March 1, 2012
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No. 12 Auburn (10-2) at No. 44 Ole Miss (3-2)
Friday, March 2 | Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center | Oxford, Miss.
No. 12 Auburn (10-2) at No. 14 Mississippi State (7-2)
Sunday, March 4 | A.J. Pitts Tennis Center | Starkville, Miss.
AUBURN, Ala. - The 12th-ranked Auburn men's tennis team will head out on the road to open Southeastern Conference play this weekend as the Tigers face two of the league's top teams in No. 44 Ole Miss on Friday and No. 14 Mississippi State on Sunday.
Friday's match at Ole Miss begins at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, while the Tigers' match at MSU on Sunday is set for a 1 p.m. start at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Center.
"We've got an extremely difficult weekend to open SEC play on the road at Ole Miss and Mississippi State," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "I don't recall last time we won a match in the state of Mississippi against either one of these teams. It's been a long time. They're both very good teams. Don't let the rankings deceive you; we know Ole Miss is a top 25 team, and Mississippi State's ranking speaks for itself."
Auburn (10-2) will look to continue its winning ways against some of the country's best teams. So far in 2012, the Tigers have seven wins against nationally ranked opponents, including a 3-2 mark against the nation's top 25.
The Tigers are coming off a perfect weekend at the Blue-Gray National Classic where they posted a 3-0 record against nationally ranked Boise State, Cornell and Clemson. For their efforts, Auburn moved up to No. 12 in the latest release of the ITA national rankings.
Two Auburn individuals are also in the national singles rankings. Junior Andreas Mies moved up to No. 20 after he won all three of his singles matches at the Blue-Gray. And Mies' doubles partner, freshman Lukas Ollert, makes his debut in the national rankings this week, coming in at No. 118 in the singles release. Ollert dropped his first singles match as a Tiger last week, but he carries a 10-1 record into this weekend's play after joining the team in January.
Senior Alex Stamchev leads the Tigers from the No. 2 singles position, carrying a 10-2 record in dual match play and a 17-5 mark overall. Sophomore Lucas Lopasso has been a key for Auburn at the bottom of the lineup as well, posting a 9-0 mark in dual play at the No. 4, 5 and 6 positions.
The Tigers will look to get back on the winning track in doubles play after dropping the doubles point in the last four matches where doubles matches were played. Stamchev and sophomore Daniel Cochrane are the Tigers' top duo at the No. 1 spot.
Ole Miss (3-2) is coming off a win over No. 32 Memphis on Tuesday. The Rebels are led by Nik Scholtz, who has a 3-1 record at the No. 1 position, while Marcel Thiemann has a 4-1 overall mark, including a 3-1 record at No. 2. Ole Miss has been especially tough at home with a 45-8 home record since 2001. Last year, Auburn snapped an 18-year losing streak against Ole Miss with a 5-2 win at home.
Mississippi State (7-2) has won five straight matches, including three 4-0 sweeps at last week's Blue-Gray Classic. The Bulldogs are led by senior Artem Ilyushin, who was named this week's SEC Player of the Week. The Bulldogs have four players in the top 75 of the ITA singles rankings - No. 27 Ilyushin, No. 37 Louis Cant, No. 41 George Coupland, and No. 75 Malte Stropp. In the last meeting between the schools, the Tigers dropped a 5-2 decision at home to the Bulldogs last year.
Live scoring for Friday's match will be available through OleMissSports.com, and Sunday's match will have live scoring available at HailState.com.