ATHENS, Ga. - Mississippi State's remaining contingent in the NCAA Singles Championship was eliminated Friday as seniors Artem Ilyushin and Louis Cant fell in a pair of tough setbacks in the round of 16 to top 16 seeds.
In the opening match of singles action for the day, MSU's 13th-ranked Ilyushin faced a tough round of 16 opponent in No. 3 Eric Quigley of Kentucky. Falling behind 5-2 in the first set, Ilyushin answered with three straight games and eventually sent the set to a tiebreaker. Down 5-3 in the breaker, Ilyushin battled to tie it at 5-all but his efforts fell short as Quigley took the next two points and the first set 7-6(5).
However, Ilyushin bounced right back as he charged out with a 3-0 lead in the second set but Quigley answered with three straight games of his own. The two would exchange the next two serves but Quigley earned the edge with a break to serve for the match at 5-4. Yet again, Ilyushin answered with a solid break back and hold to earn a 6-5 advantage once again. Quigley held and the two went to a tiebreaker for the second set as well. There, Quigley jumped to a quick 4-0 lead before Ilyushin rallied to 4-4 before Quigley took the last three points and the match 7-6(5), 7-6(4).
Ilyushin ended his Bulldog career with All-America and first-team, all-SEC honors his senior season. Named ITA Southern Region Senior of the Year, he won 129 total matches as a Bulldog.
In the second match of the day, 50th-ranked Cant faced No. 14 Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss. Down 4-3 in the first set, Cant won the final three games of the set to take it 6-4. In the second, Cant got up a break early on and held it to 5-4 where he served for the match. However, Scholtz broke him to 5-5, but Cant answered to 6-5 and served for the match once again. But again, Scholtz got it back and forced a tiebreaker which he took 7-3 to force a third set. In the third, Scholtz held service breaks twice, at 2-1 and 3-2, but Cant bounced back both times to even things. At 4-4 with Cant serving, Scholtz got another break and held to finally claim the excellent battle 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.
Cant's MSU career ended just as nicely. He earned All-American honors with his run to the round of 16 in Athens and was also a first-team, all-SEC selection. He won 153 matches as a Bulldog and now stands alone in 10th place at MSU for career singles wins (87) and is tied for 10th in doubles triumphs (66).
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Individual Championships - Singles
5/25/12 - Dan Magill Tennis Complex - Athens, Ga.