JACKSON, Miss. – For the second year in a row, the River Hills Cup is wrapped in Maroon and White. In an expectedly tough battle, No. 10 Mississippi State (5-0) defeated No. 12 Ole Miss (2-1) 4-2 Thursday at River Hills Club to retain the trophy in a match that lasted nearly six hours.
The Bulldogs have won four consecutive matches against their in-state foes and are the preseason coaches pick to win the Southeastern Conference in 2013.
“I thought it was an amazing match,” head coach Per Nillson said. “They’re not easy to beat and they have a really good team. This is a huge win for our team and also for our freshmen.”
State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by capturing the doubles point to start the match. MSU’s duo of Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson, playing at the No. 2 spot, dropped their match to the No. 25-ranked Ole Miss team of William Kallberg and Adrian Skogeng 8-3, giving the Rebels the early advantage.
However, the Bulldogs grabbed an impressive 8-5 victory on court one from the No. 28 duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp against Ole Miss’ No. 43 Jonas Lutjen and Nik Scholtz. The MSU freshmen duo of Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont then followed with a clinching 8-6 win against UM’s Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark on court three.
State built a 3-0 lead in the singles match before Ole Miss fought back.
MSU’s junior Stropp, ranked 81st in the nation, was the first to finish, pulling a major upset against No. 5 Lutjen of Ole Miss at No. 2. Stropp took the first set, but Lutjen forced a deciding set in the match, which Stropp took with ease, posting a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory. Stropp is now 5-0 this season in singles.
State’s second singles victory came from No. 25 Bogaerts at the No. 1 spot in the lineup. Bogaerts, now 5-0 this season, captured the first set, but Scholtz fired back to take the second, forcing a third and final set. MSU’s Bogaerts finally took the match 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
At that point, State senior James Chaudry was in a battle with No. 95 Kallberg in a tight three-setter at the No. 3 spot. Despite earning several match points in the third set, Chaudry dropped a tough decision 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(8).
At the No. 5 position, State’s Dumont faced off against UM’s Lindmark, but fell 6-4, 6-3, leaving MSU rookies Angus and Stefan Vinti still on court.
Angus fell behind a set early and it looked as if Vinti would provide the deciding point of the match after blowing past Adrian Skogeng 6-0 in his first set. But Angus started battling back against Backstrom at the No. 4 position and rallied to claim a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 triumph to clinch the team victory for the Bulldogs. Angus improved to 5-0 on the season with the victory.
After the match was clinched, Vinti was still up a set and tight in the second with Skogeng when play was suspended.