BATON ROUGE - The No. 25 LSU men's tennis team (4-1) bested the No. 56 Rice Owls (2-5) by a score of 4-3 Thursday afternoon at the Dub.
The Tigers won the doubles point from victories on court two by the No. 35 duo of Chris Simpson and Stefan Szacinski over Gustavo Gonzalez and Philipp Seifert and on court three by Boris Arias and Olivier Borsos over Leif Berger and Jonathan Chang.
LSU's pair of Simpson and Szacinski took a 5-0 lead in their match and never looked back, winning 8-1. On court three, the Tigers' duo of Arias and Borsos were down 4-5 and won the final four points to win 8-5, and clinch the doubles point for LSU, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
"In doubles, we were able to get the win and it wasn't our best doubles game, but it also wasn't our worst," head coach Jeff Brown said.
Most of the singles matches were competitive throughout, but the Tigers ultimately came out victorious, winning three of the six doubles matches.
Simpson extended LSU's lead to 2-0 on court two in singles as he defeated Rice's Seifert 6-0, 6-3.
Gustafsson came right back for Rice on court four and defeated LSU's Anderson 6-2, 6-4 to cut the Tigers' lead to 2-1. LSU's Trinh rolled against Rice's Peter Frank on court three 7-5, 6-0 to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Szacinski sat out of the singles matches for the Tigers and was replaced by freshman Harrison Kennedy. Kennedy made the most of his season debut and clinched the match for LSU on court six, defeating the Owls' Berger 6-2, 7-5. This pushed LSU's lead to a decisive 4-1 lead, resulting in Kennedy's first career match clincher.
"It was really exciting [to clinch the match]," Kennedy said. "I was just doing my best to win my match and get the points for the team."
On court one, LSU's Borsos battled Rice's Chang throughout the first set, but lost 4-6. Borsos took control in the second set and won a tiebreaker 7-2 to win the second set 7-6(2). In the third and final set, Chang won a tightly-contested tiebreaker 10-8 to win the match 6-4, 6-7(2), 1-0(8), moving the score to 4-2 in favor of the Tigers.
The day was wrapped up on court five between LSU's Mark Bowtell and Rice's Bennett. Down 5-6 in the first set, Bennett rallied to win the next two points, including a tiebreaker at 7-3 to win the first set. Bowtell came back and won the second set 6-4 to send the match to a third set. In a ten-point super-tiebreaker, Bennett defeated Bowtell 10-3 to win the match 7-6(3), 4-6, 1-0(3), giving the Tigers a final 4-3 victory.
LSU's next match will be at the Dub on Feb. 22 against the No. 27 Texas Tech Red Raiders at 3 p.m. CT. Come out early and enjoy some free crawfish, served 45 minutes prior to the match.
For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access on the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men's tennis team on Twitter @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
Rice vs. LSU
Feb 14, 2013 at Baton Rouge, La.
(W.T. "Dub" Robinson Stadium)
#25 LSU 4, #56 Rice 3
1. Jonathan Chang (RICE) def. Olivier Borsos (LSU) 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 1-0 (10-8)
2. Chris Simpson (LSU) def. Philipp Seifert (RICE) 6-0, 6-3
3. Tam Trinh (LSU) def. Peter Frank (RICE) 7-5, 6-0
4. Adam Gustafsson (RICE) def. Roger Anderson (LSU) 6-2, 6-4
5. Tommy Bennett (RICE) def. Mark Bowtell (LSU) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 1-0 (10-3)
6. Harrison Kennedy (LSU) def. Leif Berger (RICE) 6-2, 7-5
1. Roger Anderson/Tam Trinh (LSU) vs. Adam Gustafsson/Tommy Bennett (RICE) 5-6, unfinished
2. #35 Chris Simpson/Stefan Szacinski (LSU) def. Gustavo Gonzalez/Philipp Seifert (RICE) 8-1
3. Olivier Borsos/Boris Arias (LSU) def. Leif Berger/Jonathan Chang (RICE) 8-5
Rice 2-5; National ranking #56
LSU 4-1; National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (2,4,3,6,1,5)
Harrison Kennedy clinched the match for LSU on court 6
LSU vs. Rice - Men's Tennis
February 14, 2013
HEAD COACH JEFF BROWN QUOTES
On today's victory...
"In doubles, we were able to get the win and it wasn't our best doubles game, but it also wasn't our worst. We got the doubles point and then we were able to get some quick wins basically. We've got some guys that are still working to improve. Olivier Borsos is still working on his game and got a little closer today to where he needs to be."
On Harrison Kennedy's performance in his dual-season debut...
"We've seen Harrison's level in practice get better and better and we knew he was going to get a shot pretty soon and today was the day. He did a good job giving himself an early lead, and then things got a little tight. It's interesting to see how somebody will handle that and he did a great job of overcoming some nerves and getting the win. That was huge for us."
HARRISON KENNEDY QUOTES
On clinching the match in his dual-match season debut...
"It was really exciting. I wasn't expecting to clinch. I didn't realize that it happened until Assistant Coach Danny Bryan told me because Tam Trinh finished up really quickly on court three. So that took a little pressure off me knowing that the match wasn't on me at that point, and I was just doing my best to win my match and get the points for the team."