Tigers Take Down Commodores in SEC Opener
BATON ROUGE—The No. 38 LSU men’s tennis team defeated No. 39 Vanderbilt, 4-3, at the LSU Tennis Complex Friday night.
The Tigers improve to 9-2 on the dual season and 1-0 in SEC play.
LSU started the day off securing the doubles point like they have much of the season. The No. 59 duo of senior Rafael Wagner and freshman Ronald Hohmann stayed undefeated with a 6-3 win on court two. It was a race for a second win when the sophomore duo of Boris Kozlov and Nick Watson and sophomore Daniel Moreno and junior Joey Thomas were both locked at 5-3 in the respective games. Kozlov and Watson won the chase for six, defeating their counterpart on court three, 6-3.
No. 99 Boris Kozlov improved to 7-0 on the season after quickly defeating Max Freeman on court three, 6-3, 6-4. Ronald Hohmann rolled through his first set on court two, winning 6-1. He fell behind early in the second set and couldn’t dig out of it, falling 2-6. Hohmann shook the set off, got behind the crowd cheering him on and dominated the third set, giving LSU a 3-1 lead with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 victory. He credits his teammates for getting him past the rough second set saying, “They really helped me through that third set. Having my teammates and the crowd be loud and cheering is crucial, it gets a lot of energy going.” Rafael Wagner followed up Hohmann’s performance with his fifth win in the dual season, clinching the win for the Tigers. Wagner dropped the first set 4-6, then proceeded to dominate the next two sets, winning the match, 4-6. 6-2, 6-3. Tomas Descarrega suffered his second loss on the season after he was defeated 6-1, 6-2. Joey Thomas also had his second loss on court six. He pushed the first set to a tiebreak but fell 7-6(7). He wasn’t able to come back in the second set, dropping the match 7-6(7), 6-4. After Wagner clinched the match, Malik Bhatnagar fell to his opponent on court one, 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 6-3, making the final score, 4-3.
Co-head coach Chris Brandi was thankful to get the first SEC win of the season, but knows there is still work to be done.
“We felt like we had some momentum coming into this match, but we still think our best tennis is ahead of us. We’re playing better each match, building confidence, but we still feel like we’re nowhere near the level we want to be at.” Brandi said. “This was a close match with a lot of back and forth. It came down to the wire and we’re lucky to get out alive, but we’re still very happy with the win.”
The Tigers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to take on the Kentucky Wildcats at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center Sunday at Noon CST.
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No. 38 LSU, 4 | No. 39 Vanderbilt, 3
Doubles (Order of Finish- 3, 2)
Singles (Order of Finish- 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 1)
1. #109 George Harwell (VANDY) def. Malik Bhatnagar (LSU) 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 6-3
2. Ronald Hohmann (LSU) def. Billy Rowe (VANDY) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
3. #99 Boris Kozlov (LSU) def. Max Freeman (VANDY) 6-3, 6-4
4. Rafael Wagner (LSU) def. Macsen Sisam (VANDY) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Panu Virtanen (VANDY) def. Tomas Descarrega (LSU) 6-1, 6-2
6. Marcus Ferreira (VANDY) def. Joey Thomas (LSU) 7-6 (9-7), 6-4
Vanderbilt 6-4 (0-1 SEC); National ranking #39
LSU 9-2 (1-0 SEC); National ranking #38
Official: Richie Weaver