Bulldog Tennis Seniors Selected For NCAA Individual Championships
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following the NCAA's announcement Tuesday that Mississippi State would host the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Team Championship May 11-12, three Bulldog seniors in Louis Cant, George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin have now earned spots in the singles and doubles field of the NCAA Individual Championships in Athens, Ga.
For the second-straight year, Coupland and Ilyushin earned a spot in the 64-player singles field.
Finishing an impressive 15-7 and 9-2 in the SEC this season, the 12th-ranked Ilyushin downed seven top-40 opponents this year with his most impressive coming against then third-ranked Will Spencer of Georgia. Ilyushin earned a career-high ranking of No. 10 on April 17. Ilyushin was also listed as a 9-16 alphabetical seed in the singles tournament. As such, he earns All-America status for 2012 and becomes Mississippi State's 19th All-American in men's tennis.
Coupland, currently ranked No. 54 in the ITA poll, compiled an impressive 20-4 dual-match record this spring with a solid 8-3 slate in SEC play. He downed six ranked opponents, three in the top 50.
Earning his first bid into NCAA Singles is No. 50 Cant. With a team-high 28 wins in 2011-12, he dropped only two decisions in dual match play while earning an impressive 9-2 mark in the SEC. Cant downed six ranked opponents this spring while earning a team-high 21 dual match victories.
It marks the first time since 1998 that State has had three players qualify for the singles field in the same year (Matthieu Ballay, Thomas Dupre, Simon Larose).
In the 32-team NCAA doubles field, the 25th-ranked tandem of Coupland and Ilyushin earned their second bid (also competed in 2010 together) after posting a solid 15-5 dual-match record this spring with 7-4 mark in conference play. Competing between the No. 1 and 2 positions, the tandem had three victories over opponents ranked in the top 20, one in the top 10.
The NCAA Singles and Doubles competition will begin May 23 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., following the conclusion of the NCAA Team Championships played from May 18-22.
The singles and doubles brackets will be released at the conclusion of the Team Championship.