ATHENS, Ga. — No. 6 Georgia advanced to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championships with a 4-0 victory against No. 23 Auburn Saturday. Georgia has now won 21 of its last 23 NCAA Tournament matches dating back to 2007, and this marks the Bulldogs’ eighth consecutive trip to the third round.
“This was obviously a big goal for our guys,” Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. “It was among the top three goals to accomplish, and it was a big win. Our guys are excited, and we are looking forward to going to Stanford, and trying to continue to improve as a team. Hopefully we can make a big splash over there. We were sharp yesterday, but I think we played a little better today. Auburn is a great team, they really challenged us everywhere, and we did a good job handling that.”
Georgia (22-5) won the doubles points to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldog tandem of Wil Spencer and Drake Bernstein easily handled Lucas Lopasso and Rafael Rondino, 8-1, to give Georgia the upper hand. Then with two close matches at Nos. 1 and 2, it was the 88th-ranked team of Ignacio Taboada and Sadio Doumbia that clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win at No. 2 over Andreas Mies and Alex Stamchev.
In singles, Hernus Pieters won Georgia’s first match for the second straight day, 6-2, 6-1 over Michael Wardell at No. 6 to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Then Bernstein won his final match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Daniel Cochrane to extend the Georgia lead to 3-0. The clincher was provided by Ignacio Taboada, who beat Rafael Rondino, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5. Georgia also won the first sets in the suspended matches at Nos. 2 and 3.
“We are really excited to punch our ticket to Stanford,” Bernstein. “We’ve done it all four years since I’ve been here, and now it’s eight years in a row, so we are pretty excited. It’s a big win, but we know we have a lot more to do if we want to accomplish our goals.”