M. Tennis Falls to No. 2 Ohio St., 6-1
BATON ROUGE --- Junior Stefan Szacinski put the Tigers (11-5, SEC 2-2) on the board Monday with a big 6-2, 7-5, 1-0 victory over Ohio State's Connor Smith as LSU fell 6-1 to the Buckeyes at W.T. Dub Robinson Stadium.
After the match had already been declared in favor of the Buckeyes, Szacinski forced his match into a third set super tiebreaker, coming out on top, 10-6, over Smith and ultimately preventing the shutout.
"Ohio State is a very good team, and we didn't quite play at their level today," head coach Jeff Brown said. "They are really good at exposing any spot where you might have a weakness and they did that to us today. We have some things to work on, but we will come back tomorrow to get ready for SEC play."
In doubles, the Tigers faced some tough competition, including the No. 1 team in the nation in Ohio State's Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola.
Senior Neal Skupski and sophomore James Turbervill hung tough, but ultimately could not defeat the No. 1 team in the land, falling to Buchanan and Rola 8-4.
No. 51 Olivier Borsos and Chris Simpson tried to keep the Tigers in the hunt, but could not hold off Ohio State's Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen, meeting defeat with an 8-6 loss.
On court three, Tom Knights and Szacinski looked to have the best shot, sending their match with Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith into a tiebreaker. The Tiger tandem faught hard, but in the end Kobelt and Smith came out ahead 8-7 (5).
Down 1-0, the Tigers looked to rally back in singles, but could not get it going in time, dropping their first three matches and allowing Ohio State to clinch early.
On the top court, No. 85 Skupski put on an admirable performance against a tough opponent in 6th-ranked Rola, but fell 6-3, 6-4.
Both Chris Simpson and Szacinski made it interesting for the Tigers by sending their respective matches into a third set super tiebreaker.
Simpson played toe-to-toe with 46th-ranked Kobelt, falling in a heartbreaking third set 10-6. Kobelt is currently the only player this season to have defeated the No. 1 player in the nation Mitchell Frank of Virginia.
"Overall, I feel really good about where our team is right now," Brown said. "We haven't had too many bad losses, so hopefully we can pick up a big win in the next couple of matches to help catapult us into the top-15 and put us in a good position for postseason play."
LSU will now travel to Knoxville, Tenn., where they will face the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday at 1 p.m. CT.
Be sure to stay up-to-date on the Tigers by following the team on Twitter at @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
Ohio State vs LSU
March 19, 2012
Baton Rouge, La.
(W.T. Dub Robinson Stadium)
#2 Ohio State 6, #27 LSU 1
1. #6 Blaz Rola (OSU) def. #85 Neal Skupski (LSU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #12 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. #71 Olivier Borsos (LSU) 6-2, 6-2
3. #46 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. Chris Simpson (LSU) 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 1-0 (10-7)
4. #107 Ille Van Engelen (OSU) def. James Turbervill (LSU) 6-4, 6-0
5. Devin McCarthy (OSU) def. Tom Knights (LSU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) def. Connor Smith (OSU) 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6)
1. #1 Chase Buchanan/Blaz Rola (OSU) def. Neal Skupski/James Turbervill (LSU) 8-4
2. Devin McCarthy/Ille Van Engelen (OSU) def. #51 Olivier Borsos/Chris Simpson (LSU) 8-4
3. Peter Kobelt/Connor Smith (OSU) def. Stefan Szacinski/Tom Knights (LSU) 8-7 (7-5)
Ohio State 19-1; National ranking #2
LSU 11-5; National ranking #27
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,4,5,1,6,3)
(Both three and six went to a third set super tiebreaker)