The match came down to Hernus Pieters on court five.
No. 3 Georgia hosted Columbia Saturday in the ITA Kickoff Weekend, and the Lions came after the Bulldogs in a big way.
Pieters, after cruising to take the first set 6-0, was pushed to a third-set tiebreak by Bert Vancura.
And he kept the Bulldogs from possibly missing the ITA National Team Indoor championships for only the second time, winning 6-0, 4-6, 6-5(3) and providing Georgia with the clinch.
‚ÄúAs a coach during the season you want to find out what you have, and I think today it was evident,‚Äù Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said in a release. ‚ÄúAt the end with Hernus and the match on the line, all of the momentum was with the other player, and it was not looking good for us. It was not because of bad play on our part; Columbia is just a great team and better than their ranking. They were being just as tough as us and just as determined and turned a 3-0 lead into anybody‚Äôs match.‚Äù
Georgia jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Columbia got to within 3-2 after Ben Wagland and Nathan Pasha lost on courts one and three, respectively.
The first set slipped through Wagland‚Äôs hands when he lost the tiebreaker at 5-5. He pounded the wall and cast his racket aside at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility, trying to collect himself before the start of the second set. But Columbia‚Äôs Ashok Narayana went on to hand Wagland a 6-5(5), 6-3 loss.
Pasha, ranked No. 21, fought back to knot his match at one set apiece against the country‚Äôs eighth ranked player, Winston Lin. Pasha even forced a tiebreak in the third set, but Lin won the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-5(4) on a Pasha unforced error at the net. Pasha went to throw is racket in frustration, but refrained and instead shook Lin‚Äôs hand before darting in the locker room.
Georgia won the doubles point to go ahead 1-0. At No. 3, Eric Diaz and Austin Smith defeated Eric Rubin and Vancura, 6-3, then at No. 2, Garrett Brasseaux and Pasha edged Mike Vermeer and Lin, 6-5(3).
‚ÄúWe found out that we have a great group of guys that when the situation gets tough, they are going to respond and be tough to beat,‚Äù Diaz said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs important for us to get some rest and come back tomorrow with that same energy.‚Äù
Georgia (1-0) faces Stanford at 5 p.m. Sunday to a chance to advance to the National Team Indoor championships from Feb. 14-17 in Houston.
No. 3 Georgia 4, No. 43 Columbia 2
1. No. 8 Winston Lin (COL) def. No. 21 Nathan Pasha (UGA), 6-4, 3-6, 6-5(4)
2. No. 12 Austin Smith (UGA) def. Dragos Ignat (COL), 6-3, 6-3
3. No. 125 Ashok Narayana (COL) def. No. 48 Ben Wagland (UGA), 6-5(5), 6-3
4. No. 47 Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) def. Max Schnur (COL), 6-2, 6-1
5. Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Bert Vancura (COL), 6-0, 4-6, 6-5(3)
6. No. 102 Nick Wood (UGA) vs. Mike Vermeer (COL), 4-6, 6-5(5), 3-2, susp.
1. No. 12 Ben Wagland/Hernus Pieters (UGA) vs. No. 14 Max Schnur/Ashok Narayana (COL), 3-5, susp.
2. Garrett Brasseaux/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Mike Vermeer/Winston Lin (COL), 6-5(3)
3. Eric Diaz/Austin Smith (UGA) def. Eric Rubin/Bert Vancura (COL), 6-3
Order of finish