By Ryan Hannegan
The No. 7 Baylor men’s tennis team improved to 8-2 on the season with a 4-0 shutout of No. 26 Mississippi (2-3) on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco.
Baylor’s pairing of junior Michel Dornbusch and freshman Vince Schneider got the Bears off to a strong start, claiming the first doubles victory on court three defeating Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark, 8-5. The Rebels fought back to earn a win, 8-6, from Nik Scholtz and Ricardo Jorge over No. 18 junior Diego Galeano and junior Tony Lupieri to force the point to be decided by the final doubles match. Trailing 6-2, Baylor’s combo of senior
Patrick Pradella and junior Mate Zsiga came back to force a tie break, before winning 8-7(3) against the duo of William Kallberg and Joe Rogers to give the Bears a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
“We got a win,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “That is what we wanted. We are pleased to win. They are a great program and you see they fight hard for every single point on every single court. They are not an easy team to beat.”
In singles play, Galeano was the first Baylor player to win, posting a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Lindmark on court three to put the Bears up 2-0. Schneider then put the Bears a point away from clinching the match with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Vinod Gowda.
Lupieri clinched the match point for the team on court four with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over Backstrom to give Baylor its fifth shutout victory of the season. Lupieri was behind 5-2 in the third set, before taking the set with five straight game wins.
“I just fought hard on every single point and just tried to focus as much as possible and do my thing,” Lupieri said.
The Bears stayed undefeated at home this season, holding a 7-0 record during that span. Baylor also improves to 2-3 all-time vs. Mississippi and 2-2 in the Matt Knoll era.
In other news, No. 6 Julian Lenz has missed his third-straight match due to injury.
“It was a really tough match,” Knoll said. “They took us to five three setters. You see their ranking and that is misleading. Their number five guy was out for the first part of the season and they really didn’t have a lot of depth down there. That makes them a different team. They will be in the hunt for the SEC title.”
The Bears will begin a five-match road trip on Saturday when they travel to Charlottesville, Va., to face No. 3 Virginia. Baylor will then travel to face No. 2 USC and No. 4 UCLA in Los Angeles. Beginning on March 15, Baylor will compete in the Oracle Collegiate Challenge in Indian Wells, Calif., before returning home on March 21, to host No. 32 Tulsa.