STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State fell to the No. 57 Lady Tigers of LSU Sunday to close out the weekend at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The loss snaps a two-match winning streak by State against the Bayou Bengals.
The Lady Bulldogs went up early on LSU with the win in doubles, but could not hold up during the singles play. The duo of Elna de Villiers and Martina Banikova struck first with their win on court one over Tiffany Tucker and Mykala Hedberg in a 6-3 fashion. Following their win was Anastasia Kugakolova and Daniela Juskova on No. 3 as they put out Daysi Espinal and Lauren Seaman 8-5 to claim the doubles.
Senior Anastasia Kugakolova quickly defeated Lady Tiger Mykala Hedberg at the top spot to start singles play. The St. Petersburg, Russia native took charge early and never looked back as she went on to win her match-up 6-2, 6-3 to give the Bulldogs their only singles wins.
Despite the strong play by Kugakolova, the Bulldogs saw the early lead dwindle as they fell in the next three courts to finish. At the No. 5 spot, de Villiers took the first set against Camila Caliari 7-5, but fell in the last two sets of the match at 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the Tigers first SEC win.
At the No. 2 spot sophomore Renee Joseph held in with LSU's Marina Chiarelli in a match filled with tie-breakers in the first two sets with each of them splitting the first two sets in tie breakers. Chiarelli claimed the third set 6-3.
Coach Tracy Lane's squad will travel next weekend to Georgia (April 7) and Tennessee (April 9) looking to bounce back from a five-match losing streak in SEC play. The MSU-UGA match is set for 3 p.m. CT.
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team dropped its fourth straight match Sunday, falling to #19 LSU 7-0. With the loss, the Bulldogs fell to 4-10 on the season and 1-7 in Southeastern Conference play.
The Tigers won all three doubles matches to take an early 1-0 lead in the match. On the #1 court, the 12th-ranked duo of Mark Growcott and Ken Skupski defeated State's Ivan Bjelica and Jose-Carlos Pinto 8-4. At the #2 spot, the 14th-ranked tandem of Danny Bryant and Colt Gaston were victorious 8-1 over MSU's Florent Girod and Pierre Mouillon. At court #3, Tigers James Cluskey and Paul White edged out Bulldogs Josh Irey and Ryan Farlow 8-7 in a tiebreaker.
The Bulldogs looked as if they could make a comeback when Mouillon and Girod won their first sets in singles action, but LSU quickly closed out any hope of that in the other four singles matches. At the #2 position, Mouillon won the first set over LSU's Gaston 6-4, but could not hold on as Gaston won the final two sets 6-3, 6-4. On the #4 court, Girod won his first set 6-4 but dropped the final two to Growcott 6-3, 6-3. On court #1, State's Bjelica battled 22nd-ranked Skupski to three sets before falling 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. MSU's Pinto dropped his match to LSU's Bryant 7-6, 6-2 at the #3 spot while Bulldog Frayssinoux fell to LSU's Cluskey 6-3, 6-4 on court #5. MSU freshman Farlow fell on court #6 to LSU's Martel Campbell 6-1, 6-3 to give the Tigers their seventh point.
LSU moved to 13-7 overall and 6-2 in SEC play with the win. The Tigers now lead the series with State 28-8-1 since the 1969 season. The loss to LSU was State's fifth straight in the series.
State's next action will come Friday (April 7) when the Bulldogs return home to host top-ranked Georgia as part of MSU's Super Bulldog Weekend festivities. The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.