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    SEC Sunday Afternoon Tennis Report

    Gators Blanks Mississippi State in Regular Season Home Finale

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gators capped their regular-season home slate with a 4-0 victory against Mississippi State at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on beautiful Sunday morning in Gainesville.
     
    The Gators (17-2, 10-1 SEC) won the doubles point before junior Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.), junior Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and freshman Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) turned in singles victories to secure the dual match win.
     
    “We were good in doubles, especially at positions one and two,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Singles was some good and some lost focus a little bit, but overall I was happy about the weekend. It’s getting close to the end of Spring and the fitness is really coming along. We’re moving really well, but I think we lost focus a little bit today.”
     
    The win was Florida’s 10th consecutive overall victory, as well as its 119th straight win at home and its 124th regular-season win at home which includes a 12-0 home record this year.
     
    Included among the astonishing home win streak is the 53-0 dual match home record compiled with the help of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium), Florida’s two seniors who were honored in a pre-match ceremony.
     
    “It was special, for Caroline and I to come out and get a win in doubles and almost get a win in singles is great,” Embree said. “It was a good team win by everybody. It was bitter sweet that this is coming to an end. We’ve both had great careers at Florida and really thankful and blessed for the support that we’ve both had these four years. We’re not done yet so it’s not too sad, yet.”
     
    Janowicz gave Florida a 2-0 lead after she downed Petra Ferancova, 6-1, 6-1, in 54 minutes. The Gator junior, who was playing a season-high No. 4 in the lineup for the third time this year, needed just two breaks - in the second and sixth games - to win the opening set. Ferancova held to begin the second and halt Janowicz’s run of three straight games, but that was the only game she would earn during the second, as Janowicz ripped off the last six to claim her team-leading 29th singles victory of the season.
     
    Cercone downed Naomi Tran, 6-2, 6-0, on court three, as the Gator junior won her seventh straight singles match and improved to 21-7 overall, as well as 12-1 in dual match action. The two traded breaks early in the first set before Cercone captured breaks in the sixth and eighth games to take the first frame. She carried that momentum in the second set, where she continued her run and capped the victory winning the final 10 games.
     
    “She’s just solid,” praised Thornqvist of Cercone. “She makes very, very few unforced errors. The interesting thing with our whole team that we constantly talk about is that when we makes mistakes we play solid points after and that’s a mark of a championship team, when we don’t continue to give away points.”
     
    Collins provided the clinching dual match win when she clocked in a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Lien Van Geel on court six. The Gator rookie cruised during the opening set and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second. Van Geel finally got on the board with her serve in the fifth game, winning three straight before Collins held in the eighth game and earned one final break to take the victory.
     
    Florida won the doubles point for the 12th time this year, as Cercone and Hitimana blanked Georgiana Patrasc and Roseline Dion, 8-0, before the No. 20-ranked tandem of Embree and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) topped No. 65 Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran, 8-2, to clinch the initial team point of the dual match.
     
    The pair of Cercone and Hitimana were teaming for the just the fourth time this year and the first in dual match play, but didn’t show any lack of chemistry, as the Gators needed just 36 minutes to claim the first individual win of the afternoon.
     
    Two minutes later, the more veteran team of Embree and Oyen polished off their victory, as the Gators held serve throughout and earned early breaks in the third and fifth games for the big lead en route to the clinching doubles-point decision. Individually, Embree improved to 111-21 all-time on the doubles court, while the tandem is 10-2 this year overall and 20-3 all-time.
     
    Florida plays its final two regular-season matches on the road next weekend, when the Gators travel to Lexington on Friday, April 12 and face Kentucky, before heading to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt on Sunday, April 14.



    Aggies Roll Through Crimson Tide

    TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The 12th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team rolled to a 4-1 victory over the 35th-ranked Crimson Tide at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. With the win, the Aggies snap a four-match losing skid as they get set to return home for the final weekend slate of the season. The Maroon and White improve to 14-11 and 5-5 in SEC action while the Crimson Tide fall to 12-10 and 3-7 in conference action.
     
    “This was a big win for our confidence after we had lost a couple of close ones on the road,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “I’m proud of these guys for coming back after losing the doubles point. Shane and Jeremy played very well in their singles matches. This was a very big road win for this team.”
     
    For the fourth time in its past five matches, Texas A&M failed to claim the critical doubles point. Alabama claimed the first match in the doubles when the 25th-ranked tandem of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant’s late rally came up just short as they were upset by Becker O’Shaugnessey and Daniel Proskura, 8-5, at the No. 2 double line. The duo of Jordan Szabo and Jeremy Efferding won their doubles contest, 8-5, at the No. 3 line over Stuart Kenyon and Phillipe Tsangarides to make the deciding factor in doubles to come from the No. 1 line. The 11th-ranked pair of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore was pushed to a tiebreaker but couldn’t capitalize as they were upset by the No. 49-duo of Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra, 9-8 (7), allowing the Crimson Tide to claim the doubles point.
     
    The Maroon and White didn’t waste any time bouncing back, however, as Texas A&M won five-of-six first sets in singles. 93rd-ranked Vinsant took down Vieyra in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 4 line to tie the match, 1-1. 40th-ranked Efferding then gave the Aggies the lead for the first time on the afternoon when he bested 69th-ranked Botha, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 1 line. 118th-ranked Withrow pushed the lead to 3-1 when he ousted Stuart Kenyon, 7-5, 6-3, at the No. 5 line. Szabo then clinched the match for the Aggies at the No. 6 line after dropping his first set. The sophomore from Australia bested Harris Barnard, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, to secure the victory for the Aggies. This marked the first victory of the season where Texas A&M lost the doubles point but rallied to win four singles matches.
     
    Texas A&M will be in action again on Friday, April 12, when it returns home for the final weekend home stand of the regular season starting with Mississippi State. To learn more about the men’s tennis team and other Aggie sports, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.



    Georgia Clinches 35th SEC Title

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- The fourth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team used a road win over Arkansas Sunday to clinch at least a share of the 2013 Southeastern Conference regular-season championship. The Bulldogs defeated the No. 53 Razorbacks 4-1 at the Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, securing a 35th overall conference title and the program’s 27th regular-season crown – the most of any SEC school.
     
    For Manuel Diaz, it is the 22nd SEC championship in 25 seasons as Georgia’s head coach (14 regular season, eight tournament). Diaz also won four titles as a player and three as an assistant coach for a total of 29.
     
    Georgia has won eight SEC championships in the last eight years counting both regular-season and tournament crowns.
     
    “The guys did a great job of coming out refocused in singles,” Diaz said. “[After we lost doubles] they did a great job and have shown that they have tremendous focus when it’s needed most. While we need to do a better job in some areas, we also know three of our guys were sick today and I’m proud of them for coming out and competing the way they did. This is tremendous for our team.”
     
    Today’s win was Georgia’s league-leading eighth in a row and 12th of the last 13 as the squad improves to 17-4 on the year and 9-1 in the SEC with just two matches to play. Arkansas falls to 12-14 (0-11).
     
    After the Bulldogs dropped the doubles point to the Razorbacks with losses at Nos. 2 and 3, the team bounced back to take five of six first sets in singles play. The team score drew even at 1-1 as sophomore Nathan Pasha rolled to a quick 6-0, 6-1 win over Manfred Jeske at No. 2, and UGA took a 2-1 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 decision for Hernus Pieters over Mike Ward at No. 4.
     
    Georgia’s lead increased to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-4 win for freshman Marco Nunez over Santiago Munoz at No. 5, and junior Garrett Brasseaux sealed it with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Victor Hoang at No. 6 to make it 4-1. Incidentally, Brasseaux also clinched Georgia’s SEC title as a freshman in 2011 vs. South Carolina.
     
    The Bulldogs can clinch the title outright with a win vs. Auburn next Friday night, or with a Tennessee loss today. The Volunteers are currently playing at LSU.
     
    Georgia returns home to close out the 2013 regular-season slate against the Tigers and Alabama next weekend. The SEC Championships is set for April 18-21 in Oxford, Miss.
     
    “Auburn is playing some very good tennis,” Diaz said. “That will be tough match for us next Friday night. Then Sunday we have a good Alabama team coming in on Senior Day. We know the importance of finishing strong – we’re going to continue to work hard in some areas and that’s our focus right now.”



    Georgia Women Take Out Arkansas

    The No. 3 Georgia women's tennis team beat No. 50 Arkansas 7-0 Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, giving head coach Jeff Wallace his 600th career victory.
     
    Georgia took the doubles point and won all six singles matches to pick up a win in its regular season home finale. 
     
    “It was great to get a 7-0 victory,” said head coach Jeff Wallace.  “Lauren did a great job on court one, and it was a great player she was playing against.  It was great for her to finish that thing out.”
     
    In doubles, the 59th-ranked tandem of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase raced to an 8-2 victory over Yang Pang and Brittany Huxely on court 2.  Moments later on court 1, the fourth-ranked duo of Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia clinched the doubles point for Georgia by defeating No. 74 Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker 8-3.  Fuller and Garcia improved their record against ranked opponents to 6-1 on the season.  The No. 3 doubles match that pitted Lilly Kimbell and Ayaka Okuno versus Sarah McLean and Flavia Araujo went unfinished with the score at 4-4.  
     
    The Bulldogs took their hot start from the doubles point and never looked back.  Fuller turned in one the her best performances of the year by defeating Huxley 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 4 position.  Mia Kia then pushed the UGA lead to 3-0 when she defeated Jonker 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6.  At No. 5, Okuno sealed the victory for Georgia when she beat Araujo 6-2, 6-1.  The victory marked Okuno’s first career clinch. 
     
    Georgia continued its fantastic play on court 3 when 86th-ranked Garcia claimed a win over Mclean 6-2, 6-2. On court 2, 18th-ranked Kowase extended her team leading singles win streak to eleven as she beat 97th-ranked Paulson 6-2, 6-4.  Arkansas continued to fight at No. 1, but eighth-ranked Lauren Herring overcame 47th-ranked Pang 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5).  
     
    With the win, Wallace, who is the nation’s winningest active women’s tennis coach, picks up his 600th career win, a mark only accomplished by three women’s tennis coaches all-time. He is also now one of five coaches in UGA history to reach the 600-win plateau (A. Landers, 905, S. Yoculan, 834, L. Harris-Champer, 833, D. Magill, 706).
     
    “I am just happy I can be a part of it,” said Wallace on getting his 600th career win.  “I am just excited about what this team is accomplishing this year.  Maybe some day I can sit back and look at this, but now we have all of the most important stuff in front of us.  It is just a lot of fun to be here at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.  It is a wonderful experience to be able to play here in Athens at the University of Georgia.”
     
    Georgia travels to Auburn and Alabama next weekend to conclude its regular season slate.



    Lady Vols Pick Up Win on Senior Day

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  – On Senior Day at Barksdale Stadium, it was fitting that University of Tennessee senior Kata Szekely captured the match-winning point for the women’s tennis team in a 4-0 victory over Louisiana State University. 
     
    “It was amazing,” said Szekely. “During the match I was looking around and was like ‘oh I can actually clinch it today.’ It was a great feeling to get the team win.” 
     
    After winning the first set by a 6-4 score, Szekely was down 2-5 in the second set before she started a comeback that couldn’t have been scripted any more perfectly. 
     
    The senior forged ahead to knot the game at five-all and force a second set tiebreaker that she handedly won 7-2  to finish out her last match at home by a 6-4, 7-6 (2) score. 
     
    “I knew I could come back,” said Szekely. “In almost every game I lost I had a game point. It was not like I was so far off from coming back. Sonia just told me to stay positive, keep working, get up to the ball and be aggressive.” 
     
    “It was huge for her,” said co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick. “It was the icing on the cake. She wanted to do so well this weekend and sometimes that is a great thing and sometimes that is a difficult thing and she really pulled through. I am so proud of her.”
     
    With the victory, the Lady Vols improve to 10-8 on the year and 7-4 in SEC action while LSU drops to 8-14 and 1-12 in conference play. The Lady Vols finish out their home schedule with an 8-1 record. 
     
    Tennessee rolled in doubles action giving up just five games to the Tigers en route to earning the first point of the day. 
     
    The third ranked team in the nation of Brynn Boren and Szekely got the first win of the day for the Lady Vols downing their LSU opponents in an 8-1 win, their ninth straight. The nine straight doubles victories for the duo ties a season high recorded from Oct. 19 to Nov. 8, 2012.
     
    The duo has accounted for 34 doubles wins this season, 10th all-time on the UT single season doubles list. 
     
    After Boren and Szekely, Caitlyn Williams and Jesse Grace picked up their first win as a doubles pair with an 8-2 victory on court three to get the Lady Vols on the board. 
     
    The momentum continued into singles play for Grace as she bested Caroline Hudson 6-1, 6-1 on court six for her second ever SEC victory and third win of the season to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead.
     
    Boren, ranked 21st in the country, added to the lead when she captured a 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 114 Kaitlin Burns on court one setting up Szekely’s match winning finish. 
     
    “Words can’t really describe it,” said Hahn-Patrick. “Kata exemplifies everything that you want in a student-athlete. As far as character she is phenomenal, work ethic, leader she just has everything. She is the whole package. She has been awesome for our program.”
     
    “And for us to go 2-0 this weekend, with difficult conditions today with the wind it just shows that we can compete and play hard no matter what the outdoor conditions are,” continued Hahn-Patrick. “Sometimes it is not about who is the better team or the better tennis player. It is just about who can out fight and play through the conditions.”
     
    The Lady Vols will round out the 2013 regular season next weekend with a three match road trip beginning Thursday night at Tennessee State. The weekend will continue at Alabama on Friday at 4 p.m. ET and will finish at Auburn Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET



    Gamecocks Blank Ole Miss

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 5, 2013) — The 29th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team celebrated Senior Day with a 4-0 triumph over No. 37 Ole Miss on Sunday at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. It marked the fourth straight SEC win for the Gamecocks, putting them over .500 in the league at 6-5 while also improving them to 13-8 overall. The Rebels dipped to 10-11 and 4-7 in the SEC.
     
    South Carolina won a thrilling doubles point to mark the 16th time the Gamecocks have taken the doubles in 20 attempts this season. The 50th-ranked doubles team of Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova, however, were not part of the exciting finish, instead putting on a clinic against Ole Miss’s No. 53-rated duo of Caroline Rohde-Moe and Marija Milutinovic on court one. After both teams held serve to make it 1-all, the Gamecocks captured the next seven games to earn an 8-1 victory. Alawi and Kanakova improved to 22-8 on the season with the win while moving to 13-3 in dual match play.
     
    The Rebels were still in control of the doubles, though, despite Carolina’s win on court one. At two, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven jumped ahead of Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova 6-2 and later led 7-3. At the No. 3 position, Julia Jones and Allie Robbins took a 5-2 advantage on Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna.
     
    South Carolina dug deep and mounted a furious comeback on both courts. On court two, Andersson and Popova broke Ole Miss at love to get back to 7-4 down and in the next stanza, the Gamecocks fought off a match point on Andersson’s serve at 30-40 to extend the match further. After holding for 7-5, the Gamecocks won the next three games to give Andersson a chance to serve out the match. Ole Miss countered punched, sending the match to a tiebreaker and took command of it by snatching a 3-0 lead.
     
    Meanwhile, on court three, Lechemia and Siles Luna recovered from their 5-2 deficit by winning three games in a row for 5-all. After losing the 11th game, they broke Ole Miss’s serve to deadlock the match once again, and Lechemia followed with a hold of serve at love, the same thing she did the previous time she served. With Ole Miss ahead 6-5 in the tiebreaker on court two with a chance to serve it out, Lechemia and Siles Luna received a double fault from Ole Miss on court three that gave them an 8-6 victory. With the point in hand, the No. 2 doubles match was abandoned.
     
    The momentum Carolina gained in the doubles translated into big gains in singles play. The Gamecocks secured the first set in five of the six matches, and Lechemia finished her opponent quickly on court three to make the score 2-0. She won the first set against No. 82 Mai El Kamash 6-1 and charged ahead 4-0 to begin the second. After El Kamash got the score back to 4-2, Lechemia closed the door on El Kamash for a 6-1, 6-2 win to cap a perfect weekend on the court. The junior from France improved to 8-5 on the spring and 5-5 in SEC match play.
     
    Siles Luna used the confidence boost she received from her comeback victory with Lechemia in doubles to add the next point for the Gamecocks. She battled her way to a 6-3 first set win against Milutinovic at the No. 5 spot but fell behind 2-0 to get the second underway. Siles Luna kept her calm and recovered by winning six consecutive games for a 6-3, 6-2 win that upped her overall record on the season to 18-10.
     
    It appeared No. 98 Popova would provide the clinching point soon after Siles Luna won, as she held a 6-2, 4-1 lead on Jones on court two. Jones had different plans and continued to fight, taking five games in a row off Popova to force a third set.
     
    Fittingly on Senior Day, it was one of Carolina’s three seniors who provided the final point required for a team win. On court one, No. 87 Alawi flew past No. 45 Rohde-Moe 6-2 in the first set. The two traded games back and forth in the second set, but Rohde-Moe gained a break and found herself in a position to serve out the set up 5-4. Alawi continued her aggressive play, fighting off multiple set points until she eventually broke back for 5-all. Each player had her serve broken in the ensuing two games to set up a tiebreaker. Alawi earned a 3-1 advantage in the breaker before Rohde-Moe won three of the next four rallies to tie it up at 4-all. Alawi kept her composure and strung together three well-played points for her highest ranked win of the spring.
     
    Popova and Jones were tied 1-all in the third when play stopped with Alawi’s victory. At the No. 4 spot, Kanakova led Stephens 3-0 in the third after winning the first 6-3 and dropping the second 6-2. Alawi’s classmate Andersson lost the first set to Verboven 7-5 on court six, but Andersson had a 4-3 advantage in the second.
     
    South Carolina’s four straight SEC victories are the most since the 2010 campaign when the Gamecocks won four in a row against the likes of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Carolina will look to continue its streak when it closes out the regular season on the road next weekend playing No. 17 Vanderbilt on Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 47 Kentucky at noon on Sunday. 



    No. 4 TAMU Beats No. 7 Alabama in Home Finale

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In a battle between Southeastern Conference Western Division leaders, No. 4 Texas A&M celebrated Senior Day and closed out its regular-season home schedule with pivotal 4-3 victory over No. 7 Alabama today at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.

    The Aggies (18-2, 10-1 SEC)  take sole possession of first place in the SEC West ahead of Alabama, which falls to 17-3, 9-2 SEC. In addition, A&M remains tied with Florida and Georgia for first in the overall SEC standings with two matches remaining in the regular season.

    “In the context of winning a match against Alabama, No. 7, losing the doubles point, it’s a big match in the SEC and so forth, obviously I’m absolutely delighted and very proud of our kids,” A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “I did feel like this wasn’t our best mental performance. Part of the job of the coach is to weigh the outcome, which in this case was good, with the substance. I felt like we left a few matches out there. I don’t want to take any credit away from Alabama. They are a very fine team with very fine players who competed hard and with passion, but I feel like we got ourselves in the hole, and it was a mixture of some toughness and some fortune that we were able to come back.”

    A&M had never led in the team scoring until, in the last match standing, freshman Ines Deheza defeated Alabama senior Antonia Foehse, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, at No. 4 singles to clinch the 4-3 victory. It marked Deheza’s 10th consecutive victory, and she improved to 8-0 in SEC singles matches.

    A&M was forced to fight from behind after dropping the doubles point. Deheza and freshman Anna Mamalat teamed together for the first time in doubles and defeated Natalia Maynetto and Emily Zabor at the No. 3 line, but A&M would be unable to get a win on the remaining two courts.

    Foehse and Maya Jansen jumped out to a 6-1 lead against A&M’s 72nd-ranked senior duo of Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun en route to an 8-5 victory at the No. 2 line.

    The point would be decided at No. 1, where a battle between top-10 opponents ensued. Alabama’s sixth-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane pulled away from seventh-ranked Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu, winning the last three games to take the match, 9-7, and give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead.

    Maynetto, ranked No. 113 in singles, gave Alabama a 2-0 lead at the start of singles as she cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Hristov at No. 6.

    Aggie senior Nazari Urbina, ranked 55th in singles, put A&M on the scoreboard and remained perfect in SEC play with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 56th-ranked Guarachi at No. 2. Urbina improved to 9-0 in SEC play and she also notched her 96th career singles victory to move into sole possession of fourth place in the A&M career records.

    Fifth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar evened the score at 2-2 as she held off 26th-ranked Macfarlane, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on the No. 1 court. Sanchez-Quintanar improved to 33-6 overall, including 21-4 against ranked opponents, to move into a tie for fourth place in the A&M records for most singles wins in a season.

    Zabor put the Tide ahead, 3-2, narrowly pulling off a straight-set victory over Sun at the No. 5 line. Zabor easily won the first set, 6-2, but Sun put up a solid fight in the second set and forced a tiebreaker before falling, 7-6 (5).

    Stancu then evened the score with a courageous effort at No. 3. The junior from Romania took an injury timeout in the first set trailing Jansen, 6-5. Stancu realized the importance of her match, and despite suffering agonizing pain in her right shoulder, she returned to the court and evened the set at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was tied, 4-4, before the determined Stancu reeled off three consecutive points to win the crucial first set.

    Stancu, ranked No. 68 in singles, jumped out to a 3-0 lead over 84th-ranked Jansen in the second set, but Jansen came back to tie the set at 3-3 and again at 4-4.

    Stancu then won the next two games to win the match, tying the team score at 3-3, and keeping the Aggies’ hopes alive.

    “If Tina has to retire in that match, we lose,” Joffe said. “It was very brave of her.”

    All eyes then turned to the No. 4 court, where Deheza had just won her second consecutive game to take a narrow 2-1 lead in the third and final set. With the crowd cheering her on, Deheza would not drop another game while closing out the victory.

    “The end results of the match speaks exactly to how closely matched the teams are, and on that basis, how much pressure and stress there is,” Joffe said.  “Ines Deheza won the first set and was 2-love up in the second set. She was leading the whole way in the second set, and I feel like she could have put it away. But pressure does strange things, and next thing you know we are in the third. It is not surprising that she ran away with it, and yet anything can happen in that situation.

    “There is no question that one of the things that our team, analogous to a one-hit wonder musician, we’ve gotten ranked very, very high out of the gates, and there is no team that isn’t giving us their best shot. On that basis, there is just inherently much more pressure. I can see it on our kids. The last time we played, as one would term it loosely, and really got after it was when we played Florida, whom we were looking up at. Most of these matches are terribly, terribly stressful, but it’s definitely partly a character builder for our kids so they know how to handle these situations. I’m delighted on that basis.”

    As part of Senior Day, Sanchez-Quintanar, Sun, Urbina and Janelle Cuthbertson, a senior who took a medical following the 2012 season and served as a student coach this year, were honored after the match.

    A&M wraps up the regular season with a pair of road matches next weekend. The Aggies face Mississippi State Friday at 3 p.m. in Starkville, Miss., and then take on 37th-ranked Ole Miss in the season finale, Sunday at 12 p.m. in Oxford.

    The SEC Women’s Tournament will be April 17-21 at Mississippi State’s A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.  
     



    No. 7 Ole Miss Men Down South Carolina

    OXFORD, Miss. – It was another close SEC match as they have been all year for the No. 7 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team, but the Rebels came up with some big three-setters to close out No. 20 South Carolina 4-2 on Senior Day Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
     
    With the win, the Rebels clinched at least a share of the SEC Western Division Championship and improved to 14-6 overall, 7-4 in league play.  The Rebels can clinch it outright with a win at Texas A&M next Saturday to close out the regular season.
     
    The Rebels fell behind for the second straight match after dropping the doubles point and the No. 1 singles match when sophomore Nik Scholtz retired after the first set.  But, Ole Miss came up with singles wins at four, two and five before sophomore William Kallberg rallied to win his third set against Thiago Pinheiro at No. 3 to clinch the Rebels’ 11th straight victory against South Carolina.
     
    “It was a great match for the seniors,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.  “They won in doubles and then for Jonas after getting off to a slow start, really outfought the kid to win at two today.  That was a big match.  We were really fighting hard in all those third sets.  It was a great team effort against a very good South Carolina team.”
     
    “I didn’t play that well in the beginning, but I got an early break in the second, and he kind of relaxed a little,” Kallberg said.  “I kept fighting and then from there it was a dogfight.  I was down 5-2 and all of a sudden, I won 16 of 18 points.  I started playing really well, and got a little bit lucky, played some amazing words.”
    Freshman Stefan Lindmark started the rally, taking down Gamecock junior Chip Cox 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 singles to put the Rebels on the board.
     
    Senior Jonas Lutjen, victorious in his doubles match with fellow senior Adrian Forberg Skogeng, won a huge first set tiebreaker against SC’s Andrew Adams 7-6(6) which gave him the momentum to win the second set 6-3 and square the match at 2-2.
     
    “This was an important win for us,” Lutjen said.  “It was a great day, great weather and great crowd support.  It was such a battle and I am glad that we got the win.”
    Junior Johan Backstrom came up big at court five, defeating Gamecock Kyle Koch in three sets to give Ole Miss a 3-2 lead.  Koch came into the match undefeated in the SEC.
     
    Kallberg lost his first 6-4 and then as he noted, gained the early break to win the second set 6-4.   Pinheiro raced out to a 5-2 lead in the third, but Kallberg hung in there and was able to break and hold serve for 5-5.  He broke again to go up 6-5 and served it out.
     
    When the match stopped, Forberg Skogeng was on serve in the third set against Gamecock Harry Menzies at six.
    Follow the Rebels on Twitter @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.



    Misssissippi State Rallies to Beat Florida in Thriller

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In perhaps its most thrilling match of 2013 to date, the No. 13 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (15-7, 5-5 SEC) stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the No. 17 Florida Gators (11-9, 5-5 SEC) Sunday at UF's Ring Tennis Complex.
     
    The victory marked the first time in MSU recorded history that the Bulldogs have beaten the Gators consecutive times in Gainesville (State also won 4-3 at UF last season). With the win, State also swept weekend play, taking down two top 20 opponents after defeating No. 20 South Carolina 4-2 in Starkville Friday. The Bulldogs have now won three of their last four matches with only two more left in the regular season.
     
    State jumped out early against the Gators Sunday by grabbing the doubles point with tough wins on courts one and two. The Gators struck first with an 8-5 victory from the duo of Florent Diep and Gordon Watson against MSU’s Pedro Dumont and Ethan Wilkinson at No. 3. However, State’s 15th-ranked team of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp responded with an 8-6 victory against UF’s Bob van Overbeek and Stephane Piro on court one to level the field.
     
    On court two, both teams battled closely for the majority of the match, but the State tandem of Romain Bogaerts and Zach White pulled away in the end, defeating Florida’s Mike Alford and Luke Johnson 8-5 to clinch the doubles point for the Bulldogs.
     
    The Gators would not be deterred, however, as the home team started off hot in singles by grabbing the first set on four of six courts.
     
    UF’s Mike Alford even the score by downing MSU’s Angus 6-1, 7-5 on court four. Following suit was No. 117 van Overbeek, who fought off State senior James Chaudry 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead. The Gators’ 102nd-ranked Diep brought his team within one point of clinching when he earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory against MSU’s No. 50 Stropp at the No. 2 spot.
     
    With it seeming that Florida was on its way to victory at that point, the Bulldogs turned the tables and mounted a very impressive comeback.
    State’s White was near defeat, down a set and 4-1 in the second on court five to UF’s Johnson, until he stormed back to force a tiebreaker to stay in the match. Again, White found himself down, as he trailed Johnson 5-2 in the tiebreaker. But once again, White roared back, winning five-straight points to take the tiebreaker and the second set 7-6(5). That key comeback forced a final set and kept the overall match going for the other two courts in play as well.
    Shortly after White’s second-set rally, MSU's 20th-ranked Bogaerts downed UF’s No. 125 Piro 6-3, 6-4, trimming the Gator lead to 3-2.
     
    As play headed to a third set on court six between MSU’s Dumont and UF’s Watson, White began to cruise through the final set at No. 5, finally shutting out Johnson in the third for a remarkable 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 triumph to tie the team match at 3-3.
     
    As White was wrapping up his win, Dumont broke to open the third set on court 6 and held that advantage to the very end, defeating UF’s Watson 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to clinch the match for the Maroon and White. With the win, Dumont improved to 9-0 for the 2012-13 season in three-set matches.
     
    “Florida outplayed us on a couple of courts today, but we hung in there to get the win,” Bulldog head coach Per Nilsson said. “Great job by Zach (White) to turn his match around and very strong of Pedro (Dumont) to finish it off.”
     
    The Bulldogs now have just two matches remaining in the regular season before heading to Oxford, Miss., for the 2013 SEC Championship (April 17-21). State will travel to Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, April 10, to face the No. 32 LSU Tigers at 3 p.m. CT. MSU will then close out the regular season in College Station, Texas, on Friday, April 12, as they battle No. 12 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. CT.
     
    For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt).


     

    Razorback Men Split Doubleheader

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 53 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team split a doubleheader Sunday afternoon taking the match from St. Louis while falling to No. 4 Georgia. Arkansas honored its seniors Mike Ward and Gregoire Lehmann between doubles and singles of the Georgia match. Arkansas’s record moves to 13-14 for the 2013 season. 
     
    “It has been fun having Gregoire and Mike be a part of this program these past four years,” head coach Robert Cox said. “They have both grown a lot and matured tremendously and I am so happy to see them finish strong here on their home courts by clinching the doubles point against Georgia.” 
     
    In the first match of the day, Arkansas came out strong against the fourth-ranked Bulldogs taking the doubles point. Hall Fess and Santiago Munoz collected the first victory of the day with an easy 8-2 win over Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez. Georgia responded with a win over No. 35 Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott from the No. 41 Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux, 8-5. The senior duo of Mike Ward and Gregoire Lehmann clinched the doubles point for the Razorbacks and gave Arkansas the 1-0 lead. 
     
    Arkansas couldn’t transition its momentum from doubles into singles play. Georgia won on courts two, four, five and six to clinch the match. Lehmann and Nott’s matches were suspended. Lehmann was in a close match with the No. 11 singles player in the country tied at 4 in the second set. Nott was in his third set after winning the first and dropping the second. 
     
    The Razorbacks continued solid doubles play in the second match of the day against St. Louis. Fess and Munoz won on court one 8-4 while Christian Lee and Pete Thomason clinched the doubles point for the Hogs winning 8-4.
     
    The Hogs transitioned to doubles in precise fashion winning the first set on all six courts. Jovan Parlic, Ward, Fess, Lee, Thomason and Austin Robles all collected two-set victories for the Hogs to give Arkansas the clean sweep over St. Louis. 
     
    Arkansas will travel to Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday to play a doubleheader with Nebraska-Omaha. The Razorbacks will close out play next weekend on the road at LSU. While in Baton Rouge, La. Arkansas will also play a neutral site match with Jackson State.
     
    For more information on Razorback men’s tennis follow @RazorbackMTEN on Twitter.