ATHENS, Ga. – Sophomores George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin of the Mississippi State men’s tennis team will play their first round match of the NCAA Championship in doubles against 13th-ranked Aleksey Bessonov and Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State tomorrow afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“We had two good weeks of practice and it will be good to compete again,” said third-year head coach Per Nilsson. “If they (Coupland and Ilyushin) get off to a good start they can do really well in the draw.”
Coupland and Ilyushin, who stand 29th nationally, are competing in their first-career collegiate postseason event. During the 2009-10 season, the tandem posted a team-best 20 wins along with a 12-8 dual match record and a 7-3 record in Southeastern Conference action. Coupland and Ilyushin were also an impressive 7-3 versus nationally ranked opponents.
The Bulldog duo’s first round opponents stand 13th nationally and were the Cowboys primary No. 1 doubles team during their 2009-10 campaign.
Coupland and Ilyushin are the 22nd MSU doubles team to qualify for postseason play and the first since 2006.
The winner of tomorrow afternoons match faces the winner of the second-seeded Tennessee duo Davey Sandgren and J.P Smith and William and Mary’s Keziel Juneau and Sebastien Vidal on Friday, May 28.