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    SEC Men's Tennis Weekly Notebook

    The Alabama men’s tennis team went 1-1 at ITA Kick-Off Weekend, falling 4-2 to No. 16 Cal before pulling out a thrilling 4-3 victory over San Diego. The Crimson Tide (4-1) won the doubles point against the Bears, but would have to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Toreros after dropping the doubles point and the singles match on court three. Sophomore Becker O’Shaughnessey went 2-0 in singles action, which included the 6-5, 5-6, 6-5(3) clincher on court two for the win against San Diego. Next up, Alabama heads to Austin, Texas, to take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Feb. 1. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. CT.
    The University of Arkansas tennis team improved to 3-2 over the weekend, recording its first victory over a ranked team since February 2013. After losing a heartbreaker in Stillwater, Okla., to Dartmouth, the team rallied to win a 4-3 thriller over No. 68 ETSU. A student-athlete in each class won a singles match on Saturday, senior Hall Fess, junior Jovan Parlic, sophomore Santiago Munoz and freshman Juan Marino, who won the last point to give Arkansas the victory. On Friday, playing at the No. 1 position, senior Mike Nott and freshman Johan den Toom recorded a victory over Dartmouth’s No. 36 ranked pair, Ghorbani/Tannenbaum, 6-5 (5).
    Auburn (4-1) advanced to the championship match at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Waco, Texas, falling to No. 7 Baylor 4-1 on Sunday. The Tigers knocked off No. 32 Drake on Saturday 4-1 in its first match of the weekend. Auburn clinched the doubles point behind strong play from the tandems of Dennis Lengsfeld/Lukas Ollert and Dante Saleh/Joseph Van Dooren. Daniel Cochrane, Lengsfeld and Ollert posted three-set victories against the Bulldogs to clinch the match. In Sunday’s match against Baylor, the Tigers battled tough with the No. 7 Bears despite losing the doubles point. Auburn took five of the six singles matches to three sets, before falling 4-1. The Tigers return home Feb. 1 against Alabama A&M and Davidson in a doubleheader at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
    Florida opened the season with three wins in its first week. Last Wednesday, the Gators beat in-state foe UNF 5-2 in their opener. Over the weekend, UF hosted the ITA Kick-Off and beat UNC Wilmington 4-0 on Saturday. In Sunday’s championship match, Florida won a tight match against TCU to advance to the ITA Men’s National Team Indoor Championships. The Gators won a closely contested doubles point against the Horned Frogs, and then used wins from Gordon Watson, Florent Diep and Maxx Lipman to secure the victory. UF travels to the West Coast this week to play top five teams UCLA and USC.
    The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team weathered a late charge by No. 40 Stanford en route to a 4-1 victory and a place in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championships on Sunday evening. The Bulldogs (2-0) used two wins over Columbia and the Cardinal to advance out of the ITA Kickoff’s Athens region and snag a spot in the prestigious 16-team field next month in Houston. Senior Garrett Brasseaux went a combined 4-0 on the weekend, including his clinching three-set singles victory in the championship match. The Bulldogs advance to National Indoors for the 11th straight season. Georgia is back in action next weekend, traveling to participate in the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown in Los Angeles with dual matches against No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Southern Cal.
    The No. 8 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team went 2-1 this weekend, defeating No. 56 Indiana and No. 45 BYU in the early part of the week, before dropping the Lexington Regional final of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to No. 29 Notre Dame in Lexington. Kentucky continued its dominance over Indiana with a 6-1 midweek win, getting the doubles point, and five of the six singles matches to secure the win for the Wildcats. Indiana has not defeated Kentucky at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center since the series resumed annually in 1991-92. This week, Kentucky squares off with Notre Dame again on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET in South Bend, Ind., for the teams’ annual regular season dual match. 
    No. 23 LSU (1-2) improved in doubles competition this week and secured the doubles point in a match for the first time this season vs. No. 15 Vanderbilt, while competing in an ITA Kickoff site with three top 25 teams. The Tigers went 3-3 in doubles during ITA Kickoff Weekend, but fell to No. 19 Wake Forest and No. 15 Vanderbilt, 4-1. The No. 46 team of Tam Trinh/Eric Perez and duo Andrew Korinek/Justin Butsch won their first doubles matches this season. LSU returns to action on February 8 for a doubleheader in Baton Rouge vs. North Florida and Liberty.
    Ole Miss
    The Rebels went 0-2 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, losing two tight matches to No. 26 Michigan and No. 25 Clemson.  It marked the first time the Rebels did not advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 when hosting the first and second rounds. Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 nationally, won both his singles matches in straight sets to improve to 11-5 on the year. Scholtz will be competing for his home country, South Africa, this weekend in Davis Cup play in Pretoria, SA.  It marks the third time for him to represent his country in Davis Cup. Senior Johan Backstrom also won both his singles matches in straight sets. The Rebels have annually ranked among the nation’s attendance leaders.  Saturday, they had 575 fans for their opening round match of the ITA Kick-Off.  Tiebreakers have not been kind to the Rebels so far this spring, as they have lost 13 of 18 played. In Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Michigan, the Rebels lost three. 
    Mississippi State
    Behind clutch performances from both of its seniors, Mississippi State (4-0) advanced to the 2014 ITA National Team Indoors this past weekend, defeating No. 26 Harvard, 4-3, and No. 21 Memphis, 4-2. The 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend began for the Bulldogs against the Crimson, who returned to Starkville for the first time since making the voyage for the 2013 NCAA First/Second Rounds. Despite dropping the doubles point, State roared back in singles, gaining key wins from No. 39 Malte Stropp, Jordan Angus and Tassilo Schmid. Senior Zach White finished off the match, bouncing back from dropping a second-set tiebreaker to take the match in thrilling fashion, 6-4, 5-6(1), 6-3. On Sunday, a similar situation arose, as MSU lost the doubles point to find themselves down early. However, Angus and a duo of freshmen, No. 63 Florian Lakat and Rishab Agarwal set up senior Stropp to send the Bulldogs to the ITA National Indoors for a second-straight season with a 6-5(3), 6-5(2) against UM’s No. 56 Joe Salisbury. Before the Bulldogs travel to Houston, Texas, for the ITA event on Feb. 13-16, they will hit the road this weekend to face No. 53 Texas Tech and Rice on Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1.
    South Carolina
    South Carolina split its matches in the ITA Kickoff Weekend event at Mississippi State. The Gamecocks rebounded from a tough loss to Memphis with a 4-0 win over Harvard. Freshman Andrew Schafer continues to shine in his debut season, winning both of his singles matches and gutting out a tiebreak to deliver the doubles points against Harvard. Senior Chip Cox also enjoyed a great weekend of singles action, fighting out a pair of wins, including the match-clinching point against Harvard after dropping the first set. South Carolina has three matches on the schedule this week, heading to Georgia Tech on Friday before hosting No. 52 Middle Tennessee State and Wofford on Sunday.
    The sixth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (6-0) clinched their sixth consecutive trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a pair of wins in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at home. The Vols beat Michigan State 4-1 in the first round and shut out VCU 4-0 in the finals. Junior Hunter Reese and freshman Markus Kerner both went 2-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. Reese and Mikelis Libietis improved to 16-2 in doubles this season and recorded their 53rd career win together, moving up to fifth on UT’s all-time career doubles record. Kerner has started the spring 6-0 in both singles and doubles for the Vols. Tennessee hits the road for the first time this season with a trip through Oklahoma, playing Tulsa on Friday and Oklahoma on Sunday.
    Texas A&M
    Texas A&M continued its perfect spring season with two 6-1 victories on Saturday over Texas-San Antonio and Lamar. Jeremy Efferding and Max Lunkin earned victories in both contests. Efferding, the No. 13 player in the country, bested Yannick Junger of UTSA (6-1, 6-1) at No. 2 and later defeated Michael Feucht of Lamar (6-3, 6-2) at No. 1 to improve to 4-0 on the young season. The Texas A&M men’s tennis team will be in action again next Sunday, February 2, when it hosts SMU and Nicholls State at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
    The No. 15 Vanderbilt men’s tennis team went 1-1 during the ITA Kick-off weekend, in Nashville. The ‘Dores lost their opening match of the weekend to No. 20 Texas, 4-0. Vanderbilt got back to its winning ways on Sunday, knocking off No. 23 LSU, 4-1, in the consolation final. Ninth-ranked Gonzales Austin remained undefeated in the spring, after beating No. 72 Chris Simpson, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to clinch the match for the Commodores. Vandy returns to action on February 2 for a dual match with Northwestern, at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville.