With a 4-3 victory over No. 20 South Carolina on Sunday, the University of Georgia men’s tennis program has clinched at least a share of the SEC Championship in five-straight seasons.
No. 13 Georgia (15-6, 11-0 SEC) joins the 1971-75 Bulldogs as the only group to win five consecutive SEC crowns. Head coach Manuel Diaz was a member of four of those squads, lettering from 1972-75.
Georgia’s conference supremacy now includes 40 combined SEC regular season (31) and tournament championships (9). Under Diaz, the Bulldogs have won 27 combined (18 regular season and nine tournament) in his 29 seasons as head coach.
“All the credit goes to the players and what they’re willing to buy into and what they’re willing to work for,” Diaz said. “It’s great to see our freshmen fitting into the culture of the program. Our veteran players know what needs to be done, and they’ve come a long way. We have a big match against Texas A&M on Saturday, and we have to get plenty of rest and get ready to play.”
In doubles, Georgia’s third-ranked pair of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb dropped the first match 6-3, but the Bulldogs evened the score with a 6-2 score on court No. 2 from the No. 53rd-ranked tandem of Emil Reinberg and Nathan Ponwith.
On court three, Georgia’s duo of Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan broke South Carolina’s serve at 5-5 to take the lead 6-5, and then hung on for a 7-5 win to put the Bulldogs up, 1-0.
Georgia cruised into singles, led by Loeb on court six, whose 6-2, 6-1 win marked his fourth straight singles win. At the second position, No. 25 Montgomery fell to No. 47 Gabriel Friedrich 2-6, 1-6, but Duncan swiftly lifted the Bulldogs to a 3-1 lead with his ninth consecutive singles victory, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 5.
To clinch his sixth match of the season, four-time SEC Freshman of the Week Ponwith overtook No. 69 Harrison O’Keefe 6-3, 6-4 on court one to record his fifth win against a ranked opponent.
Reinberg and Zielinski completed their matches, falling in three sets in each one to put the final score at 4-3 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
CLICK HERE for the final stats from Georgia’s tennis match with South Carolina.
Georgia now travels to Texas A&M this Saturday for a chance to win the SEC Championship outright.