Tennis announces 2005-06 schedule

ATHENS – The University of Georgia head men's tennis team announced its 2005-06 schedule on Wednesday. The squad will open the fall season at the Napa Valley Challenge from Sept. 9-11 in Napa Valley, Calif. The first dual meet of the season will be played Jan. 29, 2006 at 2 p.m. in Athens against Louisville.

"We're very excited for the upcoming season," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "We have a tough, full schedule and we think it is one that will challenge and prepare us to raise our game to another level as we get closer to the spring season. We are looking for each player to get in about 4-5 tournaments and get enough matches to improve themselves and be sharp for the spring."

Following the NVC, the team will head to Thomasville, Ga. for the Thomasville Collegiate Invite, Sept. 16-18. Georgia will then host the South's oldest fall tournament, the Southern Intercollegiate Championships, Sept. 23-25.

The month of October features three more tournaments for the Bulldogs. Qualifying for the All-America Champinships in Tulsa, Okla. begins Oct. 3-5, with the main draw being played from Oct. 6-9. Georgia players that do not qualify for the main draw will play in the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta, Ga. from Oct. 7-9. The Southeast Regional will follow the next weekend, Oct. 13-17, held in Memphis, Tenn.

In November, Georgia will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. for the National Indoors, Nov. 3-6. Players not participating in the National Indoors will play in the Bulldog Scramble in Athens that same weekend. The Bulldogs will then be dormant until Janurary 23, when they head to New Orleans, La., to play at the SEC Coaches' Indoor Championships. The doubles portion of last year's event was won by Antonio Ruiz and John Isner.

After the Louisville match to open the spring season, Georgia makes the short trip to Clemson, S.C. for a Feb. 3 tilt with the Tigers at 3 p.m. Upon returning to Athens, the Bulldogs will host Ohio State Feb.5 followed by Furman on Feb. 12. All of those matches will be played indoors. If invited, Georgia will then travel to Seattle, Wash. for the ITA Team Indoor tournament.

The first outdoor match of the season will come against William and Mary on Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. in Athens, followed by a Feb. 28 contest against Georgia State at 2:30 p.m.

"We have some very good teams on our non-conference schedule," said Diaz. "Ohio State and Georgia Tech will both be gunning for a top-20 ranking. Clemson is a greatly improved team as well and they are back on our schedule this year."

Southeastern Conference play begins on March 3 as Diaz's Dogs hit the road to face Arkansas in Fayetteville, followed by a March 5 match against LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

The Bulldogs then return to Athens to play six of their next seven contests at home. South Carolina comes into town on March 10 at 2:30 p.m., followed by a rematch of the 2005 SEC Tournament semifinals as Florida invades the Classic City on March 12 at 2 p.m. The annual tilt with Georgia Tech will be played at home on March 15 at 2:30 p.m.

"We are really looking forward to the Florida match," said Diaz. "We lost to them twice last year in two very close matches, one in Gainesville and one in Athens, that came right down to the last team point. We even had two match points in the one on their courts. I expect this year's match to be every bit as intense and as fun as it has been in recent years."

After a short trip to Auburn on March 24, the team will host Alabama on March 26 at 1 p.m. followed by Kentucky (March 31, 5 p.m.) and Vanderbilt (April 2, 1 p.m.). The Bulldogs close their season out with three straight road contests, beginning with Miss. State in Starkville on April 7. April 9 will see a rematch of the NCAA quarterfinals between Georgia and Ole Miss, as the Bulldogs challenge the Rebels in Oxford, Miss. Regular season play will conclude in Knoxville, Tenn. as Georgia battles Tennessee at 1 p.m.

"The Southeastern Conference is the toughest tennis conference in the nation," said Diaz. "Every match is important. We are definitely a little bit concerned with playing our last three matches on the road. We will just have to make sure we are playing that much better."

The 2006 SEC Tournament will be held in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament are played at campus sites. 2006 will mark the first year that the men's and women's NCAA Championships will be played at the same site. Stanford will be the inaugural host in Palo Alto, Calif. Georgia will host the combined championships in 2007.

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