STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fueled by one of the most outstanding rookie campaigns in Mississippi State men’s tennis history, Florian Lakat earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors, as well places on the All-SEC Second and Freshman teams, the conference announced Thursday.
The Paris, France, native, who is ranked 60th in the latest ITA National Singles Rankings, becomes the third Bulldog to earn the league’s Freshman of the Year honor and the fifth to be named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in school history.
On the singles court, the MSU freshman has been dominant, spending all his matches at either the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the lineup. Lakat’s 21 victories for the 2013-14 year and 15 dual match wins place second on the squad, while his 12 wins at the No. 1 position this spring stand third in the conference and first in the SEC amongst freshmen. Six of his spring triumphs have come against ranked opponents, with his highest being a straight-sets victory against No. 49 Connor Glennon of Memphis, helping propel MSU to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship earlier in the season.
In doubles, Lakat has garnered 13 wins, with nine of those coming in the spring with teammate Tassilo Schmid. Six of those 13 wins have come at the No. 2 spot in the lineup, while the duo is also a perfect 3-0 in matches played at the top spot this spring. The tandem has one ranked victory on the season, coming against Notre Dame’s 46th-ranked team of Josh Hagar and Billy Pecor at the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The Bulldog tandem has also clinched a team-leading eight doubles points for the Bulldogs this season.
Lakat’s spring has been highlighted by his four SEC Freshman of the Week honors, which tied now-senior Malte Stropp’s record set in 2011. State’s dominant freshman has been a mainstay in the ITA National Rankings throughout the season, with his highest ranking coming at No. 52.
Lakat and the rest of the Maroon and White are awaiting word to see where MSU will land in the 2014 NCAA Championship, which begins May 9-11 with first and second round action. The selections will be announced April 29, at 4 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.
“We’re really proud of Florian [Lakat] for being named SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as for his All-SEC honors,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “It’s a testament to how hard he has worked this season to keep getting better everyday. He’s been essential to our success this year and we’re looking forward to watching him develop in his time here at State.”