April 11, 2010
BATON ROUGE, La. - Riding a two-match win streak into its penultimate match of the regular season, Vanderbilt's 32nd-ranked men's tennis team added to its streak on Sunday by defeating No. 51 LSU, 4-3 at W.T. "Dub" Robinson Stadium.
With the win, Vanderbilt (13-8, 5-5 SEC) posted its third straight victory in SEC play for the first time since the team won seven straight during the 2003 season. The five SEC wins are the most since Vanderbilt finished 6-5 in 2004.
Before this weekend, Vanderbilt had lost five straight on the road and had three straight road matches left to end the regular season. However, a 4-3 win over Arkansas on Friday and now LSU (5-14, 2-8 SEC) Sunday has guaranteed that the Commodores finish no worse than 2-1 over the difficult stretch, which concludes Saturday at No. 11 Kentucky.
"I really liked what we did today," Vanderbilt Head Coach Ian Duvenhage said. "I thought everyone played like I thought they could. Although Vijay (Paul) and Zo (Alex Zotov) got beat, I thought they played well and had a chance to win. The only one, who wasn't in it was Charlie Jones, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort. He's playing on pretty much one knee. To go 2-0 this weekend was not an easy task and I'm really proud of how the guys performed."
Like Friday, the Commodores lost the first completed doubles match only to rally and win the final two to take the doubles point and a 1-0 lead into singles play. Vanderbilt is now 13-1 when it wins the doubles point.
Vanderbilt's 53rd-ranked team of Bryant Salcedo and Ryan Lipman earned Vanderbilt's first doubles win when they topped LSU's duo of Stefan Szacinski and Mark Bowtell, 8-4, in the No. 2 slot.
Clinching the doubles match for the second match in a row was Vijay Paul and Alex DiValerio, who knocked off David Roberts and Roger Anderson, 8-4, in the No. 3 position.
LSU evened the match at one in singles play, but Vanderbilt freshman Ryan Lipman gave Vanderbilt the lead again when he topped No. 34 Neal Skupski, 6-4, 6-4. It was the third straight SEC victory for the 37th-ranked Lipman.
The Tigers knotted the score at two when Mark Bowtell defeated No. 114 Vijay Paul, 6-0, 1-6, 6-3, in the No. 2 position. Vanderbilt's Bryant Salcedo gave the Commodores a 3-2 lead when he picked up his second win in his last three matches, defeating Julien Gauthier, 6-2, 0-6, 6-1, in the No. 4 position.
LSU would produce the third tie of the match when Sebastian Carlsson defeated Vanderbilt's Alex Zotov, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, in the No. 3 position.
With the match tied at three, Vanderbilt junior Adam Baker clinched his third match of the season for the Commodores by defeating Stefan Szacinski, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, in the No. 5 position. The win was the third in a row for Baker, who is 5-5 in SEC play.
Vanderbilt will conclude its regular season Saturday when the Commodores travel to No. 11 Kentucky.