomery, So. – Somerset West, South Africa — First Team All-SEC
Montgomery, a sophomore and native of Somerset West, South Africa, was named the SEC Freshman of the Year a season ago, and has built on that strong performance this year. He is currently ranked 32nd in the nation in singles and is third in the team with 23 victories. Montgomery has consistently played at the No. 2 singles court and is second on the team with 10 wins against ranked opponents. He has played a pivotal role in several big wins by the Bulldogs, earning SEC Player of the Week honors after helping Georgia take down South Carolina and No. 4 Ohio State earlier in the year.
Paul Oosterbaan, R-So. – Kalamazoo, Michigan — Second Team All-SEC
Oosterbaan, who has won eight of his last 10 singles matches this season, has been a key player for the Bulldogs, playing No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles for the 2016 SEC Champions. He most recently jumped up from 96 to 65 in the latest ITA Singles Rankings. Oosterbaan teams with freshman Jan Zielinski in doubles, compiling 16 victories this season. In singles, Oosterbaan is third on the team with seven wins against ranked opponents and was named SEC Player of the Week on March 9 after helping the Bulldogs to a 2-0 start in league play. Among his big wins this season, he clinched the Bulldogs’ impressive victory against No. 4 Ohio State with a win over then-65th ranked Chris Diaz. He has also defeated first-team All-SEC selection Elliott Orkin twice this season, including a win in the 2016 SEC Tournament.
Walker Duncan, Fr. – Atlanta — SEC All-Freshman Team
Duncan has had an impressive first season in Athens, compiling one of the best dual-match win percentages among league freshmen, while tying for the top conference record among first-year SEC players with a 14-4 dual-match record and 10-2 mark in conference action. Duncan ranks second in the SEC in singles wins for a freshman with 29 total, dating back to the fall. He started strong this season and never looked back, building a 7-0 record to begin SEC play. Duncan has played mostly at the No. 4 singles court and has an 8-3 record at that spot.
The Bulldogs are now set to play in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, with first and second round action slated to take place on May 13-15. The NCAA Selection Show will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 3.
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