Rebels Men Host, Women Hit The Road For NCAA Tennis Tournaments

Rebels Men Host, Women Hit The Road For NCAA Tennis Tournaments

The Ole Miss men host for the 11th time in program history and the second year in a row.
OXFORD, Miss. (University of Mississippi) - For the 11th time in the history of the program and the second year in a row, the Ole Miss men’s tennis team will host the NCAA first and second rounds at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center May 10-11. The Rebels are the No. 6 seed in the NCAA 64-team bracket announced Tuesday and will face Lehigh University in the first round.

Also coming to Oxford for the four-team regional are Memphis and BYU. The Rebels (15-8) will play Lehigh at 12:00 p.m. Friday, May 10 followed by Memphis and BYU not before 3:00 p.m. The winners will meet Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Urbana, Ill.

“We’re extremely excited to host again,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “It’s become a tradition here, and it’s a great tradition. It’s a big advantage if you want to move on to the Final 16, and we hope to take advantage of it.”

The Rebels (15-8) have been ranked inside the nation’s top 10 nine straight weeks and won the SEC Western Division Championship for the 10th time.

For seniors Jonas Lutjen and Adrian Forberg Skogeng, it means they get to play at home one last time and both are set to graduate.

“We are really excited to host and play at home in front of a big crowd,” Lutjen said. “We want to finish the season strong. It doesn’t matter if you are seeded six, seven or eight, we have to win two matches to get to the Sweet Sixteen. That’s all that matters. We didn’t play our best at the SEC Tournament, and so hopefully we can bounce back and play our best at the NCAA Tournament.”

The SEC was as good as it’s ever been this year, and Tuesday, 12 teams earned NCAA bids with eight teams hosting first and second rounds. The Rebels hosted the SEC Tournament a couple weeks ago, and are looking forward to erasing the disappointment of losing their first match in front of the home crowd.

“It’s always exciting for us, you play the whole year to get to this moment,” said two-time All-SEC honoree Nik Scholtz who has battled injury the last half of the season. “It’s crunch time. The team is healthy and we’ll be ready. “We were ok health-wise for the SEC Tournament we just weren’t able to practice and prepare like we needed to beforehand. We were all obviously disappointed because we felt we had a chance to win it and then to lose the first match we played. We want to show people that we are better than that. Any time you host an event it gives you a tremendous boost, and we have to make the most of it.”

Lehigh (18-5) earned their first ever NCAA bid. The Mountain Hawks went 4-2 in Patriot League regular season play to earn the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, where they won the first league title in school history with wins over Holy Cross, Bucknell and Navy. They are led by senior co-captain Andrew Krentz.

The Ole Miss women's tennis team earned its fifth consecutive and 16th overall NCAA Championship bid and will travel to Lubbock, Texas for the first and second rounds. The Rebels will face the Duke in the first round.

The other two teams in the field are host, Texas Tech, and the College of Charleston. Ole Miss (16-13) and Duke will meet Saturday, May 11 at 11 a.m. in the first round. Texas Tech and College of Charleston will play not before 2 p.m. The winners will meet Sunday, May 12 at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Urbana, Ill.

“I am surprised,” said head coach Mark Beyers, on his initial reaction to going to Lubbock. “You kind of speculate where you think you might go, and Lubbock never came up in any conversation. We played there last year, so it’s not a total surprise. The girls know what to expect from a facilities standpoint. Early in the year, Duke was one of the top teams in the country. They’ve suffered some injuries, so maybe it’s not the worst draw in the world.”

The Rebels played both Duke and Texas Tech in 2012, losing a tough 4-3 match at Texas Tech early in the season and then falling to Duke at the ITA National Team Indoor by the same score.

“It’s going to be so much fun,” said junior All-SEC honoree Caroline Rohde-Moe. “This is what we’ve been working towards the whole season. To be able to go somewhere like Texas Tech and get to play teams that we’ve played before, it’s a great feeling at the end of the year. We definitely have a lot to show, and we’ve been practicing hard the last couple of weeks. We are ready to show what we can do and hopefully upset some people.”

The Rebels are a young team with just Rohde-Moe as the lone upperclassmen. However, sophomores Julia Jones, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven can draw on the experience of making it as freshmen last year.

“We definitely got a good draw, we have a chance to do really well,” said Jones, who finished the regular season 15-7 in dual matches at two and three singles. We are going to prove that we can play our best tennis in May. We are all playing really well right now, and we’ve been practicing well these last two weeks. We’re all excited.”

Duke comes into the NCAA Championships with a 14-9 overall record and having lost to Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament in their most recent action. They are led by 27th-ranked Hanna Mar.

Follow the Rebels men on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis. Follow the Rebels women on Twitter, @OleMissWTennis and on Facebook at OleMissWTennis.

Ole Miss Men’s Tennis at NCAA Championships
Oxford, Miss. • May 10-11
First Round • Friday, May 10
Match 1 – Lehigh (18-5) vs. (6) Ole Miss (15-8), 12:00 p.m.
Match 2 – BYU (21-6) vs. Memphis (14-7), Not before 3:00 p.m. CT
Second Round • Saturday, May 11
Match 3 – Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 2:00 p.m. CT

Ole Miss Women’s Tennis at NCAA Championships
Lubbock, Texas • May 11-12
First Round • Saturday, May 11
Match 1 – Duke (14-9) vs. Ole Miss (16-13), 11:00 a.m. CT
Match 2 – (16) Texas Tech (19-6) vs. College of Charleston (20-8), Not before 2:00 p.m. CT
Second Round • Sunday, May 12
Match 3 – Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 1:00 p.m. CT
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