COLUMBIA, SC – Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis (7-11, 1-9 SEC) nearly toppled the No. 29 ranked Lady Gamecocks of South Carolina (12-8, 5-5 SEC) Friday in an exciting road battle, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to tie the match before falling in a tough 4-3 decision.
The afternoon’s competition began in favor of South Carolina, as the Lady Gamecocks clinched the early 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point, which would turn out to be very crucial in the match.
Adriana Pereira and Alex Martin of USC posted the first doubles win, taking down Lady Bulldogs Petra Ferancova and Lien Van Geel 8-3 at the No. 3 spot. Katerina Popova and Josefin Andersson secured the doubles point with an 8-2 triumph over MSU’s No. 56 ranked pair of Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran on court 1. Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna of USC held a 6-3 lead over MSU’s Georgiana Patrasc and Roseline Dion when play on court 2 was suspended.
But the Lady Bulldogs would fire back in singles, claiming the first set in four of the six contests to position themselves for a potential comeback.
Van Geel, a true freshman for the Lady Bulldogs, evened the score at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against South Carolina’s Martin on court 6.
USC answered back with back-to-back wins on courts 1 and 4. On court 1, No. 98-ranked Popova for the Lady Gamecocks downed MSU’s 124th-ranked Patrasc in a 6-4, 6-0 decision. Court 4 followed as USC’s Andersson took down Ferancova of MSU 7-5, 6-2.
State then answered with two consecutive wins of its own to tie the overall score at 3-3. Tran for the Lady Bulldogs kicked off the Maroon and White run, completing a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court 3 against USC’s Luna. MSU’s Dion followed on court 5 with a solid 7-5, 6-3 triumph against Pereira of USC, rallying from 3-1 down in the second set for the win.
The fate of the match then rested on court 2, where Lechemia of USC faced the MSU junior Perper. Perper had taken a close first set 6-4, but Lechemia came back to take the second set in a close tiebreaker 7-6(5). Lechemia jumped to a 4-0 lead in the final set, but Perper relentlessly battled back from two breaks down to even the score at 4-4. Three consecutive breaks of serve then ensued and, in the end, Lechemia finally held to take the match 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5.
“I am proud of the way the girls fought tonight. We did not do a very good job in the doubles, but came back and were so close to pulling off what would have been a big upset,” said head coach Daryl Greenan. “After earning three straight set wins, it came down to (Alexandra) Perper’s match. After going down 4-0 in the third, she dug deep to get back to 5-5 in a position to win. Unfortunately, we came out on the losing end of a very exciting match. We can take a lot of positives out of the match and it is evidence we are on the right track.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ next match will be this Sunday, April 7, as they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to face the second-ranked Lady Gators of Florida. The match is set to begin at 9 a.m. CT. Updates for MSU matches can be found on Twitter at @mstateWT. Live stats can be found on hailstate.com.
#29 SOUTH CAROLINA 4, MISSISSIPPI STATE 3
April 5, 2013 – Columbia, SC
1. Josefin Andersson/Katerina Popova (USC) def. #56 Alexandra Perper/Naomi Tran (MSU) 8-2
2. Elixane Lechemia/Ximena Siles Luna vs. Georgiana Patrasc/Roseline Dion (MSU) 6-3, susp.
3. Alex Martin/Adriana Pereira (USC) def. Petra Ferancova/Lien Van Geel (MSU) 8-3
1. #98 Katerina Popova (SC) def. #124 Georgiana Patrasc (MSU) 6-4, 6-0
2. Elizane Lechemia (SC) def. Alexandra Perper (MSU) 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5
3. Naomi Tran (MSU) def. Ximena Siles Luna (SC) 6-3, 6-4
4. Josefin Andersson (SC) def. Petra Ferancova (MSU) 7-5, 6-2
5. Roseline Dion (MSU) def. Adriana Pereira (SC) 7-5, 6-3
6. Lien Van Geel (MSU) def. Alex Martin (SC) 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1) Singles (6,1,4,3,5,2)