STARKVILLE, Miss. – After countless days of training and preparation, the 10th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (16-9) will open the 2013 NCAA Team Championship Friday, May 10, with a 1 p.m. CT, first round match against the Austin Peay Governors (17-3) at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.
The Bulldogs and the Governors will begin play following the day’s initial first-round match between No. 27 Harvard (18-5) and No. 63 Samford (15-9), scheduled to start at 10 a.m. CT Friday. The winners of the two Friday matches are slated to meet in the second round Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, for the right to advance to the round of 16 in Champaign, Ill., on May 16.
An all-tournament pass for the two-day event is $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Single-day tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Tickets may be purchased in advance through the MSU Athletic Ticket Office or on site. Call 1-662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS or visit online at www.hailstate.com/tickets for advance purchase.
In the event of inclement weather, competition could be moved indoors to MSU's McCarthy Gymnasium. In that situation, tickets will still be required for entry and will be available on the west side of the McCarthy Gym. Suggested parking is in the campus lots immediately south of McCarthy Gym.
MSU is the No. 10 national seed in the 64-team NCAA Championship field, which concludes with four rounds in Champaign, Ill., May 16-21. The top 10 national seed marks the second-straight season and seventh in school history that the Bulldogs have earned one of the top 10 seeds in the NCAA Team Championship.
“We’re really excited about hosting for a second-straight season,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “”It’s a great opportunity for our guys and we’ve been preparing for what is always a very tough tournament.”
State is making its third-straight NCAA Championship appearance and its 22nd in program history. The Bulldogs are also hosting the First/Second Rounds for the second-straight season. As a top 16 national seed, MSU hopes to earn its way to the round of 16, a feat the Bulldogs have accomplished 10 times in its illustrious history, but not since 2001.
The Bulldogs enter NCAA play with a 16-9 record, while going 6-6 in SEC play. State has accomplished its third-straight winning season under Nilsson, which was highlighted by 14 wins against ranked opponents and an impressive 6-1 (.857) road record, the best road winning percentage in recorded MSU history.
The Bulldogs are led by freshman Romain Bogaerts, ranked 6th in the nation, and junior Malte Stropp, ranked 57th in the nation. Bogaerts, the SEC Freshman of the Year and an All-SEC First Team selection, has put together a 15-6 dual match record, while finishing SEC play at 6-3. Stropp, who earned an All-SEC Second Team honor, went 13-7 in the spring, with four wins coming against ranked opponents.
Following in the lineup is the senior-freshman combo of James Chaudry and Jordan Angus, who both hail from England. Chaudry, one of two State seniors, has picked up 10 wins in his final spring at State. Meanwhile, Angus leads all Bulldogs with 16 wins in the dual match season.
Rounding out the MSU lineup is junior Zach White and freshman Pedro Dumont. White picked up eight wins this spring, with six coming against SEC foes. Dumont, who is currently on a five-match winning streak, is 12-5 this spring with a 7-2 SEC record.
In doubles, the No. 13 tandem of Angus and Stropp will lead the pack. The duo, which was selected to participate in doubles play at the 2013 NCAA Individual Championships, have earned nine wins this season, including defeating the nation’s top team of Dan Cochrane and Andreas Mies of Auburn on March 1 of this season. Following behind is the duos of Dumont and Ethan Wilkinson, with Bogaerts and White wrapping up doubles for State.
Hailing from Clarksville, Tenn., the Austin Peay Governors are making their first appearance in the NCAA Championship in school history. The Govs come to Starkville after winning their first Ohio Valley Conference title since 1974. APSU is 17-3 on the season and has won 17 of its last 18 matches, with the one conference loss coming to Tennessee Tech, who MSU defeated 5-0 earlier this season. State is 6-0 all-time against the Governors.
For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt). Full information on the Starkville tournament can be found at www.HailState.com/NCAAtennis.
2013 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship First and Second Rounds
May 10-11, 2013 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
5/10/13 - First Round
Match 1 (10 a.m. CT) – #27 Harvard vs. #63 Samford
Match 2 (not before 1 p.m. CT) – #10 Mississippi State vs. Austin Peay
5/11/13 - Second Round
Match 3 (1 p.m.) - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner
Schedule subject to change