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    Thursday SEC Tennis Scoreboard

    No. 15 Aggies down No. 56 Rice, 6-1

    HOUSTON, Texas – The 15th ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team improved to 6-0 on the year after defeating 56th ranked Rice, 6-1, at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium this afternoon in Houston. With the loss, Rice falls to 2-4 on the season. The Aggies match their best start in 14 seasons when the 1999 team also started 6-0.

    “This team has been road warriors over the last few weeks. I was very pleased with how we fought and competed today both in singles and doubles. We had an opportunity to get Niall (Angus) and Behzad (Minavi) some playing time today which will pay dividends down the road. I know the guys are excited about getting to play our home opener against Ohio State on Sunday in front of the 12th Man. It should be an exciting match.”

    Texas A&M got off to another quick start as the duo of Jordan Szabo and Jeremy Efferding defeated Phillip Seifert and Gustavo Gonzalez, 8-3, from the No. 2 doubles line. Moments later, Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow bested Tommy Bennett and Adam Gustafsson, 8-6, to clinch the doubles point for Texas A&M. The tandem of Ore and Withrow now lead the team in wins at 5-0 while Szabo and Efferding are close behind at 4-0. Freshmen Shane Vinsant kept the Aggies momentum rolling into singles play by quickly defeating Phillip Seifert, 6-0, 6-2, at the No. 3 position to increase Texas A&M’s lead to 2-0. Shortly after, 87th ranked sophomore Jordan Szabo overwhelmed Gustavo Gonzalez, 6-1, 6-2, from the No. 5 slot to boost the lead to 3-0. Texas A&M was able to clinch the match behind the racket of junior Junior Ore when he beat Adam Gustaffson, 6-3, 6-2, from the No. 2 line.

    The Aggies were able to expand their lead to 5-0 when sophomore Behzad Minavi defeated Leif Berger, 6-4, 6-1, from the No. 6 position. Rice claimed its lone point on the afternoon when Tommy Bennett outlasted sophomore Jackson Withrow, 6-7 (4), 6-0, 1-0 (10-7), at the No. 4 line. 103rd ranked sophomore Jeremy Efferding rounded out the day with a win by defeating Jonathan Chang, 7-6 (5), 6-2, at the No. 1 position.

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    No. 10 Bulldogs Defeat No. 12 Rebels To Retain River Hills Cup
     
    JACKSON, Miss. – For the second consecutive year, the River Hills Cup is wrapped in Maroon and White. In an expectedly tough battle, the No. 10 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (5-0) defeated No. 12 Ole Miss (2-1) 4-2 Thursday night at River Hills Club to retain the trophy in a match that lasted nearly six hours.
     
    The Bulldogs have now won four straight against their in-state foes, who are the preseason coaches pick to win the Southeastern Conference in 2013. Four of State’s five wins in 2013 have come over top 30 teams and MSU’s 5-0 start is the program’s best since 1998’s NCAA Semifinal team started 7-0.
     
    “I thought it was an amazing match,” head coach Per Nillson said. “They’re not easy to beat and they have a really good team. This is a huge win for our team and also for our freshmen.”
     
    State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by capturing the doubles point to start the match. MSU’s duo of Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson, playing at the No. 2 spot, dropped their match to the No. 25-ranked UM team of William Kallberg and Adrian Skogeng  8-3, giving the Rebels the early advantage.
     
    However, the Bulldogs would not relent, grabbing an impressive 8-5 victory on court one from the No. 28 duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp against Ole Miss’ No. 43 Jonas Lutjen and Nik Scholtz. The MSU freshmen duo of Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont would then follow with the clinching win against UM’s Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark 8-6 on court three.
     
    Singles play would provide even more excitement between the two in-state rivals. State would build a 3-0 lead in the match before Ole Miss fought back to make things interesting late.
     
    MSU’s junior Stropp, ranked 81st in the nation, would be the first to finish, pulling a major upset against No. 5 Lutjen of Ole Miss at No. 2. Stropp took the first set, but Lutjen forced a deciding set in the match, which Stropp would take with ease, posting a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory. Stropp is now 5-0 this season in singles.
     
    State’s second singles victory would come from top freshman, No. 25 Bogaerts, at the No. 1 spot in the lineup. The MSU newcomer, now 5-0 this season, captured the first set, but Scholtz fired back to take the second, forcing a third and final set. The two stars would battle it out, with MSU’s Bogaerts finally taking the match 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
     
    At that point, State senior James Chaudry was in a fierce battle with No. 95 Kallberg in a tight three-setter at the No. 3 spot trying to clinch the match. Despite earning several match points in the third set, Chaudry would drop a very tough decision, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(8).
     
    That setback would extend play well into the evening between the two teams, with State leading 3-1. The Bulldogs would rely on the play of their other three freshmen to find the final victory they needed.
     
    At the No. 5 position, State’s Dumont faced off against UM’s Lindmark, but fell 6-4, 6-3, leaving MSU rookies Angus and Stefan Vinti still on court.
     
    Angus fell behind a set early and it looked as if Vinti would provide the deciding point of the match after blowing past Adrian Skogeng 6-0 in his first set.
     
    But Angus started battling back against Backstrom at the No. 4 position and rallied to claim a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 triumph to clinch the team victory for the Bulldogs. The rookie improved to 5-0 on the season with the victory.
     
    After the match was clinched, Vinti was still up a set and tight in the second with Skogeng when play was suspended.