April 17, 2009
Courtesy of Georgia Athletics
ATHENS -- Fourth-ranked Georgia puts its 59-match home winning streak on the line against sixth-ranked Tennessee Saturday at 5 p.m at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs (20-2, 9-1 SEC) already have clinched at least a share of the SEC Eastern Division and can win it outright with a victory over the Vols (19-4, 8-2 SEC). Last year, UT ended Georgia's 40-match SEC winning streak, edging the Bulldogs 4-3 in Knoxville.
The Bulldogs are the two-time defending NCAA Champions. They won the SEC regular season from 2006-08. Third-ranked Ole Miss (20-2, 10-0 SEC) has clinched at least a share of this year's SEC crown. They finish up with lowly Miss. State (6-14, 2-8 SEC) and a win over them gives the Rebels the title outright.
The Georgia-Tennessee contest features an array of interesting matches.
Current SEC Player of the Week Nate Schnugg headlines a trio of Bulldogs in the singles rankings. He is 10th and likely will face eighth-ranked John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee who was the 2008 NCAA singles finalist. Also, the Schnugg-Jamie Hunt doubles team is ranked seventh, and they should square off against the fifth-ranked duo of Smith and Davey Sandren. Bulldog sophomore Javier Garrapiz is ranked 64th in singles while Hunt is 70th.
GEORGIA PROBABLE DOUBLES LINEUP:
Fast Fact: Georgia is 16-0 after winning the doubles point.
1: Schnugg/Hunt: Ranked 7th; 25-9 mark and 9-1 in the SEC. Won 10 of last 11 matches.
2: Bernstein/Garrapiz: 20-7 overall, 6-2 at #2 and 6-3 in the SEC.
3: Malo/Vitulli: 5-6 overall, 3-2 at #3 and 3-3 in the SEC.
BULLDOG PROBABLE SINGLES LINEUP:
Fast Fact: Won 76% of dual matches with overall mark of 90-28
1. Junior All-American Nate Schnugg: Ranked 10th; 32-11 overall and 15-4 at No. 1.
2. Sophomore Javier Garrapiz: Ranked 64th; 29-8 overall, 17-2 in dual matches, 8-2 in SEC.
3. Junior Jamie Hunt: Ranked 70th; 27-10 overall and 4-1 at #3.
4. Senior captain Josh Varela: 27-8 overall and 11-2 at #4. On a five-match winning streak.
5. Sophomore Drake Bernstein: 27-10 overall and 14-2 at #5. On a seven-match winning streak.
6. Junior Christian Vitulli: 15-13 overall and 7-4 at #6, 4-4 in SEC.
DIAZ'S DOGS GET IT DONE
The Georgia Bulldogs are led by the highly successful Manuel Diaz who is in his 21st season. Diaz's coaching record is 483-98 (.831). He is the only active tennis coach with multiple NCAA Championships.
*Four NCAA Titles (1999, 2001, 2007, 2008)
*11 NCAA Finals Appearances
*Two National Team Indoor Titles, reached the finals six times including in 2008
*12 SEC Titles and 7 SEC Tournament Titles
*Three-time ITA National Coach of the Year
*Five-time SEC Coach of the Year
*27 players have earned 59 All-America honors
Earlier this season, Diaz was named the 2008 USOC National Coach of the Year for Tennis by the USTA. It was part of the USOC's Coach Recognition Program that seeks to elevate the status of coaching as a profession and recognize the best coaches in the United States. He will be honored at this year's U.S. Open in New York.
Diaz is assisted by associate head coach Will Glenn, who is now in his fourth year back at UGA. He has been a part of four NCAA Championship teams, two as a player and two as a coach.