Men's Tennis Opens SEC's Against Vanderbilt
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The 19th-ranked LSU men's tennis team (14-9, 5-6 SEC) will open SEC Tournament play against the No. 43 Vanderbilt (7-14, 2-9 SEC) Commodores at A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Miss., on Thursday.
The Tigers are the No. 8 seed in the tournament, while Vanderbilt holds the No. 9 spot.
"We played a good match the last time we played against Vanderbilt," head coach Jeff Brown said. "They were without one of their top players last time that is now back in the lineup. We will need to play a complete match in both doubles and singles and play with the same intensity and level we have found in recent weeks."
LSU will turn to veteran players Olivier Borsos, ranked No. 38 in the nation, and senior Neal Skupski, who currently holds the No. 54 spot, to come up big in the tournament opener.
Borsos took down Vanderbilt's ace, Charlie Jones, earlier in the season when the two teams last met. He will look to do so again on Thursday.
Skupski hopes to avenge his 6-2, 7-6 loss to Gonzales Austin on court two. Vanderbilt's Austin appears in the rankings at No. 102 slot.
Newcomer to the SEC Tournament, 91st-ranked Chris Simpson, will also need to play his best to help catapult the Tigers to victory. He is currently 13-7 on the season with a 6-3 record in the SEC. Simpson defeated Vanderbilt's Blake Bazarnik 6-3, 6-3 in their last time out.
In doubles, the No. 36 duo of Skupski and Simpson will face the 17th-ranked Vanderbilt tandem of Austin and Alex DiValerio.
The Tiger seem to have found a rhythm in doubles play and look to continue with Roger Anderson and Borsos on court two, and Tom Knights and Stefan Szacinski on court three.
LSU and Vanderbilt last met in the opening weekend of SEC play. The Tigers won that contest 6-1, marking their first win in the SEC.
LSU leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt, 45-16.
Live stats for the match and the rest of the tournament will be available at www.hailstate.com/SECtennis.
Be sure to follow @lsutennis on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis for behind the scenes updates on the Tigers and match play.