Georgia Tennis Plays for SEC Championship This Week After a Weekend Split


The Georgia tennis team lost to Mississippi State on Friday and defeated Alabama on Sunday to stay in control of its SEC fate.

Mississippi State joined Southern Cal as one of only two teams to defeat the Georgia men’s tennis team this season. The Starkvegas Dawg’s ended Georgia’s winning streak Friday 4-2 in Starkville. Georgia, ranked sixth nationally, previously won 10 consecutive matches and had been undefeated in SEC play and outdoor play.

“Mississippi State earned the win,” said head coach Manuel Diaz to “We didn’t play our best, and Mississippi State had a lot to do with that. We had some opportunities in doubles that we didn’t take advantage of. They played very well in singles, and our guys fought hard but that wasn’t enough today. All the credit goes to Mississippi State.”

Georgia is now 16-3 overall and 8-1 in SEC play with three regular season conference matches remaining.

MSU (16-5, 7-2 SEC) won the doubles point with wins on courts one and two to take a 1-0 lead. The number one ranked Georgia doubles team of Austin Smith and Ben Wagland lost for the second time this season 6-4 to fourteenth ranked Julian Cash and Florian Lakat.

On Sunday, Georgia (17-3, 9-1 SEC) bounced back to win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Georgia now controls its fate entering the final week of the regular season and can win at least a share of the SEC title and claim the top seed in the SEC Tournament with a pair of wins week.

“Our guys fought very hard and really showed a lot of fight and tenacity,” said head coach Manuel Diaz to “Alabama found a way to win the doubles point, and that was very discouraging for our guys because we played well enough to win it. But it makes it even more impressive with the way we came back fighting. We showed a lot of tenacity.”

Alabama (15-15, 3-8 SEC) took an early 1-0 lead by winning doubles matches at number two and three. Georgia won four consecutive singles matches to clinch the win.

Said Diaz: “I was very impressed with Austin [Smith at number one] and Paul [Oosterbaan at number 3], giving us our first team points. Austin won a quick match, and he was followed not much later by Paul, then Ben [Wagland at number 4] won his match. Wayne [Montgomery at number 2] showed tremendous maturity. His opponent won the first set and was playing well, and Wayne made some unforced errors, but he just refuses to lose, and that is a great quality about him. He finds a way. He showed great maturity out there today.”

Montgomery claimed his first clincher since the 4-2 win over now third ranked Illinois in the National Indoor Championships. Oosterbaan stretched his winning streak to eight matches, and Wagland has won five in a row.

Match Details

#26 Mississippi State 4, #6 Georgia 2

Doubles (Order of finish: 2,1)
1. #14 Julian Cash/Florian Lakat (MSU) def. #1 Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (UGA) 6-4
2. Mate Cutura/Tassilo Schmid (MSU) def. Eric Diaz/Nathan Pasha (UGA) 6-4
3. Wayne Montgomery/Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) vs. Juan Cruz Estevarena/Robin Haden (MSU) 5-5, unfinished.

Singles (Order of finish: 5,2,3,4,1)
1. #108 Florian Lakat (MSU) def. #31 Austin Smith (UGA), 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
2. #28 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Juan Cruz Estevarena (MSU), 7-6(4), 6-2
3. Mate Cutura (MSU) def. #18 Nathan Pasha (UGA), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
4. Ben Wagland (UGA) def. #122 Tassilo Schmid (MSU), 6-3, 7-6(4)
5. Rishab Agarwal (MSU) def. Nick Wood (UGA), 6-2, 6-2
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) vs. Julian Cash (MSU), 2-6, 6-4, 5-2, unfinished.

#6 Georgia 4, #71 Alabama 1

1. #31 Austin Smith (UGA) def. #88 Korey Lovett (UA) 6-1, 6-2
2. #28 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. B. O’Shaughnessey (UA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
3. Nikko Madregallejo (UA) vs. #18 Nathan Pasha (UGA) 5-7, 6-6 (7-7), unfinishedinished
4. Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Stuart Kenyon (UA) 6-3, 6-1
5. Danny Kerznerman (UA) vs. Nick Wood (UGA) 6-4, 4-5, unfinishedinished
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) def. Sam Edwards (UA) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles 1. #1 Ben Wagland/Austin Smith (UGA) def. #29 Korey Lovett/B. O’Shaughnessey (UA) 6-3
2. Sean Donohue/Stuart Kenyon (UA) def. Nathan Pasha/Eric Diaz (UGA) 6-4
3. Sam Edwards/Andrew Goodwin (UA) def. Wayne Montgomery/Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) 7-6 (9-7)

Match Notes: Georgia 17-3, 9-1 SEC; National ranking #6
Alabama 15-15, 3-8 SEC; National ranking #71
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,6,4,2)
T-2:51 A-117