by Tyler Peck, sports
information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The No. 6 Georgia College & State University men's tennis team (14-2, 7-0 PBC) has clinched the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) regular season title for the first time in program history. The title gives head coach Steve Barsby and the Bobcats the No. 1 seed going into the PBC Championships this weekend April 17-19 in Jonesboro, Ga., hosted by Clayton State University.
Georgia College had an outstanding conference season going undefeated which included upending last year's national champions, Armstrong Atlantic State University. Armstrong Atlantic entered Feb. 24, 2009 as the No. 1 team in the country, but the Bobcats were able to take them down 5-4 when Max Beliankou (Minsk, Belarus) defeated Tim Johannsen in a grueling match that went three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. The victory also ended Armstrong's 38-match win streak and gave the Pirates their first regular season PBC loss since 2005.
The Bobcats moved as high as No. 4 in the country and held that spot for a week before dropping two spots to their current No. 6 ranking. Georgia College sits in a two-way tie for first place in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Region Poll with PBC rival, Armstrong Atlantic.
The squad has a trio of seniors ranked nationally and regionally in singles with one doubles team ranked in the region.
Erick Siqueira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was slotted at No. 8 in the country. Fellow teammate and doubles partner, Justin Pickham (Armidale, Australia) was notched at No. 15 and Francis Yoshimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was ranked No. 24 in the nation.
In the Southeast Regional ranking, Siqueira ranks fourth. Pickham is ranked at No. 6 and Yoshimoto is at the No. 12 slot.
The duo of Pickham and Siqueira sits atop the doubles list at No. 1 in the region. The duo is 13-1 on the year and have not lost a match since falling to Valdosta State University 8-5 who was No. 3 in the country at the time.
The PBC regular season title is the first in program history, and the first conference title in men's tennis in 20 years, as the NAIA era then-Colonials were Georgia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champions in 1989.
With the No. 1 seed, the Bobcats will face the winner of the No. 8 and No. 9 matchup on Saturday, April 18 at 11:30 a.m.
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