On a beautiful Mississippi Sunday afternoon, the No. 13 Mississippi State men's tennis squad (12-6, 2-4 SEC) ended a four-match homestand by dropping a 4-2 decision to No. 10 Kentucky (16-4, 4-1 SEC) at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
State opened up with an early lead after making a furious rally to take the doubles point. UK found an early 8-5 victory from the duo of Grant Roberts and Anthony Rossi against MSU's Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont on court three before State stormed back on courts 1 and 2.
First was impressive performance from the 14th-ranked duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp. Down 5-0 in the match at No. 1, the Bulldog tandem battled back, eventually pushing the match to a tiebreaker at 8-8. From there, Angus and Stropp cruised, not giving up a single point in the breaker and defeating the No. 23 Wildcat team of Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai 9-8(0).
The Bulldogs would clinch the doubles point when Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson quieted a rally from the UK duo of Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka, winning 8-5.
The Wildcats would even the score in singles when Roberts defeated MSU's Dumont 6-3, 6-1 on court five. UK would then take a 3-1 lead, as Charles Minc earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory against State's White on court four and Kentucky's Lai defeated Stefan Vinti of MSU 6-1, 6-3 on court six.
State would rest their hopes on courts one, two and three, where some of the more intense matches of the day were in progress. The State freshman Angus defeated UK's Gomez 7-5, 6-2 on court three, bring State to within 3-2. The victory was also Angus' team-leading 14th in dual match play.
All eyes then shifted to the top two spots in the lineup, where UK had taken the first set on both. No. 31 Rossi of Kentucky battled back from down 5-3 to take the first set from MSU's No. 18 Bogaerts on court one in a tiebreaker 7-6(3).
As that tiebreaker ended, MSU's No. 59 Stropp and UK's No. 32 Jomby were entering one of their own, but for the second set, after Jomby had taken the first 6-3. Stropp fought back to claim the second 7-6(4) in a high-energy match.
As court 2 went to its third set, Bogaerts and Rossi were starting the second set on court 1 and Rossi eventually grabbed a break to go up 5-3 and then held serve to defeat Bogaerts 7-6(3), 6-3 to clinch the match for the Wildcats. Stropp and Jomby were tied 4-4 in the third when play was then suspended.
The Bulldogs will now hit the road for a two-match road swing. State will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., Friday, March 22, to face the No. 46 Arkansas Razorbacks (1 p.m. CT) and then to Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, March 24, to face the No. 68 LSU Tigers (1 p.m.). Following the road trip, State will return home to battle in-state rival, No. 4 Ole Miss, on Friday, March 29, 2 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
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).
Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis (6-8, 0-6 SEC) completed a five-match road swing Sunday with a tough 7-0 loss against the No. 38 ranked Lady Wildcats of Kentucky (12-5, 3-3).
Kentucky took an early advantage in the day's competition, claiming the doubles point with some tight wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions.
The Kentucky duo of Khristina Blajkevitch and Stephanie Fox notched the first doubles win, taking down MSU's Roseline Dion and Sarai Flores in an 8-5 decision on court 3. The Lady Bulldogs evened things in doubles with a win on court 2 for Petra Ferancova and Georgiana Patrasc, who defeated Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and CeCe Witten of Kentucky 8-5.
Caitlin McGraw and Nadia Ravita of UK then secured the doubles point, posting a close 8-6 triumph against the Lady Bulldogs' 46th-ranked pair of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran at the No. 1 position.
Kentucky extended its lead to 2-0 as the team's No. 38 ranked Ravita defeated Lady Bulldog true freshman Patrasc in a 6-3, 6-1 decision at the top spot in the lineup. MSU's Perper fell 6-2 in the first set on court 2 to Jessica Stiles of the Lady Wildcats before rallying back to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Unfortunately for MSU, Stiles stifled Perper's lead, making a come back the take the match 6-2, 7-5.
Caitlin McGraw, a junior for the Lady Wildcats, clinched Kentucky's third SEC win of the season with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against MSU sophomore Petra Ferancova on court 4.
Lady Bulldog Naomi Tran took the first set on court 3 in a 6-3 decision, but was unable to hold off Kentucky's Morin-Kougoucheff in the second set falling in a tiebreaker 7-6(6). The two battled through the match's deciding super tiebreaker, but in the end Morin-Kougoucheff took a 3-6, 7-6(6), 1-0(7) triumph.
The Lady Wildcats posted victories on the two remaining courts to complete the day's action. MSU freshman Lien Van Geel fell 6-1, 6-3 to Kentucky's Kristin Lewis on court 5 to bring the UK lead to 6-0. Dion of the Lady Bulldogs followed with a 6-1, 6-0 loss at the No. 6 position against Fox of Kentucky.
State will return home to host matches against No. 41 Arkansas and No. 66 LSU on March 22 and 24, respectively, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus. Match times are set for 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. Updates will be available through twitter @mstateWT and hailstate.com.
Wrapping up a twelve-day, two-tournament spring break trip, the Mississippi State women's golf team posted a final-round 15-over-par 295 in the SunTrust Gator Invitational to earn a share of eighth-place, beating No. 18 Baylor and tying No. 6 North Carolina.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the event tying a season-best with a 13-over-par 293. Following a second-round 304 Saturday, they slid into a tie for ninth. The final-round 15-over moved MSU into a tie for eighth, only two shots shy of No. 49 Florida State.
"I could not be prouder of the way the girls battled this weekend," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "This is a challenging course and an even tougher field. We came out focused on our routine and proved we can compete with some of the top teams in the nation. Beating number 18 Baylor is a good accomplishment in itself, but to tie a Top 10 team like North Carolina shows these girls the progress they've made at Mississippi State."
The three-round 892 ties for the seventh-lowest tourney card in MSU history; the second time in as many tournaments MSU has entered a Top 10 lowest tournament clip into the record book.
No. 3 Alabama claimed the SunTrust Gator Invitational title following a 25-over-par 865, while No. 4 Oklahoma (868) and No. 5 Florida (870) round out the Top 3.
Sophomore standout Ally McDonald posted her fifth 69 of the season in the final round to climb into a tie for fourth-place with sixth-ranked Stephanie Meadow of Alabama. Her 4-over-par 214 ranks as the fifth-lowest tourney total in MSU history. The Fulton, Miss., native garnered her fifth Top 5 of the season and dropped her season scoring average to 72.24.
Gabi Oubre' used a final-round 4-over-par 74 to post a career-best 222, securing her first-career Top 25 tally. The freshman lowered her average scoring clip 76.52, the lowest among MSU newcomers.
Sophomore Elena Warren missed her first-career Top 25 by only a single stroke for the second event in a row. Her final-round 4-over-par 74 produced a career-best 223.
Mary Langdon Gallagher and Rica Tse rounded out the Lady Bulldog leaderboard with a 235 and 236, respectively.
No. 31 Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma claimed the individual title after a 4-under-par 206 (69-68-69). Portlant Rosen (211) and No. 18 Brittany Altomare (213), both of Virginia, finished out the Top 3.
State ended its two-event spring break trip with a 297.17 average card over six rounds. McDonald posted a 71.50 average in the two tournaments en route to a runner-up and fourth-place finish. Two other Lady Bulldogs recorded Top 25 finishes (Tse and Warren).
"This trip will do wonders for this program," Brown-Lemm said. "A runner-up finish to start the trip in Jacksonville, then a fun week with just the team in Florida was great for team bonding and chemistry. And then for these girls to have the discipline to focus and beat Top 25 teams after a long week is great."
The Lady Bulldogs return to action March 25 in the Briar's Creek Invitational hosted at The Golf Club at Briar's Creek in John's Island, S.C.
Until then, fans can the women's golf program through Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG and on Twitter at @mstateWG.
On the heels of tying its lowest-season total score at 846, Mississippi State coasts in for a runner-up finish at the Seminole Intercollegiate.
The No. 36 ranked Bulldogs' 18-under-par was a season-low, while the 846 total score tied a season-low with the Sam Hall tourney in the fall. MSU clinched their seventh top-five finish on the season, leaving the 2012-2013 Bulldogs only two away from the 2007-2008 team that went to the NCAA Championship.
The runner-up effort from State improved their season record to 83-26-1 against opponents. The second-place finish at Tallahassee was over two top-50 ranked clubs.
"This was a good week for our program," Coach Clay Homan said. "This week, Joe and Robi really stepped up to lead us. I'm really proud of the direction we are headed in and what we can still accomplish."
MSU was only one stroke off of host-Florida State's pace coming into the final 18. The No. 17 ranked Seminoles won with a 25-under-par, 839, making it two years in a row they have won their home tourney.
Junior Joe Sakulpolphaisan also grabbed a runner-up finish on Sunday with his 10-under-par, 206. The Thailand-born golfer finished tied with Chase Seiffert of FSU for the second spot. Sakulpolphaisan turned in a pair of 68's in the first and third rounds; sandwiched between was a second round 70 at Tallahassee.
Senior Robi Calvesbert climbed up the leader board at the Seminole, to finish with a seventh-place tie. Calvesbert fired off a pair of season-lows himself in the first and third rounds, as he cared 69's. The junior finished with a 6-under-par, 210.
After finishing round two in fifth place, junior Axel Boasson fell back to 11th to pick up his sixth top 25 of the year. Boasson carded a 3-under-par, 213 for the Seminole Intercollegiate.
SEC Player of the Week and junior Bulldog Chad Ramey finished just shy of a top 25 card. The Fulton, Miss., native turned in a 1-over-par, 217 at Southwood to leave him tied for 26th. This is only the third time Ramey has finished outside of the top 25 this year.
Rounding out the Maroon and White lineup from Tallahassee was true freshman Haraldur Magnus. The Iceland native turned in a 9-over-par, 225 to tie for a 44th-place tie in his first action of the spring.
Sophomore Fletcher Johnson competed as an individual at the Seminole Intercollegiate, but only in round one. The Tupelo, Miss.,native withdrew from the second and third round. He shot a 15-over par, 87 in the opening round.
The Bulldogs will return to the greens April 1, for the BancorpSouth Reunion Intercollegiate in Madison, Miss., hosted by Ole Miss.
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.