AUBURN - The 32nd-ranked Auburn men's tennis team fell just short in their conference opener, dropping a 4-3 decision to No. 10 Mississippi State on a chilly Friday afternoon at the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Auburn (8-3, 0-1 SEC) dropped the doubles point for the first time this season, opening the door for Mississippi State (11-3, 1-0) to grind out their second win of the year over the Tigers.
"Another 4-3, last match on the court against Mississippi State," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "It basically came down to a tiebreaker in doubles at 1. Last time, we won the doubles in a breaker, this time we lose it. We needed three singles wins last time, needed four today. It was that close. I feel like we're getting better in certain areas.
"Our No. 3 doubles team fought back today, that was good to see. Our freshman (Joseph Van Dooren) continues to get better. He's got a ways to go, but he's learning. I was happy for Dennis Lengsfeld, he's playing well. Certain guys are playing well, and others are going through some ups and downs. It's just unfortunate we couldn't quite get over the hump today. But I told the guys that we've got 11 more, and there are going to be a lot of close matches."
MSU and Auburn split the first two doubles matches of the day. The Bulldogs' Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson struck first with an 8-3 win over Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso on court two. But Auburn's Joseph Van Dooren and Lukas Ollert fought back from being down an early break to post a 9-7 win over Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont at the No. 3 position.
It came down to the fourth showdown of the year between Auburn's No. 1-ranked team of Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies and MSU's 24th-ranked team of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp. This time, it would be Angus and Stropp emerging victorious in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (4), after falling in the season's first three meetings, giving MSU a 1-0 lead.
Bogaerts, ranked No. 23 in the nation in singles, earned a win over 107th-ranked Mies at the No. 1 singles spot, 6-3, 6-4, to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. But Ollert got Auburn on the board just a few moments later with a 6-2, 6-4 win over 93rd-ranked James Chaudry at the No. 3 singles position.
White put MSU on the brink of victory with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Lopasso on court five. But Auburn fought back with a pair of wins to knot the team score at 3-3. Van Dooren earned his first SEC victory with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Dumont at the sixth singles spot, and Lengsfeld outlasted Angus in three sets, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0, at No. 4 singles. However, the Bulldogs would claim the victory as Cochrane fell to 59th-ranked Stropp at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-4.
The Tigers will close out the opening weekend of SEC play Sunday afternoon as they host 13th-ranked Ole Miss at 1 p.m. Admission is free, and fans can follow @MensTennisAU on Twitter for updates throughout the match.
Auburn Men's Tennis Results
March 1, 2013
Yarbrough Tennis Center - Auburn, Ala.
#10 Mississippi State 4, #32 Auburn 3
1. #23 Romain Bogaerts (MSU) def. #107 Andreas Mies (AU), 6-3, 6-4
2. #59 Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Daniel Cochrane (AU), 6-4, 6-4
3. Lukas Ollert (AU) def. #93 James Chaudry (MSU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU) def. Jordan Angus (MSU), 6-3, 1-6, 6-0
5. Zach White (MSU) def. Lucas Lopasso (AU), 6-3, 6-3
6. Joseph Van Dooren (AU) def. Pedro Dumont (MSU), 6-4, 7-5
Order of finish: 1, 3, 5, 6, 4, 2
1. #24 Jordan Angus/Malte Stropp (MSU) def. #1 Andreas Mies/Daniel Cochrane (AU), 9-8 (4)
2. Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) def. Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU), 8-3
3. Lukas Ollert/Joseph Van Dooren (AU) def. Romain Bogaerts/Pedro Dumont (MSU), 9-7
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
Auburn 8-3 (0-1 SEC), National ranking #32
Mississippi State 11-2 (1-0 SEC), National ranking #10
T - 3:32