Men's netters end losing skid, top MSU
April 3, 2009
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Facing one of the most difficult stretches of any program in the country, Vanderbilt's 53rd-ranked men's tennis team entered Friday's match at No. 60 Mississippi State losers of 10 straight matches. The Bulldogs provided Vanderbilt with just the remedy it needed as the Commodores put their forgettable streak to rest with a 4-3 win at the Pitts Tennis Centre.
"It was good for us to get a win," Vanderbilt Head Coach Ian Duvenhage said. "I'm really happy for the guys in particular. We've come close so many times and have been going through a rough patch here."
The Commodores (5-12, 1-6 SEC) wasted little time ending the losing skid against the Bulldogs (5-11, 1-6 SEC). Vanderbilt opened the match by winning the doubles point and first two completed singles matches to take a convincing 3-0 lead in the match. Mississippi State would rally to take the next three singles matches before freshman Charlie Jones clinched the overall match in the No. 6 position.
The win was Vanderbilt's first since defeating Middle Tennessee State, 5-2, on Feb. 14. It was also Vanderbilt's second road win of the season and first since winning at Boise State, 4-3, on Feb. 1.
"I've just been telling the guys that I have no doubt that they are going to be a very good team," Duvenhage said. "The only thing I'm not sure about is when it is going to happen."
Friday's win certainly got the Commodores headed back in the right direction, while Mississippi State continued its tail spin and has now lost seven straight matches. Vanderbilt's win was also its second in a row over the Bulldogs, but first in Starkville since 2003 and just the fourth all-time.
During Vanderbilt's losing streak, four of its losses had been by one point, while all 10 had come against ranked opponents.
"I think part of our difficulty is that I over scheduled and we played so many tough teams and we didn't get enough positive reinforcement," Duvenhage said. "I'm happy with the progress we are making and we will get things going."
Vanderbilt got off on the right foot on Friday by winning the first two completed doubles matches to take the doubles point and a 1-0 lead in the match.
By winning the doubles point, Vanderbilt ended a skid in which it had lost the doubles point in eight straight matches, which includes every SEC match. The Commodores won the point after Duvenhage adjusted the lineup for two of the three slots.
Earning Vanderbilt's first win in doubles was the tandem of Nick Cromydas and Vijay Paul who defeated Louis Cant and Artem Ilyushin, 8-6, in the No. 2 position despite not playing a match together since Oct. 25.
Clinching the doubles point for the Commodores was the Bryant Salcedo and Charlie Jones, who posted a 9-7 win over Ryan Farlow and Antonio Lastre in the No. 3 position. Like Cromydas and Paul, the win by Salcedo and Jones came after a long layoff. The two had last played a match together on Oct. 24.
Baker gave Vanderbilt a 2-0 lead when he defeated Antonio Lastre, 6-3, 6-3. Zotov pushed the Commodores' lead to 3-0 with a 7-6 (1), 6-0 win over Chris Doerr in the No. 5 position. Zotov's win pushed his record to 6-1 in the SEC.
After MSU would win three straight singles matches, Jones clinched the second match of his career when he topped Tanner Stump, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4. Jones also clinched Vanderbilt's only other road win at Boise State.
Vanderbilt will continue its road trip on Sunday when the Commodores travel to Oxford, Miss., where they will face No. 2 Ole Miss at 1 p.m.
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