STARKVILLE, Miss. – Sophomores George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin have been selected to compete in the 2010 NCAA Doubles Championship, which will be held May 27-31 at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Classmate Louis Cant has also been named third alternate to the championship’s singles draw.
Coupland and Ilyushin, an at-large selection, are currently ranked 29th nationally and are one of the nation’s 32 elite teams participating in the event. The Bulldog tandem has tallied a record of 20-11 through the 2009-10 season, including a 12-8 dual match record while playing from the No. 1 position, 7-3 in the Southeastern Conference.
“I’m extremely proud of George (Coupland) and Artem (Ilyushin) for making the NCAA tournament,” said third-year head coach Per Nilsson. “We really worked hard on improving our doubles and this is a great reward for their hard work.”
Coupland and Ilyushin posted a 7-3 record versus nationally ranked opponents, including a stellar road win over No. 2 nationally-ranked duo of Davey Sandgren and J.P Smith of Tennessee. Coupland and Ilyushin also ended the season strong by winning eight of their last 11 matches.
The Bulldog tandem was instrumental in State’s improvement in doubles play this season, as MSU won 13 of the possible 22 doubles points played this season. State only won seven doubles points the previous year.
Coupland and Ilyushin are the 22nd doubles team from MSU to be selected to the NCAA Championship and the first since 2006. Coupland is making his first career postseason appearance and was a second team all-SEC selection while currently ranking 82nd in singles. Ilyushin is also making his first-ever postseason appearance and is ranked 124th nationally as a singles competitor.
In addition to the doubles team’s selection, Bulldog sophomore Louis Cant has also been selected as the third alternate in this year’s NCAA Singles Championship. Cant will patiently wait for a potential opportunity to join the 64-player field, which begins play May 26 in Athens. Cant currently ranks 63rd nationally with a 24-11 record during the 2009-10 season and a 10-7 dual match ledger. He had four wins over ranked opponents this year, two over top 25 foes.
If selected to compete in the NCAA singles draw, Cant would be the first Bulldog to do so since 2008 and would be the 48th overall.
“We’re hoping that Louis (Cant) will get in the singles draw,” said Nilsson. “He has the ability to do extremely well in the tournament.”