STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis (8-13, 2-11 SEC), posted a hard-fought 4-2 victory against the No. 51 ranked Lady Tigers of Missouri (9-12, 2-11 SEC) in the teams' final regular season match Sunday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
Ironically, the two teams will rematch in their next outing, squaring off in the opener of the 2013 SEC Women's Tennis Championship this Wednesday, April 17, at 10 a.m. Mississippi State is hosting the 2013 SEC event April 17-21 at the Pitts Tennis Centre as part of Super Bulldog Weekend. A complete bracket and information on the tournament can be found at www.HailState.com/SECtennis.
Due to inclement weather Sunday, the day’s competition began with singles play. Court 4 was the first to finish, as Elisha Gabb of the Lady Tigers defeated Lady Bulldog Petra Ferancova 6-2, 6-2 for an early 1-0 Missouri lead.
Lady Bulldog veteran Alexandra Perper then evened the overall score at 1-1 with an impressive three-set triumph over Rachel Stuhlmann at the No. 2 position. After taking the first set, Perper answered Stuhlmann’s second-set response to claim the match convincingly in the third, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
MSU true freshman Sarai Flores extended the Maroon and White lead to 2-1 with a closely contested 7-5, 7-5 victory against Missouri’s Madison Rhyner on court 6. Flores rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the second set to win four-straight games in a pivotal win for the Lady Bulldogs.Missouri then knotted things again as Maria Christensen downed MSU’s Naomi Tran 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a three-set war at the No. 3 spot, locking the score at 2-2.
A top spot upset for Lady Bulldog Georgiana Patrasc edged MSU to a 3-2 lead. Patrasc, who was down 4-0 in the first set, roared back to take that set and ultimately upset No. 86 ranked Cierra Gaytan-Leach of Missouri 7-5, 7-5.
The match then came down to the remaining singles action on court 5, where Lady Bulldog Roseline Dion faced Missouri’s Alex Clark. Dion took the first set in a dominant 6-2 decision, but was forced into a tiebreaker in the second set after holding a big lead. Dion held strong, however, to take the tiebreaker and notching a 6-2, 7-6(6) triumph to clinch the MSU team victory.
Because the match was clinched in singles competition, doubles play was not contested.
Head coach Daryl Greenan was pleased by his team’s performance.
“We fought extremely hard today and it was a great win over a very good Missouri team,” said Greenan. “Perper and Patrasc were tough as nails and Sarai did a tremendous job playing within herself. Rosie had a chance to end the match much sooner, but she really dug deep to win the tiebreaker to clinch. It was a very solid effort on every court for us today, and it is a good feeling when that happens. We will face Missouri against in three days right here in the SEC Tournament, and it is going to take a huge effort to come back and beat them again.”
Updates for all Lady Bulldog tennis action are available through twitter @mstateWT and through live stats at hailstate.com.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 4, #51 MISSOURI 2
April 14, 2013 - Starkville, Miss.
1. Georgiana Patrasc (MSU) def. #86 Cierra Gaytan-Leach (MU) 7-5, 7-5
2. Alexandra Perper (MSU) def. Rachel Stuhlmann (MU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
3. Maria Christensen (MU) def. Naomi Tran (MSU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
4. Elisha Gabb (MU) def. Petra Ferancova (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Roseline Dion (MSU) def. Alex Clark 6-2, 7-6(6)
6. Sarai Flores (MSU) def. Madison Rhyner (MU) 7-5, 7-5
Order of finish: Singles (4,2,6,3,1,5)