The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Georgia heads to SEC Championship

1041 days ago
Georgia Athletics
Photo: Georgia Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The fifth-ranked Georgia men's tennis team defeated 13th-ranked Ole Miss, 4-1, in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament Saturday afternoon here at Texas A&M's Mitchell Tennis Center.

The Bulldogs (21-3) advance to the final where they will take on the host and No. 2 seed Texas A&M Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The two teams split the SEC regular season title, and Georgia beat the Aggies 4-1 in Athens earlier this season.

Sunday's final will be shown live on the SEC Network +, which is available on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.

Saturday's match against Ole Miss was the second time in a week that Georgia had faced the Rebels. UGA closed the regular season with a 4-0 victory last Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The win on Saturday was Georgia's 50th all-time in the SEC Tournament.

Georgia won the doubles point with wins at Nos. 1 and 2 to take a 1-0 lead. At No. 1, the nation's top-ranked pair of Austin Smith and Ben Wagland defeated No. 39 Nik Scholtz and Zvonimir Babic, 6-1, then Paul Oosterbaan and Nathan Pasha clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 victory over Stefan Lindmark and Gustav Hansson. The Bulldogs led 5-4 at No. 3 when the match was halted.

In singles, Wagland gave Georgia a 2-0 lead with a 7-5, 6-2 win over William Kallberg at No. 4.

"We played a tremendous doubles point and felt very comfortable," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "But Ole Miss came out, and they are quiet and you think they aren't into it, but they are really good. Big props to Ben Wagland, who played a tremendous match. He was down a break in the first and came back quickly and reasserted himself and broke for the first set and cruised from there. He played a very good match."

Ole Miss got on the board with a 7-5, 6-4 win by No. 19 Nik Scholtz in a rematch against Austin Smith at No. 1. Last week, it was Smith who clinched the SEC title for the Bulldogs with a win against his Ole Miss counterpart.

Georgia answered at No. 2 where No. 28 Wayne Montgomery beat No. 87 Stefan Lindmark 7-6(6), 6-2 at No. 2 to make it 3-1. Lindmark entered the day on a seven match winning streak and was 8-0 this season in SEC dual matches.

"I can't say enough about Wayne," Diaz said. "He was down two breaks in the first set, but just fought like nobody's business and got himself back on track and just played even better to close out the second set. I can't tell you what a great effort that was. His opponent had not lost all year in dual match play in the SEC. He beat a really tough player today who was on a hot streak."

The clincher came from Nick Wood at No. 5, who came back to beat Zvonimir Babic, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Wood has clinched a team-high six matches this season.

Said Diaz: "We had lost the first set at both No. 3 and 6, so that's a lot of pressure on Nick, who was down a set, but he reasserted himself and came through big time for us."

Georgia will be aiming for its 10th SEC Tournament title on Sunday. The Bulldogs have won the SEC regular season title and the SEC Tournament in the same season seven times, most recently in 2013. Georgia will also be playing in the final for the 16th time.