STARKVILLE, Miss. – After wrapping up its 2014 home season last weekend, the Mississippi State women’s tennis team will close out the regular season on the road this weekend, facing Missouri on Friday (5 p.m. CT) and No. 10 Texas A&M on Sunday (Noon CT).
The Bulldogs will enter the weekend with a 9-12 overall record, 1-10 in SEC action. The team is led by sophomore Georgiana Patrasc, who remained at No. 66 in the latest ITA singles rankings this week. The doubles tandem of senior Alexandra Perper and junior Naomi Tran also remained in the national doubles rankings, coming in at No. 56 this week.
Missouri (6-19 overall, 0-11 SEC) is led Cierra Gaytan-Leach, who comes in at 11-10 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. Her most recent win came over 94th-ranked Eve Repic of Tennessee on Mar. 28, giving her three wins over ranked opponents this season. The Bulldogs are 2-0 against the Tigers all-time after MU joined the SEC last season, defeating them last season at home and in the first round of the SEC Championship, which MSU hosted a few days later.
Texas A&M (15-5 overall, 8-3 SEC) is a familiar foe for MSU, as the Aggies and Bulldogs have already clashed once this season in the ITA Kick-Off Classic in College Station on Jan. 19. Eighth-ranked Cristina Stancu leads the Aggies with a 10-match win streak, and is 7-0 in the SEC. Stancu is also the team leader in doubles, as she and Stefania Hristov are ranked No. 23 nationally with a 21-8 overall record, including 6-1 in SEC matches. Freshman Saska Gavrilovska and sophomore Anna Mamalat are also ranked at No. 65 and No. 118 in the latest singles rankings, respectively.
“It’s going to be a grind,” said head coach Daryl Greenan, on wrapping up the regular season on the road. “It’s a long bus trip up to Missouri, then we fly down to Texas A&M and then back up to Missouri for the SEC Tournament early next week. But we’ve been at home for a couple of weeks and our girls have been rested and I think we should respond well.”
Following this weekend’s action, the Bulldogs will travel back to Columbia for the 2014 SEC Women’s Tennis Championship, which will begin on Wednesday, Apr. 16. Times and opponents for the tournament matches will be announced Sunday night following the completion of all regular season competition.
For more information on the Mississippi State women’s tennis team, fans can follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (@HailStateWT), Facebook (HailStateWT) and Instagram (HailStateWT).