STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fresh off a weekend that saw victories against two top-30 squads and a ticket punched to the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, the Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (4-0) entered this week’s ITA National Rankings at No. 10 in the country.
The top-10 appearance comes after MSU defeated No. 26 Harvard, 4-3, and No. 21 Memphis, 4-2, in the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre to advance to the 2014 ITA National Indoors in Houston, Texas, Feb. 13-16. Prior to the Kick-Off Weekend, the Bulldogs opened the 2014 campaign with a doubleheader sweep of Jackson State and Alabama State.
MSU, who began the season ranked 14th in the nation, has now entered the top 10 for the third-straight season and for the 12th week overall since Per Nilsson took over the squad in 2008.
“I’m very proud of our guys for how they’ve started off the season,” Nilsson said. “To get into the top 10 shows how hard they have worked. Now we’ve got to hit the road and take on two tough opponents and keep on improving.”
MSU joins four other SEC squads in the ITA top 10, while a total of nine teams from the conference rank in the top 25.
Angus Named SEC Player Of The Week
After a stellar performance in the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which included defeating two ranked opponents, Mississippi State men’s tennis sophomore Jordan Angus was named the SEC Player of the Week, the league announced Wednesday.
Angus moved to 4-0 on the season after victories against 81st-ranked Sebastian Beltrame of Harvard and 87th-ranked Johnny Grimal of Memphis. After falling in the first set on Saturday against Beltrame, Angus closed out the weekend winning four-straight sets, including a second-set tiebreaker victory against Grimal. The triumphs helped propel MSU to the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, which is set for Feb. 13-16 in Houston, Texas.
“It feels really good to be named SEC Player of the Week,” Angus said. “It’s always good to be awarded for your hard work and I just want to keep trying to impress and help this great team as much as I can.”
The London, England, native is the fifth Bulldog under head coach Per Nilsson to receive such an honor and the 13th in the school history since the league award started in 2000. Angus joins teammate Florian Lakat as the two Bulldogs to receive conference honors so far this season, with Lakat being named SEC Freshman of the Week after the season-opening weekend.
“Really proud of Jordan (Angus) and what he has accomplished since he has arrived here at MSU,” Nilsson said. “It’s a great honor for a player to receive this award and we look forward to watching him continue to grow on and off the court.”
The Bulldogs will now hit the road for the first time this season, as they head to Lubbock, Texas. State will face No. 53 Texas Tech on Friday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. CT, and Rice on Saturday, Feb. 1, at noon.