#14 State Tennis To Host #4 Virginia In Tuesday Showdown
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Coming off an impressive weekend sweep of Southeastern Conference foes No. 46 Alabama and No. 12 Auburn, Mississippi State's 14th-ranked men's tennis squad will step outside of conference play Tuesday to host the fourth-ranked team in the nation, the Virginia Cavaliers.
The showdown is set for 2 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the campus of Mississippi State University.
Hoping to continue State's seven-match win streak (the program's longest since 1998), a trio of seniors will lead the charge against the highly-touted Cavaliers. 27th-ranked Artem Ilyushin is on a five-match win streak, with four of those victories coming against top-35 opponents. No. 37 Louis Cant will enter the contest undefeated for the spring (11-0), while 41st-ranked George Coupland is currently on an eight-match win streak and is 11-1 in dual match play.
Sophomore Malte Stropp, ranked 75th in the nation, is currently riding a six-match win streak following two three-set victories in the SEC-opening weekend. Coming off an remarkable freshman season that landed him the 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year crown, Stropp is 9-2 to start his second season for the Maroon and White.
In doubles play, the 23rd-ranked duo of Cant and Stropp have earned 15 victories so far for the 2011-12 season, taking the top spot for the Bulldogs.
The Cavaliers will bring an abundance of ranked talent with them to the Pitts Tennis Centre Tuesday, led by the ITA's No. 1 player in the nation, freshman Mitchell Frank. Jarmere Jenkins is another top 10 national singles player for Virginia, coming in at No. 8. Alex Domijan (53rd), Justin Shane (72nd) and Drew Courtney (118th) round out the ranked singles players for UVA.
On the doubles side, Virginia turns in the 13th-ranked duo of Courtney and Jenkins, No. 32 Philippe Oudshoorn and Shane, and 60th-ranked Domijan and Steven Rooda.
The meeting will be the second between the two teams, with Virginia taking the lone previous matchup 4-2 in 2004, an NCAA second-round match in Charlottesville.
Following Tuesday's non-conference action, the Bulldogs will jump back into SEC action for a battle of the Bulldogs as they head to Athens to face No. 6 Georgia Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT. They will then head to Knoxville for a Sunday matchup with the 19th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers at 12 p.m. CT.
Live stats for all MSU matches will be available at www.hailstate.com and live updates via Twitter (@mstateMT).