No. 8 Tennessee Holds Off No. 18 Men's Tennis, 4-2

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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No. 8 Tennessee Holds Off No. 18 Men's Tennis, 4-2

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After falling behind 3-0, the sixth-seeded LSU men’s tennis team cut second-seeded Tennessee’s lead to 3-2 but LSU’s rally fell short as the Volunteers won, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament Friday morning at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center.

The match was moved indoors after heavy rain hit Fayetteville early Friday morning.

The loss drops the 18th-ranked Tigers record to 14-8 on the season and 21-17 in tournament play. LSU owns a 9-9 record in quarterfinal matches. The Tigers will now wait for their seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The eighth-ranked Volunteers (21-2) will now face the winner of the 10th-seeded Kentucky and second-seeded Ole Miss match in the quarterfinals.

“We played extremely hard in singles after losing the doubles point,” LSU head coach Jeff Brown said. “Jan (Zelezny) had a little injury that took him out of singles. The good news is we put ourselves in position to win the match. Unfortunately, our turnaround made it more heartbreaking when we couldn’t close out the match. I feel good about where our team is and I am excited about the three weeks we have to improve before NCAAs.”

 LSU was in contention on all thee doubles courts.

On court two, the LSU senior pair of Kevin Dessauer and Colt Gaston went back and forth with Davey Sandgren and Jeremy Tweedt . The SEC tandems were tied at 6-all tie before Sandgren and Tweedt pulled away and took the next two games to claim the 8-6 victory.

LSU’s top pair of James Cluskey and Michael Venus controlled the early goings of their match with the 12th-ranked team of Kaden Hensel and J.P. Smith as they started with a 5-2 lead. The Volunteers began to crawl back in the match as they tied it at 6-all. The match ended up going to a tiebreaker where the Volunteers outlasted the Tigers, 8-6, to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead.

The tandem of Sebastian Carlsson and Zelezny was tied at 6-all in its match when Tennessee clinched the doubles point.  

The Volunteers jumped out to a 3-0 lead by picking up straight-sets victories on courts two and three.

Freshman Tiger Julien Gauthier celebrated his birthday by ending a five-match skid and putting the Tigers on the board by defeating Sandgren, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

Only seconds after Gauthier’s victory, Venus overcame a first-set deficit to take out All-SEC selection Hensel, 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

With Tennessee leading 3-2, the match would be decided on the outer courts.

On court five, Cluskey blanked Matteo Fago in the first set, 6-0. Fago began to find a rhythm and stole the momentum from the Irishman.  Fago outlasted Cluskey in a second set tiebreaker, 7-5, to extend the contest. Fago ended any chance of an LSU comeback by defeating Cluskey in the third set, 7-5, to send Tennessee into the quarterfinals.
 
Carlsson had a 4-3 lead on serve when Tennessee clinched the match.

The 2008 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis selection announcements will air between 1-1:30 p.m. CT, Tuesday, April 29, on ESPNews. In addition, the ESPNews audio signal is available on the ESPNews channel on XM Radio and Sirius Radio.

#8 Tennessee 4, #18 LSU, 2
April 18, 2008 at Fayetteville, Ark.
Dills Indoor Tennis Center

Singles
1. #39 Michael Venus (LSU) def. #41 Kaden Hensel (UT,) 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-4
2. #33 J.P. Smith (UT) def. Kevin Dessauer (LSU), 6-1, 6-3
3. Boris Conkic (UT) def. Colt Gaston (LSU,) 6-3, 6-3
4. Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Davey Sandgren (UT), 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
5. Matteo Fago (UT) def. James Cluskey (LSU), 0-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5
6. Jeremy Tweedt (UT) vs. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU), 4-6, 7-5, 3-4, unfinished

Doubles
1. #12 Kaden Hensel/J.P. Smith (UT) def. #26 James Cluskey/Michael Venus (LSU), 9-8 (6)
2. Davey Sandgren/Jeremy Tweedt (UT) def. Colt Gaston/Kevin Dessauer (LSU), 8-6
3. Boris Conkic/Matteo Fago (UT) vs. Sebastian Carlsson/Jan Zelezny (LSU), 6-6, unfinished

Match Notes:
LSU, 14-8,6-5; National ranking #18
Tennessee 21-2, 9-2; National ranking #8
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (2,3,4,1,5)
Match was moved indoors due to heavy rain early in the morning

2008 SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament
April 17-20, 2008
Fayetteville, Ark. (George M. Billingsley Tennis Center)
All times Central and subject to change without notice

First Round
Thursday, April 17
Match 1 #6 LSU def. #11 Mississippi State, 4-0
Match 2: #10 Kentucky def. #7 Auburn, 4-2
Match 3: #12 South Carolina def. #5 Alabama, 4-3
Match 4: #8 Vanderbilt def. #9 Arkansas, 4-3

Quarterfinals
Friday, April 18
Match 5: #3 Tennessee def. #6 LSU, 4-2
Match 6: #10 Kentucky vs. #2 Ole Miss, 11 a.m.
Match 7: #12 South Carolina vs. #4 Florida, 1:30 p.m.
Match 8: #8 Vanderbilt vs. #1 Georgia, 3:30 p.m.

Semifinals
Saturday, April 19
Match 9: #3 Tennessee vs. Match 6 Winner, 10 a.m.
Match 10: Match 7 Winner vs. Match 8 Winner, 2 p.m.

Championship
Sunday, April 20
Match 11: Match 9 Winner vs. Match 10 Winner, 1 p.m.