No. 3 Seed State Tennis To Face No. 6 Seed Vols In SEC Quarterfinals
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's third-seeded and ninth-ranked men's tennis squad (18-5, 9-2 SEC) is set to face the sixth-seeded and 16th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (14-12, 5-6 SEC) Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament at MSU's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Match time is set for 11 a.m. CT.
In the second match on opening day at the tournament, the Vols downed No. 11 seed Alabama 4-1 to advance to the quarters against the Bulldogs.
A trio of seniors lead the charge in singles for MSU including 10th-ranked Artem Ilyushin, No. 44 Louis Cant and 55th-ranked George Coupland. Ilyushin, earning his first career top-10 ranking this past week, finished 9-2 in SEC play this season with seven wins against opponents in the top-40. The three seniors combined to earn a 26-7 slate in conference action this spring.
Also in the rankings for MSU is 68th-ranked sophomore Malte Stropp who has compiled six conference wins this season while competing on court 3.
In doubles, the 35th-ranked pair of Coupland and Ilyushin lead the charge while No. 44 Cant and Stropp follow closely behind. Both duos have earned a top-15 ranking in their career.
The Vols are led by 32nd-ranked freshman Mikelis Libietis followed closely by No. 80 Hunter Reese. In doubles, Libietis and Reese have earned a No. 10 national ranking at this point in the season.
State is hosting the SEC Men's Tennis Championship for the first time since 2000.
Friday's quarterfinals begin at 8 a.m. CT when the No. 2 seed and fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs take on 17th-ranked Auburn, the No. 7 seed who downed South Carolina in the opening match of the tournament Thursday. After State and Tennessee meet in Friday's second affair, the third match of the day will pit top-seeded and sixth-ranked Kentucky against No. 8 LSU/No. 9 Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. The last quarterfinal will feature No. 4 seed and 10th-ranked Florida versus No. 5 Ole Miss/No. 12 Arkansas at 5 p.m.
Live stats will be available through www.hailstate.com/SECtennis. Also, follow @SECTennis on Twitter for tournament updates.