UGA clinches conference crown
Dawgs roll to 26th regular season SEC championship
ATHENS, Ga. -- Seventh-ranked Georgia won the program’s 26th regular season SEC championship Sunday with a 7-0 victory against South Carolina at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Overall it marks the 33rd conference title for Georgia including SEC Tournament championships.
Freshman Garrett Brasseaux recorded is first career clincher to give Georgia the title. The win was also the 14th consecutive for the Bulldogs (19-3, 10-0 SEC), who improved to 12-0 at home. The Gamecocks fell to 6-16, 1-9 in the SEC.
The regular season league title is the 13th for Georgia coach Manuel Diaz and the Bulldogs’ fourth in six years.
“Winning the SEC regular season title was the first goal on our list of things we wanted to achieve this year,” Diaz said. “We’ve assured ourselves of that first goal, and it’s always a very tough thing to do. You have to play a lot of great teams on the road, but our guys have gotten tougher in the difficult moments that define a competition. They’ve won a lot of close matches and deserve to be SEC champions.”
For the seventh straight match, Georgia won the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. Drake Bernstein and Wil Spencer were first off the courts with an 8-3 win over Ivan Machado and Jake Bowling. Then the 37th-ranked tandem of Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada clinched the point with an 8-5 win over Harry Menzies and Chris Sheehan at No. 2. The Bulldogs finished off the doubles sweep at No. 1 where the 11th-ranked team of Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters beat Alexander Kostanov and Chip Cox, 8-7(8).
Georgia extended its lead to 2-0 in singles as Bernstein cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cox at No. 3, then Campbell Johnson made it 3-0 with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Bowling at No. 5.
Brasseaux, playing in the second dual match of his career, followed with the clincher at No. 6 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Chris Sheehan. The Bulldogs finished out the match with wins by No. 14 Spencer, No. 37 Doumbia and Taboada at Nos. 1, 2 and 4 respectively. It was the seventh time this season the Bulldogs swept all nine matches and the 10th shutout of the season.
Spencer and Doumbia lead the team with 31 wins apiece, and for Bernstein it was his team-high 17th dual match win.
“It was a slow start for me,” Bernstein said. “I wasn’t used to playing on court three, but it was something I had looked forward to for a long time. I wasn’t used to it when I got out there, but I got my feet set and started playing well and took care of business.
“Winning the SEC championships was the first goal we set out for ourselves this year. Now that we’ve accomplished that we are looking forward to playing Tennessee and trying to win it outright.”