Historic Weekend for Women's Tennis BULLDOGS DEFEAT TWO top 15 teams back-To-back, A program first

No. 2 VANDERBILT - March 15, 2018

Despite dropping doubles and later going down 3-2 in the match, the Mississippi State women's tennis team (11-5, 2-3 SEC) fought back for a memorable 4-3 upset of No. 2 Vanderbilt (11-3, 4-1) Thursday afternoon in front of the home crowd at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The triumph marked the highest-ranked win in MSU Tennis history (men's or women's).

The victory also snapped a 32-match Commodore win streak in the series and was the first State triumph against VU since 1991.

For the second consecutive outing, State's match would be decided on court 4, with the score tied at 3-3, and junior Anastasia Rentouli holding the Bulldogs' fate on her racquet in a deciding third set.

Rentouli built a 3-1 lead in the breaker early, but once again Meyer battled back. The players went back and forth and Rentouli found herself leading 6-5 and serving. On a final point that was very indicative of how the entire match went, the players exchanged a 39-shot rally before Rentouli drilled a backhand winner down the line to hold serve and post a marathon 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (5) match-clinching victory.

That victory was preceded by an equally tough and important win from senior Khrystyna Vozniak at the No. 6 position. Vozniak went the distance in two tiebreaks for a straight-set 7-6(5), 7-6(8) triumph against Vandy's Emily Smith to knot the match at 3-all. Smith served the second set at 6-5, but Vozniak rallied to force the decisive and critical second tiebreak to the outcome of the match.

"I have been saying each week how proud I am of how these girls battle. Their commitment paid off in a big way today...This league is extremely tough and we will continue to fight one match at a time." - Daryl Greenan, Head Coach

No. 14 KENTUCKY - March 18, 2018

The Maroon & White defended the home courts in doubles Saturday as Sara Lizariturry and Anastasia Rentouli vanquished Kentucky's Diana Tkachenko and Brianna Tulloch 6-3 on court 3 to lead things off. On court 1, Bulldogs Madison Harrison and Khrystyna Vozniak upset UK's 40th-ranked Mami Adachi and Emily Fanning 6-4 to clinch the doubles point and give MSU an early 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats would not go down without a fight, splitting the opening sets evenly with the Bulldogs and sending five matches to a third and deciding set. Finishing 40 minutes before any other match, MSU's Vozniak posted a straight-set 6-1, 6-4 triumph over the Wildcats' Tulloch at No. 6, extending the home lead to 2-0.

On court 5, State's Lizariturry blitzed UK's Lesedi Jacobs in the third set for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 victory to remain perfect in conference play and extend her winning streak to a team-leading five matches.

With the Bulldogs leading 3-0, MSU's Rentouli posted her third-straight come-from-behind triumph - 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 - against Wildcat Tkachenko on court 4 to clinch the team victory for State. Rentouli has clinched all three of State's victories in the Bulldogs' current win streak in league play with three-set comeback efforts.

The remaining matches were suspended with State's Harrison leading UK's No. 122 Justina Mikulskyte 3-6, 6-1, 6-5 on court 1. On court 2, UK's Fanning led MSU's Magda Adaloglou 4-6, 6-4, 4-1. The Wildcats' Adachi held a 6-3, 5-7, 5-2 lead on court 3 against Bulldog Janina Braun.

"I really can't say enough about how proud I am of our girls. The effort, intensity and focus we are playing with right now are making us a hard team to beat. We are competing extremely well every time we step on the court...We are all very excited to get these past few conference wins. They should provide plenty of confidence moving forward, but we know we have to take it one match at a time." - Daryl Greenan, Head Coach

Photos by Trevor Birchett and Blake Williams. Story by Mississippi State Athletics.

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