The Georgia men’s tennis team is ranked No. 3 in the 2014 ITA preseason rankings released Thursday.
Virginia is ranked No. 1 followed by UCLA, Georgia, USC, Ohio State, Tennessee, Duke, Baylor, Kentucky and Oklahoma to round out the top 10.
The Bulldogs return the top five singles players from last year’s squad that reached the NCAA semifinals. This marks the third straight year Georgia has been ranked in the preseason top five. UGA finished the 2013 season ranked third.
In the singles rankings, Austin Smith is No. 12, followed by Nathan Pasha at No. 21, Garrett Brasseaux at No. 47, Ben Wagland at No. 48 and Nick Wood at No. 102.
Smith — unranked in the fall — led the Bulldogs with 15 wins, including seven against ranked opponents. He reached the quarterfinals of the All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., and also made the final of the SEC Fall Classic in Nashville. Pasha notched 13 wins, including titles at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships at Georgia Tech and the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens.
In doubles, Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland are ranked 12th, while the tandem of Pasha and Pieters is No. 59.
The Bulldogs will play in the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational Jan. 17-20 in Atlanta before the dual season starts with the ITA Kickoff Jan. 25-26 in Athens.
Georgia will play host to the NCAA Championships May 15-26 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Women’s tennis grabs No. 4 spot
The Georgia women’s tennis team begins the 2014 campaign ranked No. 4 in the ITA preseason rankings.
The Bulldogs return six members of last year’s SEC Championship team, and welcome one incoming freshman in January.
In addition to the team ranking, Georgia has four singles players and two doubles pairs ranked.
Lauren Herring headlined the Georgia contingent with a No. 4 singles ranking. Herring went 10-3 this fall and advanced the singles semifinals at the Al-American Championships. Also garnering a top-10 ranking was Silvia Garcia who is ranked No. 10. Garcia’s fall campaign was highlighted by a 13-2 record and winning the ITA Southeast Regional singles championship.
Maho Kowase is ranked No. 25, while Lilly Kimbell used a stellar fall campaign to grab the No. 33 ranking. Kowase went 12-3 this fall and advanced to the singles semifinals of the ITA Southeast Regionals. Kimbell went 13-2 this fall and advanced through the pre-qualifying draw of the All-American Championships to come within just two wins of making the main draw.
In doubles, Herring and Kowase captured the No. 5 ranking after a 14-3 record throughout the fall and a national semifinals appearance at the ITA National Indoor Championships. Mia King and Lilly Kimbell also were included in the latest rankings at the No. 52 spot. The duo went 8-3 this fall.
The Georgia women’s tennis team travels to Hawaii from Jan. 15-21, before returning home to host the ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 24-26. The Bulldogs will square off with Elon on Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. and will play later in the weekend at a time contingent on the first match result.