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    SEC Men's Tennis Notebook

     

    Alabama
    The Alabama men’s tennis team improved to 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC with a hard-fought 4-3 win on the road over in-state rival Auburn last week. The Crimson Tide got off to a hot start by winning its first two doubles matches on courts two and three to clinch the doubles point. The teams then traded points in singles, setting up for the clincher to come down to the matchup on court three, where No. 79 Becker O’Shaughnessey outlasted No. 85 Lukas Ollert in three sets, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1. The Tide freshman has now won six singles matches in a row and is undefeated in conference play at 4-0. This week, Alabama will host Florida and South Carolina. Friday’s match against the Gators will start at 3 p.m. CT while Sunday’s match with the Gamecocks is slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT.
     
    Arkansas
    The No. 46 University of Arkansas men's tennis team dropped its lone match of the weekend at Texas A&M 7-0. The Razorbacks move to 11-8 in and 0-5 in conference play. Arkansas will play UT Pan American on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in College Station, Texas. The Razorbacks will be back at home this coming weekend hosting Ole Miss and Mississippi State. 
     
    Auburn
    The Auburn Tigers fell to 10-5, 2-3 SEC after their lone match last week, a 4-3 loss to Alabama on Saturday at the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center. The Tigers have failed to clinch the doubles point in just three of their 15 matches this season, all leading to 4-3 losses in conference play. Senior Andreas Mies improved to 4-1 in league play with a win at the No. 1 spot, and junior Dennis Lengsfeld and senior Lucas Lopasso also picked up wins for the Tigers. Auburn stays at home this week to take on South Carolina (2 p.m. Friday) and Florida (1 p.m. Sunday).
     
    Florida
    Florida earned a split on the road last weekend, losing to No. 5 Georgia and beating No. 6 Tennessee. On Friday, the Gators were shut out in Athens, losing 4-0 to the Bulldogs. Gordon Watson and Billy Federhofer paired up to win their doubles match on court two, but it would be the only match UF would win on the day. On Sunday in Knoxville, Florida used a strong doubles performance to build momentum and upset No. 6 Tennessee, 4-3. Florent Diep and Luke Johnson won, 8-5, at No. 3 doubles and Watson and Federhofer clinched the point with a 9-7 win at No. 2. Stephane Piro and Federhofer won in singles, and freshman Luke Johnson pulled out a three-set win at No. 6 singles to secure the victory. UF hits the road again this weekend, traveling to Alabama on Friday and Auburn on Sunday.
     
    Georgia
    The fifth-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team posted a sweep of some SEC East opponents this weekend, defeating No. 35 Florida 4-0 on Friday before downing No. 32 South Carolina by a 5-2 score Sunday in Athens. The Bulldogs used the wins to improve to 12-4 (4-1) on the season, now winners of seven of their last eight outings and remaining undefeated at 9-0 at home on 2013. Freshman Ben Wagland led the way this weekend, going 4-0 in his matches for the second time in three weeks and adding a team-high fifth match clincher of the season vs. USC. Against the Gators, Georgia secured the doubles point and got wins at Nos. 3,4 and 6 singles, while vs. the Gamecocks, UGA again took doubles before getting three wins from three freshmen to clinch it. The Bulldogs are back in action on the road this weekend, traveling to Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
     
    Kentucky
    No. 10 Kentucky completed the Mississippi swing this weekend, coming out of the weekend 2-0 with a 4-1 win over No. 4 Ole Miss and a 4-2 win over No. 13 Mississippi State. Kentucky now sits at 16-4 overall and stands tied atop the SEC standings with a 4-1 in-conference record. No. 31 Anthony Rossi picked up the clinching match on Sunday over No. 18 Romain Bogearts 7-6 (3), 6-3 of MSU. Rossi's doubles partner, Grant Roberts went 4-0 on the weekend as well. In Friday's 4-1 win at Ole Miss, freshman Kevin Lai clinched the match as he moved to 9-0 on the year, picking up his first-career SEC win. UK returns home for its final seven-match homestand on Friday as No. 10 Kentucky will welcome in No. 8 Tennessee and No. 5 Georgia.
     
    LSU
    LSU hosts Ole Miss on Friday at 3 pm CT and Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 pm CT.
     
    Ole Miss
    After beginning spring break with wins over No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Tennessee and No. 19 Baylor, the Rebels suffered consecutive losses to No. 10 Kentucky and No. 23 Vanderbilt to fall to 11-4 overall, 4-2 in the SEC.  With the win over Baylor, the Rebels improved to 3-1 in the series.  The loss to Vanderbilt snapped a nine match win streak for the Rebels against the Commodores.  The Rebels are back on the road this weekend at LSU and Arkansas.  Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen are 12-2 at No. 1 doubles and 4-1 in the SEC.  Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom are 4-1 since moving to No. 2 doubles and are 5-1 in the SEC.
     
    Mississippi State
    The Bulldogs dropped both matches in close battles this past weekend, as they capped off a four-match homestand against No. 23 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Kentucky. Individually, freshman Jordan Angus won both of his weekend matches to improve his dual match win total to a team-leading 14 wins, continuing to build one of the best seasons by an MSU freshman in recorded history. Junior Malte Stropp defeated No. 54 Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt to pick up his 12th win of the spring and improve to 2-1 in SEC play. Together, the 14th-ranked duo of Angus and Stropp earned their seventh win of the season and 5th against a ranked opponent as they defeated Kentucky's No. 23 tandem of Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai. The Bulldog team fought back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Jomby and Lai 9-8(0), helping MSU capture the doubles point for the 8th time this season. State will now hit the road for the weekend, as they face No. 46 Arkansas Friday (1 p.m. CT) and No. 68 LSU Sunday (1 p.m.).
     
    South Carolina
    South Carolina is 11-7 on the season, suffering its first losses in SEC action over the weekend. The Gamecocks' losses have all come to teams ranked inside the top 50 at the time of the match with just one coming to a team currently ranked outside the top 26. The Gamecocks gave Tennessee a battle in terms of individual matches being close, but the Vols dominated the final team tally. Sophomore Kyle Koch continued his strong play that began in the Gamecocks' win over Florida (March 8). He won all four of the matches in which he competed last weekend, improving to 3-0 in singles play in SEC matches. In singles, he scored his first career win over a nationally ranked opponent, coming back from a set down to defeat No. 101 Hernus Pieters of Georgia on Sunday. He teamed with Harry Menzies in the No. 2 doubles spot to score a pair of wins against nationally ranked duos over the weekend, including Sunday's late surge to upend the 39th-ranked duo in the nation. Koch leads the Gamecocks with 16 singles wins this season and is tied with Tsvetan Mihov and Thiago Pinheiro for the team lead with 10 wins in dual-match action.
     
    Tennessee
    The Vols (15-6, 2-3 SEC) returned home for the first time in nearly two months over the weekend, beating South Carolina 4-1 and losing to Florida 4-3. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese again provided winning efforts at the top of the lineup, winning all of their matches over the weekend. Libietis has been unbeaten at the top of the lineup since the start of the SEC season with a 3-0 record and is now 28-4 overall. Reese enjoyed a 2-0 weekend at the No. 2 position and improved his season record to 24-6. Libietis, Reese and Brandon Fickey each have at least 20 wins in both singles and doubles. Together, Libietis and Reese are 4-0 since teaming up again in doubles at the top of the lineup. This week, the Vols take on Kentucky on the road and Vanderbilt at home.
     
    Texas A&M
    Texas A&M improves to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference. No. 11 Texas A&M went 1-2 on the week, dropping contests to top-ranked Virginia and 68th-ranked LSU and picking up a win against 46th-ranked Arkansas. All the matches were played in College Station.  The Aggies lost to the Cavaliers, 6-1, on Wednesday evening. On Friday, Texas A&M dropped a heart-breaker to LSU, losing 4-3, falling in a third-set tiebreaker in the final match. The Aggies got back on track by sweeping the Razorbacks, 7-0, on Sunday afternoon. Texas A&M is now 6-3 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, 5-1 on the road and 2-3 at neutral sites.  The Aggies improve to 10-7 against nationally ranked opponents. The Maroon and White don’t have a match this week, but take on No. 2 USC on Monday, March 25 in Los Angeles.
     
    Vanderbilt
    No. 23 Vanderbilt (13-4, 4-1) recorded two wins over top 15 teams on the road over the weekend. On Friday, the Commodores took down No. 13 Mississippi State, 4-3, and then No. 4 Ole Miss, 4-3, on Sunday to cap off a great weekend. At Mississippi State, the Commodores started the match by winning the doubles point to take an early advantage that would eventually turn out to be the difference-maker. Ryan Lipman, Kris Yee and Rhys Johnson each recorded wins in singles. Lipman defeated No. 18 Romain Bogaerts, 6-3, 6-3, while Johnson’s win clinched the victory for Vanderbilt. Against Ole Miss, the Commodores had to regroup after dropping the doubles point. Vanderbilt would do just that, by winning four of the six singles matches and for the second-straight match it was Johnson who clinched the win. Vanderbilt returns home to face Georgia next Friday, March 22, at 2 p.m., followed by a match at Tennessee on Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m.