URBANA, Ill. (School Release)--- Garrett Brasseaux saved five team match points at No. 5 singles, but Georgia still needed to win three matches in third sets and the comeback bid ultimately fell short against third-seeded and undefeated Virginia on Monday, as the Cavaliers (29-0) defeated the Bulldogs by a 4-1 score in the semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Championships at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs (26-5) end their season as SEC regular season and tournament champions, and reached the "Final Four" for the sixth time in the last eight seasons and the ninth time overall since the NCAA adopted the 64-team format in 1999. The Bulldogs today saw their 17-match winning streak come to an end.
"I saw a bunch of guys playing hard and playing together," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "It hurts to lose a really close match like this, but I couldn't be prouder of the guys. Virginia played a great match. We showed today that we are a championship team, and we're only going to get better as we don't lose any starters from the lineup. This experience will show the group how to win championships. It's been a phenomenal time for me working with this group. They play their hearts out every week. I am glad they represent our university."
After Georgia fell behind Virginia 3-1 in the team match, Brasseaux battled through five match points between his final two service games of the second set and in the second-set tiebreaker, and saved them all to win the breaker and split sets with 28th-ranked Mac Styslinger at No. 5. With that third set just getting underway, Hernus Pieters led 4-2 in the third and was serving at No. 4, and a win there would have made it 3-2 with two matches on court. But UVA's second-ranked Alex Domijan held on for the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Georgia's Nathan Pasha at line two to seal the 4-1 win before Georgia got any closer.
Earlier, the Bulldogs surrendered the doubles point as Virginia was able to take wins at Nos. 2 and 3 for the 1-0 lead.
Georgia then tied it at 1-1 in the match as freshman Ben Wagland defeated the nation's third-ranked player in Jarmere Jenkins, going 7-5, 6-3 to take it in straight sets at No. 1 singles. Virginia then added a point with a win at No. 3, where 39th-ranked Mitchell Frank posted a 6-3, 6-3 win over Austin Smith, and the lead improved to 3-1 as Julen Uriguen beat Marco Nunez 6-3, 7-5 at No. 6 before Georgia mounted the comeback.
The Bulldogs will continue play in Illinois in the individual tournaments this week as Wagland and Pasha will compete in singles, while Georgia will send two teams into doubles in No. 5-8 seeds Wagland and Pieters as well as the team of Pasha and Brasseaux. The match-ups for those tournaments will be released tomorrow.
#3 Virginia 4, #2 Georgia 1
1. #33 Ben Wagland (UG) def. #3 Jarmere Jenkins (UVA) 7-5, 6-3
2. #2 Alex Domijan (UVA) def. #47 Nathan Pasha (UG) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. #39 Mitchell Frank (UVA) def. Austin Smith (UG) 6-3, 6-3
4. Ryan Shane (UVA) vs. #115 Hernus Pieters (UG) 6-4, 5-7, 2-4, unfinished
5. #28 Mac Styslinger (UVA) vs. Garrett Brasseaux (UG) 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 0-1, unfinished
6. Julen Uriguen (UVA) def. Marco Nunez (UG) 6-3, 7-5
1. #4 Jarmere Jenkins/Mac Styslinger (UVA) vs. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UG) 4-4, unfinished
2. #21 Alex Domijan/Mitchell Frank (UVA) def. #15 Garrett Brasseaux/Nathan Pasha (UG) 8-3
3. #89 Justin Shane/Julen Uriguen (UVA) def. Eric Diaz/Marco Nunez (UG) 8-4
Georgia 26-5; National ranking #2
Virginia 29-0; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,3,6,2)