No. 16 MSU Faces No. 40 South Carolina In Final Road Match Sunday
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Looking to rebound after a tough loss to 15th-ranked Florida on Friday at home, the 16th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis team (17-8, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) travels to Columbia, S.C., Sunday to take on No. 40 South Carolina (12-10, 4-5 SEC) in its final SEC road match of the season. The match is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CT at the Carolina Tennis Center.
State’s singles attack has been led by the play of freshman Florian Lakat, ranked 67th nationally, and senior Malte Stropp, ranked 114th nationally. Lakat enters Sunday having won three of his last four matches and nearly grabbing another win Friday, as he was a game away from beating UF’s No. 78 Gordon Watson when the team match was suspended. Stropp, who is one of MSU’s two senior leaders, has racked up 14 wins for the 2013-14 season, with eight of those coming in dual match play.
In the middle for State has been the squad’s other senior, Zach White, and sophomore Jordan Angus. Playing most his matches from either the No. 3 or No. 4 positions this season, White has earned 12 victories. Angus, who currently holds a team-best six-match winning streak, also leads the squad with 21 victories for the overall year, as well in dual match wins with 16.
A trio of Bulldogs have anchored MSU’s lineup for the year. Freshman Rishab Agarwal has been a staple at the fifth spot, having won seven of his last nine matches, while putting together a 13-6 record. Junior Tassilo Schmid and freshman Robin Haden have split time at the No. 6 position throughout the year, with Schmid going 11-3, tying Angus for team best winning streak at six matches. Haden, one of the three Bulldog freshmen to see extensive time in the singles lineup, has four wins throughout the dual match slate.
Doubles has been led by the 63rd-ranked tandem of Angus and Stropp, who earned their second-straight victory on Friday, moving their win total to 16 on the season. The duos of Lakat and Schmid (9-11 for the spring) and Agarwal and White (10-6 for the spring) round out the order.
The Gamecocks enter their Senior Day match after a come-from-behind victory against No. 50 Ole Miss on Friday, giving them their fifth win in six matches. Tsvetan Mihov, ranked 88th in singles play, leads USC with a 16-16 record for the year. The No. 51 team of Chip Cox and Kyle Koch spearhead the Gamecocks’ doubles attack, putting together seven wins for 2013-14.
MSU closes out the regular season next Sunday, April 13, as it plays host to No. 10 Texas A&M in a key SEC battle at 12 p.m. CT for Senior Day and part of Super Bulldog Weekend. For complete event times and ticket information, visit the official 2014 Super Bulldog Weekend web page, which can also be reached by visiting www.HailState.com/sbw.