The No. 11 UGA men’s tennis team finished their 2017 regular season with a 5-2 loss to No. 10 Texas A&M on Saturday at the at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
With Saturday’s outcome, Georgia and Texas A&M finish with identical 11-1 Southeastern Conference records and are SEC co-champions. The Bulldogs, who finish the regular season 15-7 overall (six of those losses to top-10 teams), saw their streak of 26-straight SEC regular season wins come to an end.
This year’s title is the program’s fifth-straight SEC Championship and 40th overall (31 regular season and nine conference tournament titles). Georgia will be the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament, which runs from April 26-30 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“We are obviously disappointed in the outcome today, but I am still proud of how this team has matured all season long,” head coach Manuel Diaz. “We played some really tough teams this season and ran into a really good Texas A&M squad today. Now, we just need to rest up and get ready for postseason play, which begins with the SEC Tournament.”
Texas A&M stormed out to an early lead at the first and second doubles courts. The top Aggie duo of A.J. Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech took a commanding 4-1 lead over the second-ranked pair of Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski at No. 1, while Jordi Arconada and Hardy Habib took a 4-2 advantage over Paul Oosterbaan and Nathan Ponwith.
Neither Bulldog tandem could recover as Loeb/Zielinski fell, 6-3, at the first court and Oosterbaan/Ponwith dropped a 6-2 contest. Georgia’s pair of Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan looked impressive with a 6-3 victory, but still, Texas A&M led 1-0 going into singles play.
The loss broke a string of five-straight wins for the Bulldogs in doubles and marked Oosterbaan’s first action since Feb. 17. The Georgia redshirt junior has been battling an injury since the fall.
Texas A&M won first sets at four of the six singles courts and then took wins at the first, fourth and sixth positions to clinch the match.
Valentin Vacherot put his team up 2-0 as he defeated Zielinski, 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 4 court. Loeb then dropped a 6-4, 6-4 contest at the sixth spot, before Ponwith’s comeback fell short at No. 1. The five-time SEC Freshman of the Week rebounded from a 6-0, 5-0 deficit to win four-straight games, before eighth-ranked Rinderknech hung on for a 6-0, 6-4 win to clinch the match.
The two teams decided to play the remaining matches out and Emil Reinberg put the score at 4-1 with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory at the No. 3 position.
Montgomery then fell to Arconada, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, before Duncan clawed back for a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6) win to put the final score at 5-2.
TENNIS MATCH RESULTS
Georgia vs Texas A&M
April 15, 2017 at College Station, Texas
(George P Mitchell Tennis Center)
#10 Texas A&M defeats #11 Georgia 5-2
1. #8 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #60 Nathan Ponwith (UGA) 6-0, 6-4
2. Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. Wayne Montgomery (UGA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
4. Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Jan Zielinski (UGA) 6-3, 6-0
5. Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Hady Habib (TAMU) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Aleksandre Bakshi (TAMU) def. Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
1. #39 AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #2 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-3
2. Jordi Arconada/Hady Habib (TAMU) def. Paul Oosterbaan/Nathan Ponwith (UGA) 6-2
3. Wayne Montgomery/Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Aleksandre Bakshi/Max Lunkin (TAMU) 6-3
Georgia 15-7, 11-1; National ranking #11
Texas A&M 18-5, 11-1; National ranking #10
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,6,1,3,2,5)
Time: 2:55 Attendance: 477