STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's tennis squad picked up where it left off the 2012 season, coming in at 11th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's first poll of the 2013 spring season, released Thursday. The Bulldogs ended the 2012 spring season ranked 11th as well, which was the program's highest final ranking since finishing fourth in 1998.
In addition to the team ranking, two Bulldogs are ranked in the top 90 in singles, while two State doubles squads are ranked in the top 50 nationally.
Leading the way for Mississippi State is true freshman Romain Bogaerts, who came in a No. 25 in the nation after an impressive fall that included advancing to the finals of the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championships and the quarterfinals of the National Indoor Championships. Junior Malte Stropp will begin the 2013 season ranked 81st nationally.
In doubles, the duo of freshman Jordan Angus and Stropp were ranked No. 28 in the nation in Thursday's poll after finishing the fall with a 10-3 record and capturing the title of the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championship. The Bulldog tandem of senior James Chaudry and freshman Stefan Vinti, who made a semifinal run in the Southern Regionals, will start 2013 ranked No. 42 in the country.
"We are excited about the ranking, as well as the upcoming matches," coach Per Nilsson said. "It will tell us where we are compared to some of the other teams. If we continue to mature and work as a team, I feel like we can become a really strong team this year."
The Bulldogs will open the season Sunday, January 20, as they travel to Houston, Texas, to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. They will face Rice the following day. State will open home play at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre Saturday and Sunday, January 26-27 hosting the ITA Kickoff Weekend. MSU will open play that weekend against Southeastern Conference foe LSU on Saturday. Auburn and Indiana will also visit Starkville for the two-day event, which is a qualifier for the ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle in February.
In their 2012 spring campaign, the 11th-ranked Bulldogs concluded their season by winning their second-straight SEC Western Division crown and making the program's 21st all-time NCAA appearance. MSU will begin 2013 with four returning lettermen, while adding four freshmen.
MSU IN THE ITA RANKINGS - Jan. 3, 2013
Romain Bogaerts - 25th
Malte Stropp - 81st
Jordan Angus/Stropp - 28th