Kentucky Bounced From SEC Tournament
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 20th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats men’s tennis team saw its Southeastern Conference tournament run cut short on Friday evening, dropping a 4-2 decision to the four-seed Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 19-9 on the season and marks its exit from the SEC tournament. Kentucky, likely a two-seed in the NCAA regionals in recent projections, will await its fate in the national tournament with the NCAA selection show set for Tuesday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m. ET.
After a pushed up start to 1 p.m., due to anticipated weather, storms struck minutes before the match began. After a six-and-a-half hour hiatus, Kentucky and Mississippi State got underway, beginning with singles play due to limited courts at the indoor facility.
The two sides had a tug-of-war, trading off point on the top four courts. Kentucky saw itself in a 1-0 deficit early, as junior Nils Ellefsen fell in a tough 6-2, 6-1 decision on the third court.
The Wildcats bounced back, posting wins on the top and fourth courts minutes apart. Sophomore William Bushamuka put together another complete performance, handling Mississippi State’s Mate Cutura, 6-2, 6-4, on the top court. Classmate Trey Yates edged the Bulldogs’ Niclas Braun in a 7-2 first-set tiebreak before dismantling his opponent 6-1 in the second set to give Kentucky a 2-1 lead.
Freshman Ryotaro Matsumura struggled on the second court, dropping the match 6-2, 6-4, and allowing Mississippi State to tie the match at 2-all.
Freshman Austin Hussey fought for three sets but eventually fell on the fifth court, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Sophomore Jake Stefanik then batttled three sets as well before dropping the clinching match 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
#25 Mississippi State 4, #20 Kentucky 2
1. #29 William Bushamuka (UK) def. Mate Cutura (MSU) 6-2, 6-4
2. Rishab Agarwal (MSU) def. #39 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) 6-2, 6-4
3. Nuno Borges (MSU) def. Nils Ellefsen (UK) 6-2, 6-1
4. Trey Yates (UK) def. Niclas Braun (MSU) 7-6, 6-1
5. Strahinja Rakic (MSU) def. Austin Husssey (UK) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. Jake Stefanik (UK) 6-4, 1-6, 7-5
Order of Finish: Singles (3,1,4,2,5,6)
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.