BENTONVILLE, Ark. – No. 25 Arkansas fought off losing the doubles point and blustery wind conditions to came back to knock off No. 16 LSU, 4-3, on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at the Wal-Mart Tennis Center in Bentonville.
The win guarantees (16-8, 6-5 SEC) a winning SEC season and the sixth overall seed in next week’s conference tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Razorbacks will likely face Vanderbilt, who the Hogs defeated, 7-0, earlier this season.
Seniors Rohan Gajjar, Matt Roberts and Adrians Zguns were honored following the doubles point for their four years in the Razorback Tennis program. The trio has combined to win over 250 singles matches and has led the Hogs to two top-40 final rankings and a Sweet 16 appearance.
The win is the Hogs’ second over a top-20 team. Arkansas defeated No. 11 Virginia on Feb. 18, 4-2. UA is now 11-8 against ranked opponents.
Arkansas avenged a February setback to LSU (14-8, 7-4). The Tigers bested UA at the ITA National Indoors in Seattle, Wash., 4-1, on Feb. 19.
The victory is the fourth time this season Arkansas has recovered from dropping the doubles point to win the dual match. The Razorbacks are 4-8 when losing doubles and 12-0 when winning the point.
Trailing 1-0 heading into singles, the Hogs won the first set in five of the six singles contests.
Zguns evened the score at 1-1 when he knocked off 21st-ranked Ken Skupski, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 1. Zguns’ victory was the 101st of his career, tying him with Oskar Johansson for third in school history. The 22nd-ranked Zguns is 23-8 this season, 15-5 in dual matches and 6-4 in the SEC.
Freshman Blake Strode notched his seventh straight win, knocking off Danny Bryan, 6-2, 7-5, at No. 4. Strode, ranked 124th, has won 11 of his past 13 matches, and improves to 24-5 overall, 16-3 in duals and 8-3 in the SEC.
LSU quickly responded with Mark Growcott’s upset of UA’s 93rd-ranked Gajjar, 1-6, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 3. The loss drops Gajjar to 19-8 this season, 14-5 overall and 6-4 in league play. The Tigers’ Martel Campbell added another point, bettering Arkansas freshman Austin King, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, at No. 6, giving LSU a 3-2 advantage. King falls to 11-6 this season, 4-3 in duals and 2-2 in the SEC.
Roberts answered for the Hogs with a, 6-4, 7-6 (6), triumph over 100th-ranked Colt Gaston at No. 2. It was the 26th win of the season for Roberts, tying his total from a year ago, which is the 10th best in school history. Roberts is 26-8 in 2006, 17-5 in duals and 8-3 in conference action.
With the match all square at 3-3, the focus shifted to court five, where Arkansas’ Colin Mascall and LSU’s James Cluskey were locked in a tight third-set. Mascall would break Cluskey to clinch the match for Arkansas, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. It is the sixth time this season Mascall has clinched a Razorback dual match win. Mascall improves to 12-9 and 5-5 in the SEC.
Arkansas will host No. 19 Oklahoma St. Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Wal-Mart Tennis Center, before traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala. for next weekend’s SEC Tournament at the University of Alabama Tennis Complex.
#25 Arkansas 4, #16 LSU 3
April 15, 2006
1. #9 Ken Skupski/Mark Growcott (LSU) def. Matt Roberts/Rohan Gajjar (AR), 8-6
2. #25 Colt Gaston/Danny Bryan (LSU) vs. #44 Blake Strode/Adrians Zguns (AR), 7-6 (susp.)
3. Paul White/James Cluskey (LSU) def. Colin Mascall/Austin King (AR), 8-6
Order of Finish: 1, 3
1. #22 Adrians Zguns (AR) def. #21 Ken Skupski (LSU), 6-3, 6-3
2. #57 Matt Roberts (AR) def. #100 Colt Gaston (LSU), 6-4, 7-6 (6)
3. Mark Growcott (LSU) def. #93 Rohan Gajjar (AR), 1-6, 6-3, 6-0
4. #124 Blake Strode (AR) def. Danny Bryan (LSU), 6-2, 7-5
5. Colin Mascall (AR) def. James Cluskey (LSU), 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
6. Martel Campbell (LSU) def. Austin King (AR), 6-1, 2-6, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3, 6, 2, 5*