Weekly Release: Men Tennis still strong

Three members of the 2001 national championship squad are looking forward to getting back on the Georgia courts and prepare for a run at another national title after a successful circuit tour during the fall.

Wagner exits National Indoors in the quarterfinals; Fall season concludes Georgia's Brandon Wagner split a pair of matches on Friday at the 2001 Omni Hotels National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships hosted by Southern Methodist at the Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch. Wagner fell to Baylor1s Benjamin Becker 7-6 (6), 6-3, in the quarterfinals.

Wagner topped Ohio State1s Phil Metz in three sets (4-6, 6-2, 6-2) in the Round of 16 match Friday morning to advance to the quaterfinals. Becker reached the quarterfinals by upsetting the No. 2 seed Michael Kogan of Tulane.

Both men battled point-for-point in the first set of the quarterfinal match, and Becker rallied to win the first set 8-6 in the tiebreak. Becker took that momentum into the second set to pick up the 7-6 (6), 6-3, win over Wagner.

The loss snapped a 10-match win streak that included a first-round victory against Will Clinton of Texas (6-2, 6-3).

This event, which is the final event of the collegiate fall season, is the nation's premier collegiate indoor tennis tournament and is the second of three national championship events for college tennis this season. The first events - the Riviera Women's and ITA Men's All-American Championships - were held last month, and the third event is season-ending NCAA Championships in May.

Three Bulldogs return to Athens ready for promising spring season After such a special season for the Georgia men1s tennis team, three members of the 2001 national championship squad are looking forward to getting back on the Georgia courts and prepare for a run at another national title after a successful circuit tour during the fall.

This fall three Bulldogs Ð Matias Boeker, Bo Hodge and Lesley Joseph Ð did not participate in the collegiate fall tournaments but rather toured the country and beyond, playing a variety of events on the professional tour playing as amateurs. This marked the first time under head coach Manuel Diaz current student-athletes had participated on the fall circuit.

In many cases when an underclassman wins the NCAA singles championship, the player will make the jump to the professional ranks. Boeker, who won the NCAA singles and doubles titles last fall, has made the commitment to return to Georgia and help the Bulldogs defend their national championship. The chances of Georgia repeating as champion in 2002 are bolstered with the return of Boeker, Hodge and Lesley.

3I am very excited these boys have had the opportunity to gain some valuable experience this fall," said Diaz. "I am most excited that they have decided to return to Georgia to continue their studies and compete for our squad and help us win another national championship. They are working very hard and have high aspirations, as they should, being among the elite collegiate players in the country."

The men's tennis team had the highest GPA (3.19) of any athletic team at the University last yeat and the student-athletes have kept close ties while away from campus. Each of the three players are on schedule academically and Joseph is fulfilling independent study obligations this fall. Both Boeker and Joseph were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll last season. Hodge was not eligible due to the fact he was a freshman.


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