March 1, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The men's tennis team (5-4) will travel to Starkville and Oxford this weekend to face No. 14 Mississippi State (9-2) and Mississippi (3-2), respectively. First serve for Friday's match against the Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. CT, while Sunday's match against the Rebels begins at 1 p.m. CT.
"It's always like a new season of sorts when you start league play," said Alabama head coach Billy Pate "We begin with a tough road swing at Mississippi State and Mississippi. Both are very good teams and have great fan support. We'd like to carry the momentum from the last two matches at the Blue Gray into this weekend."
In Alabama's last outing, the Tide completed a 4-0 sweep against Cornell in its final match of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. In the latest rankings, sophomore Daniil Proskura came in at No. 115 in the nation in singles, while also pairing up with fellow sophomore Carlos Taborga to form the nation's No. 33 doubles team.
Mississippi State is on a five match winning streak with their last loss having come on January 29 to Texas A&M, 4-3. The Bulldogs have four nationally ranked singles players in Artem Ilyushin at No. 27, Louis Cant at No. 37, George Coupland at No. 41 and Malte Stropp at No. 75 as well as one ranked doubles duo in No. 23 Cant and Stropp.
Alabama is 32-44 all-time against the Bulldogs, with the last match on April 10, 2011 going Mississippi State's way in a 5-2 win in Tuscaloosa.
Mississippi is on a two match losing streak, with those losses having come at the hands of No. 21 Tennessee and Mississippi State. The Rebels boast five ranked singles players in Chris Thiemann at No. 97, No. 55 Nick Scholtz, No. 49 William Kallburg, No. 48 Jonas Lutjen and No. 46 Marcel Thiemann. Mississippi also has the No. 19 doubles pair in the Thiemanns, and the No. 22 duo in Lutjen and Backstrom.
The Rebels have a slight 32-29 edge in the all-time series against Alabama with the last meeting going to Mississippi in a 5-2 decision in Tuscaloosa.