No. 9 State Tennis Into NCAA Second Round; Blanks Alcorn St., 4-0
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's ninth-ranked men's tennis crew (20-6) advanced to the Second Round of action in the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship with a 4-0 blanking of the Alcorn State Braves (10-10) Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs will face No. 25 Baylor (18-11) at a newly-scheduled time of 10 a.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on Mississippi State's campus.
In the first match of the day, Baylor outlasted 31st-ranked Memphis, 4-2, moving them into the Second Round of action in Starkville.
"We are really excited to have made it to the Second Round today," head coach Per Nilsson said. "Baylor is going to be a tough opponent so we will really have to work hard."
State's 20th win marked the seventh time in school history the Bulldogs have posted at least 20 wins in a season and the first since 1998's NCAA Semifinal squad went 21-5.
In doubles play between MSU and ASU, the Bulldogs never looked back as they took courts 2 and 3 in less than 45 minutes. In the No. 2 spot for MSU was the 47th-ranked pair of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp where they allowed just eight total points in their 8-0 downing of Alcorn State's Garry Amor and Vitali Vasileuski.
Clinching the doubles point in the same fashion for the Bulldogs was the Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson tandem. Squaring off with Alexandr Lidzar and Max Tkachenko, the MSU duo quickly downed its Brave foe 8-0 in the third spot, giving State a 1-0 lead headed to singles action.
In singles, the Bulldog sophomore White was the first to finish for MSU as he downed Alcorn State's Amor 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 5 position. With the blanking, White did not drop a single game in singles and doubles during Friday's match.
Quickly following was MSU's 50th-ranked senior Cant as he breezed through his ASU foe, Lidzar, 6-2, 6-0 in the fourth spot, extending the Bulldog lead to 3-0.
The match clincher came from Bulldog Wilkinson in the No. 6 position. Taking an easy 6-3 first set, Wilkinson plowed through the second earning a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Braves' Tkachenko and clinching the match 4-0 for MSU.
With the match-clincher, all matches in play were suspended with the Bulldogs leading on all courts. In the top spot for MSU was 13th-ranked Ilyushin where he held a commanding 6-1, 5-1 lead over ASU's Santillan. Battling on court 2 for the Bulldogs was the 88th-ranked Chaudry who was breezing with a 6-1, 2-1 lead on Weinbeer. Also holding a lead for State was No. 56 Coupland on court 3 with a 6-3, 1-0 lead over Vasileuski of Alcorn State.
Saturday's NCAA Second Round match time of 10 a.m. CT, originally slated for 2 p.m., was changed due to inclement weather threatening the Starkville area. Follow @mstateMT for live match updates on Twitter and find live stats at www.hailstate.com/NCAAtennis.
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship - First Round
5/11/12 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
No. 9 Mississippi State 4, Alcorn State 0
1) #25 George Coupland/Artem Ilyushin (MSU) vs. Ernesto Santillan/Weinfried Weinbeer (ASU) 3-3 (susp.)
2) #47 Louis Cant/Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Garry Amor/Vitali Vasileuski (ASU) 8-0
3) Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) def. Alexandr Lidzar/Max Tkachenko (ASU) 8-0
1) #13 Ilyushin (MSU) vs. Santillan (ASU) 6-1, 5-1 (susp.)
2) #88 James Chaudry (MSU) vs. Weinbeer (ASU) 6-2, 2-1 (susp.)
3) #56 Coupland (MSU) vs. Vasileuski (ASU) 6-3, 1-0 (susp.)
4) #50 Cant (MSU) def. Lidzar (ASU) 6-2, 6-0
5) White (MSU) def. Amor (ASU) 6-0, 6-0
6) Wilkinson (MSU) def. Tkachenko (ASU) 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish... Doubles (2,3)... Singles (5,4,6)