MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Despite solid showings from its three returnees, the 11th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis Bulldogs (9-3) fell to the No. 37 VCU Rams (9-4) 4-3 in the opening round of the 2014 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs will now face No. 28 Auburn on Saturday, with the match slated to begin at 4 p.m. CT.
For the first time in seven matches, the Bulldogs did not come into singles with the lead, dropping the doubles point with losses on courts one and two. The VCU duo of Wilder Pimentel and Michal Voscek struck first for the Rams, downing MSU’s Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid 6-1 at the No. 2 spot. VCU’s Alexis Huegas and Nick Jones took a 6-2 victory from State’s 55th-ranked tandem of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp at the top position to give the Rams the 1-0 lead.
Singles looked to be the Bulldogs’ strong point once play got underway, with MSU taking four of the six first sets. However, the Rams were able to split sets on the last three courts to put the pressure on State.
The MSU sophomore Angus, ranked 115th nationally, put the first point on the board for State, defeating VCU’s Voscek 6-5(7), 6-3 on court three to tie the overall match at 1-1. VCU responded quickly with a straight-sets win on court one, with Alexis Huegas defeating MSU’s 52nd-ranked Florian Lakat 6-5(3), 6-3.
The Bulldogs seemed to be swinging the momentum when their two seniors picked up victories to earn a 3-2 MSU lead. No. 49 Stropp came back from a dropped first set, defeating VCU’s Jones 4-6, 6-5(3), 6-4 on court two. State’s White gave the Maroon and White the lead with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 triumph on court four against the Rams’ Argente.
Play then came down to the last two courts, where State had taken the first set but the Rams rallied for wins. VCU’s Pimentel defeated MSU’s Schmid 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 6 position to tie the match at 3-3, leaving the MSU freshman Agarwal to try and clinch the match for State. After a hold, Agarwal needed a break to force a deciding tiebreaker, but fell to VCU’s Mateo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to give VCU the win.
For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis and updates throughout the 2014 Blue Gary National Tennis Classic, fans can follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@HailStateMT), Facebook (HailStateMT) and Instagram (HailStateMT).
No. 37 VCU 4, No. 11 Mississippi State 3
February 21, 2014 – Lagoon Park – Montgomery, Ala.
1) Huegas (VCU) def. No. 52 Lakat (MSU) 6-5(3), 6-3
2) No. 49 Stropp (MSU) def. Jones (VCU) 4-6, 6-5(3), 6-4
3) No. 115 Angus (MSU) def. Voscek (VCU) 6-5(7), 6-3
4) White (MSU) def. Argente (VCU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
5) Mateo (VCU) def. Agarwal (MSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
6) Pimentel (VCU) def. Schmid (MSU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish… Doubles (2,1)… Singles (3,1,2,4,6,5)