STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the first time in 2014, the 10th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (4-0) will hit the road, traveling to Lubbock, Texas, this weekend to take on the 53rd-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1) and the Rice Owls (2-2) in a pair of non-conference clashes.
State will begin the weekend road trip taking on Texas Tech on Friday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs will then battle the Owls on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 12 p.m.
MSU enters the weekend after defeating two top 30 opponents in No. 26 Harvard and No. 21 Memphis to advance to the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Houston, Texas, Feb. 13-16. The wins also propelled MSU into the top 10 of the ITA National Rankings for the third-straight season.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs is the duo of senior Malte Stropp, ranked 39th nationally, and freshman Florian Lakat, ranked 63rd. Stropp is 2-0 on the season in singles play, including a straight-sets defeat of Memphis’ No. 56 Joe Salisbury to clinch MSU’s ITA Kick-Off championship match victory last Sunday. Lakat, who is 3-1, has played all matches from the top spot in the lineup, including a victory against Memphis’ No. 49 Connor Glennon.
Anchoring the Bulldogs in the middle of the lineup is sophomore Jordan Angus and senior Zach White. Angus, who was named SEC Player of the Week following the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend, is off to a hot 4-0 start this year, with two wins against ranked opponents. White enters the weekend with a 3-1 record and after clinching State’s dramatic 4-3 victory last Saturday against No. 26 Harvard.
Rounding out the Maroon and White in singles has been two newcomers to the MSU program. Freshman Rishab Agarwal has his collegiate career off to a great start, going 3-1 to open the season, all at the No. 5 position. Junior college transfer Tassilo Schmid has seen playing time at No. 4, 5 and 6 positions in the early part of the dual match slate, going 3-0.
In doubles, State will feature the 52nd-ranked duo of Angus and Stropp at the top spot. The tandems of freshman Egbert Weverink and White, and Lakat and Schmid, rounded out doubles play for MSU at last weekend’s ITA Kick-Off.
For the Red Raiders, a pair of ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team will lead the way into the weekend. No. 65 Hugo Dojas and No. 101 Felipe Soares, and the 33rd-ranked squad of Dojas and Maxime Hinnisdaels, headline a TTU squad which opened the season with wins against UT-San Antonio and No. 60 Nebraska, before falling to No. 2 UCLA last weekend.
The Rice Owls enter the weekend on a two-match winning streak, defeating UT-Arlington and Prairie View A&M last weekend.
State will return home to Starkville and the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre after the weekend trip to Lubbock. The Bulldogs will face No. 66 Samford and Alcorn State Sunday, Feb. 9, in a doubleheader matchup at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. that afternoon.