March 5, 2009
The fifth-ranked Tennessee men's tennis team opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend when it travels to the Magnolia State to take on Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Mississippi State match is Friday at 2 p.m. Central time and the Ole Miss match is Sunday at 1 p.m. Central.
The Vols (7-2) have been led this season by the sophomore trio of Boris Conkic, Matteo Fago and John-Patrick Smith. The netters are a combined 18-3 in dual-match play. Smith is ranked 10th nationally and Conkic 38th in the most recent ITA singles rankings.
Last season, Tennessee went 9-2 in the SEC to finish second in the Eastern Division. UT was picked by the league coaches as the preseason divisional favorites over two-time defending national champion Georgia.
Mississippi State (4-2) is 3-0 this season at home and has not played since Feb. 22. The Bulldogs have swept the doubles point in their last three matches. Louis Cant and Antonio Lastre are tied for the team lead with four singles dual-match wins.
The Ole Miss (8-2) singles lineup consists of four freshmen and two seniors. Seniors Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge are ranked fifth in doubles and are the leaders of their four freshmen teammates. Last season, Ole Miss won a 4-3 thriller over UT in a match that lasted more than six hours.
Links to live scoring for both matches can be found at UTsports.com.