April 12, 2003
ATHENS, Ga. -- In its final dual match of the regular season, Tennessee's men's tennis team lost to Georgia 6-1 at UGA's McWhorter Courts. Sophomore Mark Henderson was the only Vol to record a victory on the day, as Tennessee fell to 9-11 (2-9 SEC).
"Unfortunately we didn't play our best tennis today," Tennessee associate head coach Chris Mahony said. "The team understands that the Tennessee-Georgia rivalry is an important match, and we're disappointed that we came out on the losing side today. We got off to a slow start in doubles and, unfortunately, weren't able to rebound in singles."
After losing consecutive doubles matches at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions, Tennessee carried a 1-0 deficit into singles competition. The Vols' hopes of recording their third conference win of the season were dashed when Georgia netters captured three consecutive singles victories, with No. 44-ranked Nicolas Boeker's win over No. 50-ranked Mark Dietrich serving as the clinching point.
Tennessee junior Wade Orr then suffered a back injury after taking a one-set lead in his contest at the No. 3 spot. Leading 3-2 in the second set, Orr was forced to retire.
Henderson, who had recently found himself in the depths of a four-match singles losing streak, fought his way to victory at the No. 5 position, averting a Georgia sweep. The Australian native's win over Bulldog freshman Raian Luchici marked his 14th singles victory of the season, and serves as a confidence-builder heading into the conference tournament.
Georgia's top-ranked player, No. 6 Bo Hodge, then handed No. 25-ranked Simon Rea a rare defeat at the No. 1 slot, bringing the final tally to 6-1 in favor of the Dawgs.
"We're all just going to put this match behind us now and look forward to the SEC Tournament, where we're quite capable of achieving some very good results if each and every player puts in a few good days of practice," Mahony said.
Ole Miss plays host to the 2003 SEC Tournament, which takes place April 17-20 in Oxford, Miss. The Volunteers claimed the tournament title last season in Knoxville. Seeding information and match times for this year's event will be released Monday, April 14.