Privateers Set to Take on SLU, No. 14 LSU in Men's Tennis Action This Week
NEW ORLEANS - The University of New Orleans men's tennis team will play a pair of Pelican State rivals as they host Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday at 12 p.m. before heading to No. 14 LSU on Saturday for a 5 p.m. dual.
The Privateers (6-4) have fallen out of the ITA national rankings after dropping their last four matches. It has all started in doubles' play, where the team has come up short in gaining the doubles' point over the last five matches.
Head coach Burzis Kanga changed his lineup in the last dual, a 4-3 loss to Samford. Against the Bulldogs, Kanga paired Oliver Cuthill with Ben Smith at No. 2 while bringing together Vinay Kamineni and Jose Gaspar at No. 3. The tandem of Guilherme Rebolo and Calvin Kemp, 7-3 in dual play, has remained the same at No. 1.
Kamineni and Gaspar were victorious while Cuthill and Smith dropped a narrow 8-5 match. The doubles' point was loss however at No. 1 where Kemp and Rebolo lost the last four points of a tiebreaker, falling 9-8 (6) in the decisive match.
Singles' play has been better for the UNO men, as the team has posted a 40-20 mark.
Cuthill, who dropped a match on the No. 6 court for the first time in six matches against Samford, joins with Gaspar to lead the team with a 7-2 mark during dual play. Kemp and Kamineni have matching 7-3 marks, while holding down the No. 1 and No. 2 positions in the lineup.
SLU (5-2) enters Wednesday's dual on a two-match streak after beating Samford (5-2) and Grambling (7-0) in their last two outings. Unlike the Privateers, the Lions were able to take the doubles' point against the Bulldogs, setting the tone for victories in 4 of 6 singles' matches.
UNO holds a 12-2 advantage since 1996-97 against SLU, who will be led by Stepfan Siska at No. 1. Siska is 4-3 on the season while Julien Roussel, who has missed the last two matches, is 4-1 at No. 2.
LSU has split their first four matches of the year, playing three ranked foes over the stretch. The No. 14 Tigers have defeated No. 20 Texas Tech and Rice while dropping matches to No. 3 Ohio State and No. 12 Tulsa.
With a 5-0 record since 1996 against the Privateers, LSU is in for a busy day, as they will also host Louisiana-Lafayette at 1 p.m.
Doubles' is a strong suit for the Tigers, who featured the 9th-ranked duo of Michael Venus and Neal Skupsk, who are undefeated on the season. The team also has the 53rd-ranked doubles' tandem of James Cluskey and Julien Gathier, 0-1 on the year.
The live stats for the match between UNO and LSU will be available on UNOPrivateers.com.
After playing these two matches, the Privateers will play three matches over three days, beginning Mar. 6 when they host Xavier at 3 p.m.