STARKVILLE, Miss. – Despite a rally attempt in singles play, the 18th-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis team (18-9, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) fell in a tight 4-2 decision to the No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies (20-7, 9-3 SEC) Sunday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
The Maroon and White will now head to Nashville this week, April 16-20, for the 2014 SEC Championship. State, the No. 5 seed, will first play on Thursday, 6 p.m. CT against the winner of the match between No. 12 seed Arkansas and No. 13 LSU, which will be played Wednesday. The tournament will be held at Vanderbilt's Currey Tennis Center.
On Sunday, State looked to jump out early in doubles play and nearly did, as play on courts one and three went into tiebreakers. Before those contests wound down, TAMU struck first, taking the match on court two as the No. 64 team of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant defeated MSU’s Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid 8-3. As play on court two ended, matches on the remaining two courts heated up as they both entered tiebreakers.
MSU’s No. 28 duo of Jordan Angus and Stropp evened things with their biggest win of the season, defeating the sixth-ranked Aggie team of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow 8-7(5). TAMU would answer MSU’s response on court three, as the No. 66 tandem of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo held off a comeback effort from MSU’s Rishab Agarwal and White 8-7(4) to claim the doubles point.
State looked to make a rally once singles play got underway, with Angus evening the score on court four, defeating TAMU’s Ore 6-3, 6-2. The Aggies responded by pushing the lead to 3-1, posting wins at the top two spots. No. 14 Adams downed MSU’s No. 72 Lakat 7-5, 6-2 at the top position to make it a 2-1 lead. MSU’s No. 90 Stropp made an amazing comeback to put the match back on serve in the second set after being down 5-1, but TAMU’s No. 21 Vinsant fought off the MSU veteran, taking the match 6-0, 7-6(2).
State would answer on court five to cut the lead to one, as Agarwal defeated the A&M’s Szabo 6-3, 7-6(5). However, with State needing to send the remaining two matches to win, TAMU would seal the victory with a tight 7-6(5), 7-5 win on court three from No. 51 Efferding against State’s White.
Play on court six was suspended at the clinch, with A&M’s Max Lunkin leading MSU’s Schmid 7-5, 5-5.
No. 10 Texas A&M 4, No. 18 Mississippi State 2
April 13, 2014 – A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre – Starkville, Miss.
1. No. 14 Adams (TAMU) def. No. 72 Lakat (MSU) 7-5, 6-2
2. No. 21 Vinsant (TAMU) def. No. 90 Stropp (MSU) 6-0, 7-6(2)
3. No. 51 Efferding (TAMU) def. White (MSU) 7-6(5), 7-5
4. Angus (MSU) def. Ore (TAMU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Agarwal (MSU) def. Szabo (TAMU) 6-3, 7-6(5)
6. Max Lunkin (TAMU) vs. Schmid (MSU) 7-5, 5-5(susp.)
Order of finish… Doubles (2,1,3)… Singles (4,1,2,5,3)