For the second consecutive weekend, the No. 13 Mississippi State men's tennis squad (12-4, 2-2 SEC) will welcome some of the best the Southeastern Conference has to offer to the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. State will host the No. 23 Vanderbilt Commodores (11-4, 2-1 SEC) Friday at 2 p.m. CT, and the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats (14-4, 2-1 SEC) Sunday at 1 p.m.
This is the second weekend of a four-match homestand. MSU dropped tough matches to No. 10 Tennessee and No. 7 Georgia last weekend at the Pitts Tennis Centre.
Leading the way for State is one of the nation's top freshmen in Romain Bogaerts, ranked 18th in the nation in the latest ITA poll, his highest career ranking. The freshman from Huppaye, Belgium, is 11-3 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. Bogaerts became the first freshman in MSU history to win SEC Player of the Week honors this season, as he's captured the award twice so far.
Also at the top of the Bulldog lineup is junior Malte Stropp, who has also received the honor of SEC Player of the Week this season. Stropp sports an 11-2 record, while going 1-1 in SEC play. The Dusseldorf, Germany, native has recorded nine of his victories at the No. 2 spot, while also holding a 2-0 record at the Bulldogs' top spot.
The middle of State's lineup features a pair of England natives in freshman Jordan Angus and senior James Chaudry. Angus is 12-2 on the year and 1-2 in conference play, while recording two ranked victories this spring. Chaudry is 7-5 for the dual match season, with a 4-2 record on MSU's home court.
Rounding out the Maroon and White lineup has been a trio of players, including junior Zach White and freshmen Stefan Vinti and Pedro Dumont. White is 5-3 for the spring, while going 3-1 in conference play. Vinti is 4-8 in dual match play, with those victories coming at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots. Dumont is 7-4 and 2-1 in SEC play, while going 6-2 at the No. 6 position. Dumont is also 8-0 for the 2012-13 season in matches that go three sets, with five of those victories coming in the spring.
In doubles, State sports the 14th-ranked duo in Angus and Stropp, who have defeated four ranked squads this spring, including the country's top-ranked duo from Auburn. Following behind is the pair of White and senior Ethan Wilkinson, who are 5-6 for the spring and 1-1 in the SEC. The freshmen tandem of Bogaerts and Dumont complete the MSU lineup, going 6-3 for the dual match season.
Vanderbilt comes in Friday having won six of its last seven matches, most recently falling 5-2 at No. 14 Texas A&M. The Commodores have two ranked singles players in Ryan Lipman (19th) and Gonzales Austin (54th).
Kentucky will visit Starkville after they take on No. 9 Ole Miss Friday in Oxford, Miss. The Wildcats have dropped their last two matches against No. 38 Baylor and NO. 14 Texas A&M before entering this weekend. UK brings two ranked singles players in Anthony Rossi at 31st and Tom Jomby at 32nd and the No. 23 doubles team of Jomby and Kevin Lai.
Following this weekend's home matches, the Bulldogs will hit the road once again in SEC play. State will battle No. 46 Arkansas in Fayetteville Friday, March 22, at 1 p.m., and No. 68 LSU in Baton Rouge Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m.
For more information on Mississippi State men's tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt).
Coming off a dominating performance at the Tiger Invitational, Mississippi State heads south for the Florida State-hosted Seminole Intercollegiate held on March 15-17.
The 54-hole, three-day event from Tallahassee will feature 11 teams, seven of which qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Bulldogs will face off against three top 50 ranked squads at the Seminole Intercollegiate.
"We were excited about winning at Auburn, but we all know that we start from scratch on Friday morning," Coach Clay Homan said. "We have to put together a good game plan for this particular golf course and go execute it. Several of our players have played in this tournament in the past, so we are familiar with the course; which never hurts."
The No. 40 ranked Bulldogs will be the lone SEC squad to travel to the par-72, 7,172-yard Southwood Golf Club. After defeating five ranked teams in Opelika, Ala., MSU will look for the dominance to carry over to the Florida State-hosted tournament.
After his 3-under-par win at Grand National, SEC Player of the Week and junior Bulldog Chad Ramey will gun for his fifth top-five finish of the year. Ramey has finished with at least a top-10 performance five out of his last seven tournaments. Ramey is 468-99-18 on the year.
Fellow juniors Joe Sakulpolphaisan and Axel Boasson both posted a top-15 performance from the Tiger Invitational on Tuesday. Sakulpolphaisan has a team leading seven top-25 finishes on the year after his 8-over-par, 224 14th-place performance. Boasson turned in a 7-over-par, 223 to finish with a 10th-place tie, to give him his second top ten of the season.
Rounding out the Maroon and White lineup from Tallahassee will be senior Robi Calvesbert and sophomore Fletcher Johnson. Calvesbert turned in a 13-over-par, 229 from Opelika to finish tied for 35th. The Tupelo, Miss., native Johnson fired off a 24-over-par, 240 at the Grand National course, finishing tied for 71 overall.
The Bulldogs will tee off from Southwood at 8 a.m.
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the men's golf program through Facebook at facebook.com/mstateMG and on Twitter at @mstateMG.
Following a solid 4-1 victory against Middle Tennessee Wednesday on the road, Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis (6-6, 0-4 SEC) stays on the move, facing a weekend of SEC competition on the road, taking on No. 13 Vanderbilt on Friday and No. 38 Kentucky on Sunday. MSU's match against Vanderbilt will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Lady Bulldogs match against Kentucky is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday.
MSU swept doubles competition in the team's match against MT. The Lady Bulldog duo of Petra Ferancova and Georgiana Patrasc posted a particularly impressive win, blanking the Lady Blue Raider pair of Carla Nava and Yuiri Nomoto 8-0 at No. 2, raising the duo's record to 5-3 on the season. Naomi Tran of the Lady Bulldogs clinched the MSU win with a come-from-behind 7-5, 6-4 win at the No. 3 position.
Tran and partner Alexandra Perper, ranked 46th nationally, improved to 7-2 this season with a win at Middle Tennessee as well. The rookie Patrasc also notched another win to improve to 7-5 in singles in her initial campaign at State.
No. 13 ranked Vandy boasts two ranked singles players: No. 46 ranked Lauren Mira and No. 74 ranked Georgina Sellyn. The Lady Commodore pair of Courtney Colton and Lauren Mira also hold a No. 29 ranking in doubles play. Kentucky holds one ITA singles ranking in No. 38 ranked Nadia Ravita.
Following this weekend's action, State will return home to host Arkansas and LSU on March 22 and 24, respectively.
Updates for MSU matches can be found on Twitter at @mstateWT. Live stats can be found on hailstate.com.