STARKVILLE, Miss. – Despite a rally in singles action, No. 15 Arkansas fell to Mississippi State 4-1 on Sunday at A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
It was the Razorbacks’ first loss since Jan. 29. Arkansas (13-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) entered Sunday’s match sitting alone atop the SEC standings and riding a program-tying best 10-match win streak. It was also the longest active win streak in the SEC.
Mississippi State (10-4, 3-3 SEC) won doubles and earned three wins in singles for the team victory.
“Hats off to Mississippi State,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “Both teams played extremely hard today, and we certainly felt like after digging a hole early, that we were gaining strength the longer it went. We just got down a bit too far earlier in the match.”
The Bulldogs earned consecutive wins at the No. 3 and No. 1 doubles spots to pick up the first point of the match and halt Arkansas’ streak of 10 straight doubles points. At the clinch, the Razorbacks’ No. 2 team of junior Mia Jurasic and sophomore Ana Oparenovic was leading 5-4.
In singles, Mississippi State earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 and held first-set leads at the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 positions, before the Razorbacks began to battle back. Freshman Giulia Pairone trimmed Mississippi State’s lead to 2-1 with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 victory at No. 5, while junior Léolia Jeanjean and Jurasic pushed their matches to a third set at No. 3 and No. 4.
Despite Arkansas’ spirited fight, Mississippi State extended its lead to 3-1 with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win at No. 2 and then edged out a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 6 to clinch the overall match at 4-1. Play on the remaining courts was stopped after the clinch. In their third sets, Jeanjean led 5-3, while Jurasic was up 3-2.
Pairone’s win at No. 5 upped her dual-match singles record to 9-1.
Arkansas will play at No. 28 Tulsa at 3 p.m. on Wednesday before hosting No. 1 Florida at 6 p.m. Friday and No. 21 South Carolina at 11 a.m. Sunday.