BATON ROUGE -- The No. 15-ranked LSU men’s tennis team fought off a strong effort by the Vanderbilt Commodores to notch a 4-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon at the W.T. “Dub” Robinson Tennis Stadium.
The Tigers (18-6) will now travel to Athens, Ga. to face the No. 2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (29-1) in the round of 16. LSU and Ohio State had an intense match earlier this season on Feb. 24, where the Buckeyes outlasted the Tigers by a 4-2 score. The two teams will square off Thursday, May 17, at 11 a.m. CT.
LSU leads the all-time series against Ohio State with a 5-2 record.
“The doubles point was closer than we expected. They did a good job of making adjustments from their match with Tulsa and made it very challenging,” LSU head coach Jeff Brown said. “The momentum we gained with the doubles point was probably hard for them to overcome in singles.
“We are excited about the opportunity to play Ohio State again. We had a close match with them in February and I know both teams have improved so we look forward to the rematch.”
Brown has led the Tigers to the round of 16 in six out of his 10 years as head coach.
The Tigers prevented Vanderbilt from capturing the doubles point by coming out victorious on courts one and two. The Tigers have won the doubles point 19 out of their 24 matches.
Colt Gaston came through for the Tigers when he clinched the LSU victory with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Evan Dufaux.
“It was nice to see Bryan, Gaston and Skupski win in singles because they are the ones who have pushed this team the last couple of years,” Brown said.
The win marks the final time seniors Bryan and Skupski would play at W.T. “Dub” Robinson Tennis Stadium.
“It has been a privilege to play for Jeff Brown the past five years,” Skupski commented. “I am proud I could finish my time playing at home on a high note. I have struggled with my last couple of matches here so today’s match was a good way to go out. We played in front of a great crowd and it will be one of the many memories I will take with me from my time here in Baton Rouge.”
The victory was extra special for Skupski who dedicated his win to his fallen friend David Adler, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in March. Given the nickname ‘Super Dave,’ Adler was a regular at both LSU men’s and women’s tennis matches for the past 15 years. LSU players and coaching staff placed a patch with Alder’s initials “DA” on the side of their shirts this season.
“The crowds have improved every year that I have been here,” Skupski said. “This season was hard without Dave and I want to dedicate this win to him. Whenever he was here he would call me ‘Kenski.’ He was a great guy and we all miss him.”
The Tigers will practice Monday morning before heading out for Athens that afternoon.
#15 LSU 4, #45 Vanderbilt 0
NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament Second Round
May 12, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.
1. #24 Ken Skupski (LSU) def. #45 Ryan Preston (VANDY), 6-2, 6-4
2. #32 Danny Bryan (LSU) def. #117 Nik Cromydas (VANDY), 6-4, 6-2
3. Colt Gaston (LSU) def. Evan Dufaux (VANDY), 6-3, 6-4
4. Vijay Paul (VANDY) led. #94 Kevin Dessauer (LSU), 6-2, 6-5 (unfinished)
5. Andy Mack (VANDY) led. James Cluskey (LSU), 6-2, 4-2 (unfinished)
6. Jan Zelezny (LSU) led. Jordan Magarik (VANDY), 6-4, 3-3 (unfinished)
1. #4 Danny Bryan/Colt Gaston (LSU) def. Vijay Paul/Ryan Preston (VANDY) 8-3
2. #22 James Cluskey/Ken Skupski (LSU) def. Nik Cromydas/Evan Dufaux (VANDY), 8-6
3. Andy Mack/Jordan Magarik (VANDY) def. Kevin Dessauer/Jan Zelezny (LSU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles: (3, 2, 1) Singles: (2, 1, 3)
NCAA Round of 16 Schedule
Thursday, May 17
(1) Georgia vs. Florida, 5 p.m.
Stillwater Regional Winner (Sunday) vs. (9) UCLA, 5 p.m.
(4) Virginia vs. (13) Wake Forest, 2 p.m.
(5) Notre Dame vs. (12) USC, 2 p.m.
(11) Texas vs. NC State, 8 a.m.
(3) Baylor vs. Alabama, 8 a.m.
(10) Illinois vs. (7) Ole Miss, 11 a.m.
(15) LSU vs. (2) Ohio State, 11 a.m.