STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team (5-4, 0-2 SEC) fought hard and registered a pair of impressive wins over ranked opponents, but ultimately fell 6-1 to No. 5 Alabama (10-1, 2-0) Sunday afternoon at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
The Lady Bulldogs competed very well with the Tide in doubles competition, nearly taking the point with an upset win on court 1 and a neck-and-neck match on court 3.
MSU freshmen Sarai Flores and Lien Van Geel were the first to complete competition, falling in an 8-0 decision to Alabama's duo of Maya Jansen and Natalia Maynetto at the No. 2 position. Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran for the Lady Bulldogs then evened the score with a huge win at the top spot. The MSU pair took down Alabama's No. 4 nationally-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and May Anne Macfarlane in a dominant 8-3 decision.
MSU's Petra Ferancova and Georgiana Patrasc then fought with Alabama's Antonia Foehse and Emily Zabor at the No. 3 position to the very end. After getting down 7-3 in the match, the State tandem fought back to 7-6 and very nearly broke back to even the match. But after three deuce points, the Alabama duo won 8-6, giving UA the 1-0 lead.
Singles play began with a promising outlook on several courts for the Lady Bulldogs as both Patrasc and Tran took their first sets against ranked opponents on courts 2 and 3.
Court 1 was the first to complete singles play with a 6-1, 6-3 win for No. 20 Macfarlane of Alabama against MSU's Perper. The Tide's lead was extended to 3-0 as Foehse defeated Lady Bulldog Ferancova 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 4 position.
MSU's Van Geel took an early 3-1 lead in the first set on court 5 before dropping the match 6-3, 6-0 to Alabama sophomore Zabor, clinching the Tide's victory.
Lady Bulldog sophomore Naomi Tran took the first set on court 3 in a 6-3 decision against Alabama's No. 77 ranked Jansen, but was unable to carry the momentum, falling 6-2 in the second set and 1-0(3) in the deciding super tiebreaker.
MSU rookie Patrasc notched her second impressive victory of the weekend, taking down No. 36 Guarachi on court 2. Patrasc won the first set 6-2 before claiming the second in a tiebreaker and the match 6-2, 7-6(7) to put the Lady Bulldogs on the board.
Roseline Dion of MSU fell 6-1, 6-3 against Alabama's No. 106 ranked Maynetto at the No. 6 position to complete the day's competition.
Head coach Daryl Greenan was pleased with several aspects of the day's competition. "We fought hard today and had some stellar individual highlights," said Greenan. "Tran and Perper gave us some hope in doubles beating the No. 4 team in the country proving that they can play among the best. I am also very proud of Georgiana for the big win over Alabama's senior and No. 36 ranked player. We didn't get the win, but we got better. We need to use this match to give us confidence moving forward in SEC play."
State will continue SEC action next weekend when they travel to take on No. 57 Tennessee on Friday and No. 7 Georgia on Sunday.
Updates for all Lady Bulldog tennis action is available through twitter @mstateWT and through LiveStats at hailstate.com.
No. 5 ALABAMA 6, MISSISSIPPI STATE 1
March 3, 2013 - Starkville, Miss.
2. Maya Jansen/Natalia Maynetto (UA) def. Sarai Flores/Lien Van Geel (MSU) 8-0
3. Antonia Foehse/Emily Zabor (UA) def. Petra Ferancova/Georgiana Patrasc (MSU) 8-6
1. #20 Mary Anne Macfarlane (AU) def. Alexandra Perper (MSU) 6-1, 6-3
2. Georgiana Patrasc (MSU) def. #36 Alexa Guarachi (AU) 6-2, 7-6(7)
3. #77 Maya Jansen (UA) def. Naomi Tran (MSU) 3-6, 6-2, 1-0(3)
4. Antonia Foehse (UA) def. Petra Ferancova (MSU) 6-1, 6-1
5. Emily Zabor (UA) def. Lien Van Geel (MSU) 6-3, 6-0
6. #106 Natalia Maynetto (UA) def. Roseline Dion (MSU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3), Singles (1,4,5,3,2,6)