Dawgs win 2008 NCAA Tennis Title

TULSA, OK - Bulldogs become first team to repeat in 11 years.

TULSA, Okla. – The University of Georgia men's tennis team won its second consecutive NCAA Championship with a 4-2 win over Texas in the finals Tuesday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. Georgia becomes the first team to repeat as NCAA champions since Stanford accomplished that feat in 1997-98. The championship marks the sixth in program history.

The match was clinched by 4th-ranked senior co-captain Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.), who came from behind to defeat 10th-ranked Dimitar Kutrovsky at the top of the lineup, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Facing a 2-0 deficit after losing the doubles point and the No. 6 singles match, the Bulldogs pulled one back with a win at the second position to cut the Texas edge to 2-1. It was 17th-ranked sophomore Nate Schnugg (Medford, Ore.) who got the Bulldogs on the board as he defeated 41st-ranked Kellen Damico in the second position, 6-4, 6-2. 38th-ranked sophomore Jamie Hunt (San Antonio, Texas) then evened up the match with a victory from the fourth position, beating Luis Diaz Barriga, 6-1, 6-4.

With the match tied at 2-2 and the three remaining singles matches all in third sets, it was 59th-ranked senior co-captain Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) who topped 47th-ranked Luis Diaz Barriga by a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 score to give Georgia a 3-2 advantage and set Helgeson up for the clinch.

Approximately three minutes later, Helgeson used the last team match of his collegiate career to deliver the clinching win and send the Bulldogs into the winners' circle.

The 2008 NCAA Championship title is the first of Georgia's six championships to be won outside of Athens. The Bulldogs won four of the last 10 NCAA Championships, capturing the crown in 1999, 2001, '07 and '08, and also reached the finals two other times, in 2002 and 2006.

Three Georgia players were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team. The All-Tournament selection at the No. 2 position was Schnugg, Flores was picked at the third position and Hunt received the honor in the fourth position. Schnugg was also named the 2008 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Flores (7-0), Schnugg (9-0) and Hunt (4-0) are all undefeated for their careers in NCAA Tournament play. Hunt's win extended his winning streak to 18 matches, as he has gone unbeaten in the last 22 (18 wins, four suspended matches).

Only seven teams in the history of the NCAA's current team format, established in 1977, have won the title. Georgia holds the second-most victories with six, trailing Stanford's 15. The other winners are: UCLA (4), USC (4), and Baylor, Illinois and Pepperdine (1 each).

Diaz has been part of all six national championships. He has won four as the head coach (1999, '01, '07 and '08) and was an assistant coach under Dan Magill when the team won in 1985 and '87.

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