STARKVILLE, Miss. – With only four matches left in the regular season, the No. 13 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (13-7, 3-5 SEC) will close out its home slate against No. 20 South Carolina (15-7, 5-3 SEC) Friday and then hit the road Sunday to face the No. 17 Florida Gators (10-8, 4-4 SEC) in Gainesville. Friday’s 2013 Senior Day matchup will start at 2 p.m. CT, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre, while Sunday’s road match against the Gators will begin at 12 p.m. CT.
The Bulldogs, who have won their last three Senior Day matchups, have also won the last two contests against the Gamecocks. State also won the most recent meeting against the Gators, defeating Florida 4-3 last season, also in Gainesville.
Leading the way for State is 20th-ranked Romain Bogaerts, who continues to perform at an impressive level in his freshman campaign. Bogaerts is 26-9 for the 2012-13 season, while posting a 13-5 record in dual match play. Five of Bogaerts’ dual match victories have come against ranked opponents, with his most recent being a 6-2, 6-4 win against Ole Miss’ No. 8 Nik Scholtz.
Junior Malte Stropp, ranked 50th in the nation, enters this weekend with a 12-3 record in dual match play, with 10 of those victories coming at the No. 2 position. Stropp has claimed three victories against ranked opponents so far this spring.
Senior James Chaudry and freshman Jordan Angus form the middle of the lineup for the Bulldogs. Chaudry has posted an 8-5 record for the spring so far, with all but one of those wins coming at the No. 3 spot. Angus, who leads the team with 14 dual match singles victories, is a win away from earning the 20th overall victory of his young career.
Rounding out the Bulldogs’ lineup is the trio of junior Zach White, freshman Pedro Dumont and freshman Stefan Vinti. White holds a 6-6 record entering this weekend’s play. Dumont is 9-5 in dual match play, grabbing seven of those victories at the No. 6 position. Vinti has claimed four victories so far for the spring season.
In doubles, State is led by the 15th-ranked duo of Angus and Stropp. The tandem has garnered seven victories so far this spring, including five wins against ranked opponents.
The Gamecocks are led by one ranked singles player and a pair of ranked doubles teams. Sophomore Andrew Adams comes in to Friday's affair ranked 90th in the nation in singles. Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov enter Friday ranked No. 21 nationally in doubles, while the duo of Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies is 55th.
Florida boasts three ranked singles players and one ranked doubles squad. Florent Diop (102nd), Bob van Overbeek (117th) and Stephane Piro (125th) make up the Gators’ trio of ranked singles players, while the tandem of Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson enter Sunday's match ranked 53rd nationally.
“We’re very excited about the matches coming up this weekend,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “They will both be difficult matches, but we are ready for them. Should be a fun way for James (Chaudry) and Ethan (Wilkinson) to end their careers here at MSU.”
Following this week, the Bulldogs will hit the road to close out the 2013 season. MSU will face No. 32 LSU on Wednesday, April 10, at 3 p.m. CT in the makeup of a previously postponed contest in Baton Rouge, and then close out the season on Friday, April 12, at 6 p.m., as they travel to College Station, Texas, to face the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies.