STARKVILLE, Miss. - A two-match road swing through the state of Alabama is on the schedule this weekend, as the Mississippi State men's tennis squad (10-2) hits the road to kick off Southeastern Conference play. State will open at 32nd-ranked Auburn (8-2) Friday, Mar. 1, at 2 p.m. CT, and close out at 31st-ranked Alabama (9-3) on Sunday, Mar. 3, at 12 p.m.
The Maroon and White closed out their non-conference slate last weekend, as they defeated Samford 7-0, and No. 47 Middle Tennessee 4-3, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
MSU will have the most recent SEC Player of the Week leading the way into conference play, as No. 23 Romain Bogaerts claimed his second POW honor of the season. The rookie, who currently stands at 9-2 for the dual match season, has claimed seven of his nine victories at the No. 1 position for MSU this spring.
Also sitting atop the MSU lineup is No. 59 Malte Stropp, who has played all but two matches at the No. 2 spot. The junior, who is 10-1 on the season, holds the second best record on the team and has captured six of his wins in straight sets. At the No. 3 position is senior James Chaudry, who earned his first ranking of the season at 93rd. The Bulldog veteran is 7-2 for the dual match season and currently on a four-game winning streak.
Holding down court four has been freshman Jordan Angus, who holds an impressive 11-0 record to start the season. The London, England native has won eight of his games from the No. 4 spot and has a chance to match Louis Cant's 2012 start of 12-0 with a victory Friday. With wins Friday and Sunday, Angus can tie Florent Girod's 2005 start of 13-0.
At the bottom of the lineup for MSU has been a trio of players, including Stefan Vinti, Zach White and Pedro Dumont. Vinti, who has played all but two matches this spring on court five, is 3-6 for the dual match season. White, who has seen action in five matches this spring, is 2-2, while Dumont is 5-3 with four wins at the No. 6 position.
For doubles, State sports the No. 24 duo in the nation of Angus and Stropp. The tandem is 5-5 this season, with three wins against top 45 opponents. At the No. 2 spot, the duo of White and Ethan Wilkinson has put together a 4-5 record and has won their last two matches. Wrapping up MSU's doubles lineup is the freshmen duo of Bogaerts and Dumont, who hold an impressive 6-1 record for the spring.
For Auburn, 107th-ranked Andreas Mies has held down the top spot for Tigers so far this season, with a 6-2 record for the spring. In doubles, the Tigers sport the No. 1 doubles squad in the nation of Daniel Cochrane and Mies. The duo is 9-1 on the season, all at the top spot of the lineup. MSU and AU have met once already this season, with MSU claiming a tight 4-3 win during the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Starkville on Jan. 27.
The Crimson Tide will go into Sunday's match with two ranked singles players, with Becker O'Shaughnessey, who is 9-3 in dual match play, at No. 85 and Jarryd Botha, at 9-2, ranked 100th in the nation. Daniil Proskura, who has held the No. 3 spot for the majority of the season, is 12-0 for the spring. In doubles, the team of Botha and O'Shaughnessey come in with a 6-4 record, with five of those wins coming in at the top spot.
After completing the road trip, State will return home to the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre for its next four matches to open SEC home play. The Bulldogs will host N. 8 Tennessee Friday, Mar. 8, at 2 p.m. CT, and No. 9 Georgia Sunday, Mar. 10, at 1 p.m. State will follow up with 25th-ranked Vanderbilt and No. 6 Kentucky the following weekend.