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The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis team learned their postseason destinations, as the men's and women's NCAA Tournament fields were announced Tuesday.

The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are the No. 14 overall seed and will be hosting the first and second rounds, their 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The women, ranked No. 20, are making their seventh straight appearance and will travel to Coral Gables, Florida, for the first and second rounds.

The men drew Alabama State in the first round, and the winner will play the winner of the other first-round match between No. 20-ranked Columbia and Georgia Tech.

Led by All-SEC first team selections Nik Scholtz and Stefan Lindmark, the Rebels finished 17-8 overall and 8-4 in SEC play, tied for fourth place in the league standings. They advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, where they fell to No. 7-ranked Georgia.

"The guys have been extremely good at handling being the favorite in some matches and also being the underdog in a couple of matches," head coach Toby Hansson said. "We have a group of guys who have been taking care of business."

Alabama State (SWAC) and Columbia (Ivy) earned the automatic bid in their respective leagues, while Georgia Tech made a run to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament to receive an at-large bid. Last year, Columbia won their first two NCAA Tournament matches in program history and advanced to the NCAA Final 16.

"When you get to this part of the season, there's not a bad team involved, so it doesn't matter who you are playing," Scholtz said. "You have to be ready and you have to be prepared. We know that, and for the younger guys, I'll make sure they know that. We're going to take it one match at a time and make sure that we can control what we control, which is to compete to the best of our abilities."

The women drew Denver in the first round, and the winner will face the winner of No. 15 seed Miami (FL) and North Florida in the second round.  

Led by senior Julia Jones, the No. 9 player in the nation, the Rebels finished 15-10 overall and 5-8 in SEC play, ninth place in the league standings. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, where they fell to No. 5-ranked Florida.

"From a talent standpoint, this team has probably been the best team that I have had," said 14th-year head coach Mark Beyers. "Early on, we had to learn how to win some close matches, and when we finally did that, we started to hit our stride."

The Hurricanes, ranked No. 15 in the nation, finished 16-6 overall and 12-2 in ACC play, tied for second place in the league standings. They were upset by Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Denver (Summit) and North Florida (Atlantic Sun) earned automatic bids out of their respective leagues.

"Miami has a great team," Beyers said. "They're ranked 15th in the country, but we have a great team, too. We have played a lot of good teams playing in the SEC throughout the year. I don't think our kids are going to be intimidated, and we're looking forward to the challenge."

With a split of road matches at South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia, the Ole Miss men's tennis team moved up one spot to No. 13 in the nation entering the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Championship this week in College Station, Texas.

The Rebels finished tied for fourth place in the SEC standings, but by virtue of a tiebreaker, they claimed the No. 4 seed and a double-bye to Friday's quarterfinal round, having defeated both No. 22 ranked Vanderbilt and No. 17 ranked Florida during the regular season.

The fourth-seeded Rebels will play the fifth-seeded Commodores in quarterfinal action Friday. Vanderbilt defeated Auburn 4-2 in second-round action Thursday. In their regular-season meeting, Ole Miss shut out Vanderbilt 4-0 in Oxford.

"We have had some ups and downs," head coach Toby Hansson said. "It hasn't been a smooth ride all the way, but we learned something from that as well. We have taken the losses we have had and learned from them and moved on. We're excited to earn the No. 4 seed and head to Texas A&M."

Ole Miss is led by senior Nik Scholtz, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, and junior Stefan Lindmark, tied for the best record in SEC play with a perfect 8-0 record. Schultz, ranked No. 19 in the nation, looks to play his way back into the top 16 that would make him a four-time All-American and earn a seed in the NCAA Individual Championships.

As a team, the Rebels head to College Station making a push to host the NCAA First and Second Rounds for the 12th time and for the first time since the 2013 season. A win over Auburn or Vanderbilt would likely solidify their spot in the top 16 of the national rankings.

Last year, each of the top 16 teams earned one of the 16 national seeds, and only No. 16 seed Columbia did not host first and second round matches.

"We don't really talk about that too much," Hansson said. "We try to stay where we are. We have a tough assignment in the first round. That's what we're focused on. Needless to say, the guys are aware of the situation. 

"A win would solidify a spot in the top 16, you would think. But we're going there to win the tournament. We're not happy to get by the first round. We're looking ahead. We want to go all the way, but the first match comes first, and we're going to treat that one the same way we have treated every match this season."

Scholtz Makes One More Memory

The reigning SEC Player of the Year, Nik Scholtz decided to return for his senior season, wanting to give Ole Miss and Oxford one more season.

Playing in perhaps his last home match at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center Saturday, Scholtz gave the home crowd another match to remember, a fitting send-off, if it was indeed his last home match.

Scholtz partnered with freshman Zvonimir Babic for a 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles, and in singles play, he won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 singles to give the Rebels a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-0 win over Kentucky. For Scholtz, it was his 21st win in his last 22 home matches and his 80th career victory.

"Last year when I walked out of here, it was emotional, but I knew in the back of mind there was a possibility that I could come back if I wanted to, but this time there is no coming back (after the last match)," Scholtz said. "That's life. It goes on. It's time for the younger guys to step up. I feel like I gave everything I had to the school like they did for me. I'm satisfied."

Fittingly, with all eyes and camera phones on him, he served to close out his singles match, delivering the winning point after his opponent saved three previous match points. 

"I told myself that if that situation came to not think anything too erratic or think too far into the future, and it's so easy that, and then when that time comes and you hear that slow clap, it's in your mind," Scholtz said. "You have to handle it. He played three good points to get it to deuce, and then I was able to come with a good serve. It was good to finish with a serve. It's the right way to end it."

"They were soaking in the atmosphere, and they deserved every bit of it," said head coach Toby Hansson of Scholtz and fellow senior William Kallberg. "It's an amazing feeling for those guys, and also for me to be part of it. It's been a privilege to work with these guys for four years."

After the winning point, he threw up his signature Landshark, fist-pumped and then hugged his current head coach, Hansson, and his former head coach, Billy Chadwick. He also saluted the crowd, hitting the ball into the stands, before exiting Billy Chadwick Center Court for perhaps the last time.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been here in the first place," said Scholtz of Chadwick. "That's where it all started, and I finished on his court. That's where I played my first and last match. A lot of things came together to make it a really special moment."

Ole Miss plays their last two regular season matches on the road at South Carolina and Georgia, before traveling to College Station for the SEC Tournament. The Rebels, ranked No. 14 in the nation and now 15-6 overall, still have a chance to host the NCAA first and second rounds.

"It's good to know in the back of my mind that there's a slight possibility to play here again, and if that's not motivation, I don't know what is," Scholtz said. "I am going to do my best to make sure we get a chance to be back here for two more matches and I know the rest of the team will as well."

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

Feb. 10-16, 2015

Men's Basketball

- Ole Miss saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a one-point loss to No. 23 Arkansas Saturday night. Junior guard Stefan Moody and senior forward M.J. Rhett each scored 16 points to lead the Rebels, but Ole Miss fell in the last seconds to the Razorbacks. 

- That was the second winning streak of six games or better against SEC foes under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just three such winning streaks in the 71 years before Kennedy's arrival. 

- Moody scored a game-high 18 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds on the clock to lift Ole Miss to a 62-61 win over Florida.  

- The Rebels overcame a five-point halftime deficit to knock off the Gators, thanks to Moody, who was 5-of-10 shooting from the floor - including a 4-for-7 mark from 3-point range - and senior G LaDarius White, who scored 16 points off the bench. 

- The win marked the Rebels first in Gainesville since 1999 and gave Ole Miss its first season sweep of the Gators since 1990.

- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 78.9 percent of its attempts, which would rank second in  the NBA. The Rebels have hit 280 of their last 347 (.807) attempts from the line. 

- Moody leads the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation shooting 90.4 percent from the free throw line.


- Ole Miss started the season winning two out of three against William & Mary, improving to 14-1 in season openers under head Coach Mike Bianco

- The Rebels have now won 11 season-opening weekend series during the Bianco era

- Ole Miss recorded 11 doubles during the series to tie for the most in the SEC

- The Rebels clinched the series with a 16-2 victory in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, the most runs scored by Ole Miss since facing Arkansas State last season, May 13, 2014

- J.B. Woodman smacked three doubles in the series finale, becoming the first Rebel to accomplish that feat since Alex Yarbrough did it against Arkansas, April 20, 2012

- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in attendance in 2015 after bringing in an average of 8,489 fans during three games over the weekend for a total attendance of 25,469

Women's Basketball

- Senior forward Tia Faleru is 10 rebounds shy of her 800th career rebound. She will become one of seven players with 1,000 points and 800 rebounds and 150 steals. 

- Additionally, Faleru is approaching her 100th career assist and should she reach that, she will become one of a mere four players in program history with 1000 points, 800 rebounds, 150 steals and 100 assists.

- With her 18 points and 15 rebounds against Missouri, Faleru picked up her 30th career double-double. It moved her into the top five all-time at Ole Miss and gave her 10 double-doubles on the season. After going three straight games without a double-double, she has posted one in two of the last three games. 

-A'Queen Hayes had a career-high 16 points against Missouri for her eighth game in double figures this season and her first since scoring 12 against Mississippi State. 

- Fellow freshman Kiara Golden knocked down two triples against Missouri for her first points against an SEC foe and her third game with multiple three-pointers this season. 


- Ole Miss posted a 3-1 performance at the Battle at the Beach this past weekend, winning the tournament with victories over Iowa State, St. Bonaventure and Coastal Carolina.

- Junior OF Bri Payne tied the school record for RBI in a game with six RBI against Iowa State on February 14, tying the mark set by DeDe Justice in the 2003 season.

- Three Rebels were named to the All-Tournament team, including junior OF Bri Payne, sophomore OF Miranda Strother and freshman OF Elantra Cox.

- Strother hit .586 for the weekend, while Cox hit .571 and Payne turned in a .556 performance with eight RBI, sparked by a grand slam in the first inning against Iowa State.

- With the offensive outburst that led to the three-game win streak to close out the weekend, the Rebels now have four players hitting above .300 for the season - four over .400.

- Srother leads the Rebel offense, batting at a .533 clip for the year with five RBI and a team-leading seven runs scored, joining with Elantra Cox to hit above .500 on the year.

- Senior P Lauren Lindsey picked up her first win and save of the year, working 6.0 innings with no earned runs on Saturday in a win vs. Iowa State and save vs. Coastal Carolina.

- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over St. Bonaventure with one earned run and a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Bonnies.

Women's Tennis

- The No. 24 Rebels won a pair of matches over the weekend, downing Tulane 6-1 and defeating William & Mary 5-2 to improve to 8-1 on the season.

 - The 8-1 start equals their best start since the 1997 season.

 - Senior Julia Jones rose to No. 7 in the nation this past week in the singles rankings and earned the highest ranking for a Rebel since two-time All-American Kristi Boxx was ranked No. 9 on April 10, 2012.

Men's Tennis

- The No. 19 Rebels participated in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships this past weekend. They lost a close 4-1 match to No. 2 Oklahoma, who made the final, and then rallied to defeat No. 10 UCLA 4-3 on Saturday. The Rebels concluded play with a 4-0 loss to No. 6 Duke.

- Stefan Lindmark was up in the third set and Vinod Gowda had split when Oklahoma clinched 10-8 in the third set tiebreaker at No. 4 singles.

- Senior Nik Scholtz picked up another ranked this weekend, beating Oklahoma's Andrew Harris, who is ranked No. 26.

Track & Field

-  The Rebels had their final tuneups for the SEC Indoor Championships at two of the best track meets of the season this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Tyson Invitational) and Seattle, Washington (Husky Classic).

- Ole Miss athletes achieved a total of 15 personal-best marks between the two meets.

-  Among the highlights for the men were Branden Greene's personal-best 7-1 in the high jump (ranks him fourth in school history), Craig Engels' personal-best 4:01.19 in the mile (ranks him fourth in school history) and MJ Erb's personal-best 14:11.34 in the 5,000 meters (ranks him fourth in school history).

- The women were led by personal bests from Shannon Ray in the 200 (23.92, ranks her fourth in school history) and Mary Alex England in the 5,000 (16:49.86, ranks her second in school history).

- Ole Miss men that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Jalen Miller in the 60 (3rd, 6.55), Robert Domanic in the mile (38th, 4:00.62), Robert Semien in the 60 hurdles (36th, 7.90), the distance medley relay (18th, 9:40.51), Branden Greene in the high jump (20th, 7-1), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (37th, 7-0.25) and Phillip Young in the long jump (23rd, 24-9) and triple jump (7th, 52-9.5).

- Ole Miss women that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Brooke Feldmeier in the 800 (9th, 2:05.27), Kierra White in the long jump (40th, 19-9.5) and Fabia McDonald in the pentathlon (17th, 4,057).


- The Rebels dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to Navy at home before traveling to Jacksonville State.

- Freshman Jessica Haig turned in a career-best performance in air rifle against Navy with a 591. She then fired a personal best 573 in smallbore on Sunday.

The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team is off to a 3-0 start after winning the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Gainesville, Florida, last weekend with wins over No. 13 Florida and No. 29 South Carolina. The Rebels host Troy on Monday (3 p.m. CT), their first home match, before traveling to the ITA National Team Indoor Final 16, which will be held Feb. 13-16 in Chicago.

The No. 24 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis continues play on the road, traveling to Lubbock, Texas, this weekend to face No. 29 Texas Tech on Friday (5 p.m. CT) and No. 32 Rice on Saturday (Noon CT). The Rebels return home for three matches, starting with Tulane on Friday, Feb. 13 (2 p.m. CT).

PHOTOS: Chadwick HOF Induction

Chadwick: 'We Control Our Destiny'


One spot in the ITA national rankings can make all the difference. 

Last season, San Diego, ranked No. 44 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, while crosstown rival, San Diego State, ranked No. 45, was the highest ranked team left out of the 64-team field.

Ranked No. 53 in the country and likely needing a win over No. 10 Texas A&M to keep their postseason chances alive, Ole Miss played its most complete match of the season to knock off the Aggies 4-3 in legendary head coach Billy Chadwick's last SEC home match.

After the win, as well as a doubleheader sweep of Alcorn State, the Rebels moved up 10 spots to No. 43 in the country, ahead of Thursday's SEC Tournament match against No. 18 Tennessee in Nashville. In the first meeting in Knoxville, Ole Miss won 4-1 behind wins at Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 6 singles.

"If they were making the choice today, we might get in; we might not," Chadwick said. "We're ranked No. 43 in the country and traditionally they take 43 or 44 teams, in addition to the automatic bids that are ranked lower. We're walking the tightrope on it. We need to help ourselves and beat Tennessee."

Coaches often times talk about sense of urgency, such as men's basketball head coach Andy Kennedy referring to the team's 2013 NCAA Tournament run. For Chadwick, it's no different, led by the team's lone senior in Johan Backstrom and two-time All-American Nik Scholtz.

"You could see that when we played Texas A&M," Chadwick said. "They really played with a sense of urgency. We know that right now we control our destiny, and if we want to make the NCAA's, we take care of Tennessee."

"We believe we can do it," Scholtz said. "Making the tournament is another thing that's motivating us at this stage in the year. It's good to know that you're definitely in (the discussion), but the fact that we don't know if we're in the tournament is great motivation."

VIDEO: The Legend Of Billy Chadwick

The Season: Ole Miss Men's Tennis

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The Ole Miss women's tennis team continues to rise in the ITA National Rankings, from No. 32 to No. 26 after a sweep of Arkansas and LSU last week. The Rebels have won three straight matches and five of their last seven, with their only losses to two top-10 teams in Georgia and Vanderbilt, and have risen 23 spots in the rankings during that span.

"The last few weeks, starting with the Tennessee match, we have earned that ranking with a lot of hard work in practice and these matches," head coach Mark Beyers said. "We have put ourselves in that position and earned that ranking, so now we have to take it to the next level. All of a sudden, the potential to host is only a couple of big wins away, and we have those opportunities still ahead of us, so we're looking forward to that."

Ole Miss, now 10-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC, has five league matches remaining starting with intra-state rival Mississippi State on Sunday in Starkville. The Rebels carry a 24-match win streak in the series into the match against what Beyers called probably Mississippi State's best team since 2005.

"This match is just this match," Beyers said. "Whatever happened the last few years doesn't really matter. It doesn't enter into our minds. We have to beat Mississippi State this Sunday, and that's going to be a tough assignment. That's the only thing that's on my mind.

"Our main objective is to take care of this match for this season and work toward a winning record in the SEC. As far as the overall record is concerned, try to get another win and position ourselves even higher in the rankings and potentially get to a point that with one big win, whether that be Texas A&M or Florida later in the year, we get the opportunity to potentially host. All of a sudden, we're not that far away from that. That's really the main objective."

Rivalry Renewed In Men's Tennis


The Ole Miss men's tennis team saw its 26-match win streak against arch-rival Mississippi State come to an end on April 16, 2011. Since that day in Starkville, the series has been back and forth, with the Bulldogs winning each of the next three, and then the Rebels winning the last two.

The two teams meet for the first time this season, as Ole Miss welcomes No. 17 Mississippi State Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Rebels took two of three from the Bulldogs last season, including a come-from-behind 4-2 win in Starkville in their most recent meeting.

"Every match against Mississippi State is a big one," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "This one is really shaping up to be special. It has some big ramifications as far as SEC seeding and NCAA selection, so we're looking forward to Sunday."

Junior Nik Scholtz has an impressive streak in his own right, having won 10 straight matches dating back to mid-January. He has also moved up 28 spots to No. 16 in this week's ITA Singles Rankings. 

Scholtz is 9-0 in dual singles matches and 4-0 in SEC play at No. 1 singles. At 4-0 in SEC play, he is the only SEC player who has played every league match at No. 1 to remain undefeated.

"He's getting better with every match," Chadwick said. "He has a great approach, as far as his mentality in these matches. The difference is he's much more determined on every single point."

"One of my goals is to go undefeated in the SEC," Scholtz said. "That's been a goal of mine every year. I haven't been able to do it yet. Hopefully, I can do it now. If I take care of winning my matches, the ranking will take care of itself, so I wasn't too concerned about that. I was more concerned about winning and doing what I have to do when I'm on the court."

For Scholtz, a Caledon, South Africa native, he has become immersed in the rivalry, having played five previous matches against Mississippi State -- two at River Hills Club in Jackson and one each in Oxford, Starkville and Seattle, where the schools matched up in the ITA National Team Indoor last season.

"Before I came here, I never knew what it was," said Scholtz of the rivalry. "It's one of the first things you learn. When you play State, it's one of the biggest matches there is. It brings a little bit extra out of everyone, that's for sure. I can't wait for Sunday."

With baseball, softball and track all on the road this weekend, Sunday's men's tennis match is the only game in town, and both Chadwick and Scholtz anticipate a large crowd.

"The matches that we have been successful here, I give the fans the credit," Chadwick said. "If we are going to take down Mississippi State, we're going to need a big crowd here. I would like to see one of the largest crowds we have ever had."

"It always helps, especially having people that you know are behind you," Scholtz said. "When you play an away match, you kind of hope no one is there. When you play at home, the more people you have out there supporting you, the better. That's why you play the game and practice every day, to master your craft and then to come out and show everybody what you're capable of doing. It's more motivation. You try to please yourself and your school, but also the people watching you."

'New Start' For Rebel Netters

The Ole Miss men's tennis team kicks off Southeastern Conference play, as they host No. 31 Auburn and No. 37 Alabama this weekend at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Rebels enter the weekend with a 2-3 record, and they see the start of league play as the beginning of a new season.

"It's very exciting," said senior Johan Backstrom. "It's going to be like a new start for us. This feels like the beginning of the season. We feel like if we play up to our potential with the team that we have now, we can cause some damage in the SEC this year."

The Southeastern Conference race appears wide open, with six teams ranked in the top 25 but no teams ranked in the top 10 in this week's ITA National Team rankings. 

The defending champion and preseason favorite, Georgia, is 3-5 overall and ranked No. 35, with losses to No. 22 Florida and No. 16 Mississippi State at the ITA National Team Indoor. The highest ranked team, No. 11 Tennessee, is 10-3 overall, with a loss to No. 13 Texas A&M. Ole Miss was picked sixth in the coaches' preseason poll.

"The SEC is wide open," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "It's already been proven that any team can beat any other team in the SEC, so it's going to be a tough weekend because Alabama and Auburn both have quality programs."

"It's hard to predict, and there are going to be a lot of close matches," Backstrom added. "With Ricardo (Jorge) being eligible, we have a deep team. If we play to our potential, we should have a really good chance of winning championships this year."

Jorge, a freshman from Tavira, Portugal, made his debut last weekend in Waco, Texas, where the Rebels went 1-1 with a 4-0 win over SMU and a 4-0 loss to No. 7 Baylor. Jorge won at No. 5 singles to clinch the win against SMU and then paired with junior Nik Scholtz at No. 2 doubles for a win against Baylor.

"He has good returns," Chadwick said. "He's a good natural doubles player because he's good at the net. In singles, he relies on his forehand. He likes to dictate the play with it. He's very fast with his feet. He has a really good overall game. From a coaching standpoint, he is an easy young man to work with and listens well. He is an extremely hard worker. He's going to be a good one."

A year ago, Ole Miss defeated Auburn and Alabama in the regular season, both by a score of 4-3, but in the SEC Tournament, 12-seed Alabama upset 5-seed Ole Miss, 4-3.

"We need to get off to a good start, and these are two teams that we match up well with, and we're playing at home, so we need to take advantage of that," Chadwick said. "They're very similar to last year's teams. It's a lot of the same faces. When you look at the results this fall, both of them have improved since last year."

Ole Miss begins play this weekend against Auburn Friday at 2 p.m., and then concludes against Alabama Sunday at 1 p.m.

VIDEO: Tennis Promos

The Ole Miss women's tennis team returns to action on Saturday, as it hosts Jacksonville State at 10 a.m. at the Gillom Sports Center. The Ole Miss men's tennis team is off this week before hosting Southern Miss on Friday, Feb. 7.


The Ole Miss men's tennis team, ranked No. 10 in the nation, lost a pair of hard-fought matches in the ITA-Kick-Off Weekend, first to No. 26 Michigan (4-3) on Saturday and then to No. 25 Clemson (4-2) on Sunday.

"The first thing that I saw was Nik Scholtz played really well, and he's really proving himself to be one of the best players in the country. The other person if I single out what I really liked is Johan Backstrom who played great," head coach Billy Chadwick said of the weekend. He played absolutely great."

Scholtz, ranked No. 15 in the nation, won both of his singles matches at No. 1 singles in straight sets. It was vintage Scholtz, a two-time All-American, who battled elbow injuries late last season.

The story of the weekend, however, was the stellar play of Johan Backstrom, the team's lone senior. He won both of his singles matches, including a dominant 6-0, 6-4 win over Clemson's Austin Ansari on Sunday. 

Backstrom entered the weekend with a 32-27 career record in dual singles matches, having played mostly No. 5 and No. 6 singles in his first three seasons for the Rebels.

And after being limited to just two matches, both in doubles, during the fall season, the Uppsala, Sweden native is playing perhaps the best tennis of his career.

"I played very well in both matches this weekend, especially today in my first set," Backstrom said. "It was really good. I was doing what we have been working on in practice with the coaches, so that's a great feeling to be able to show that improvement in a match. It was good for me."

Ole Miss has a relatively young team, especially at the bottom of the lineup in singles and doubles, including redshirt freshman Vinod Gowda at No. 5 singles and Zach Wilder at No. 6 singles, as well as sophomore Joe Rogers who teamed with Wilder at No. 3 doubles. 

This weekend marked the first career dual matches for both Gowda and Rogers, while it was the third and fourth career dual singles matches for Wilder.

"They're fighting very hard," Backstrom said. "It's tough to come in there. Vinod had a great effort today coming back. Yesterday, it was first dual match. He showed today that he learned from that and he was able to come back today. Zach just has to keep on working, and I'm 100 percent sure he will play better and better through the season and bring us some wins in the future."

Backstrom has embraced his role as one of the older, more experienced players, as he looks to continue his steady play and help the underclassmen on the team.

"You have to act more like a leader and lead by example in everything you do, on and off the court," he said. "You help the younger guys to play at their potential. It's a different feeling when you're out there, but I like it."

WT Sweeps JSU Ahead Of ITA Kickoff

The Ole Miss women's tennis team, ranked No. 35 in the nation, swept Jackson State 7-0 Wednesday in its home opener at the Gillom Sports Center.  The Rebels won every set in the match, dropping just two games in doubles play and 13 games in singles play.

"We had good preparation this weekend in the Michigan Invitational," head coach Mark Beyers said. "We did what we needed to do and played pretty well at some spots. Most of all, no one got hurt, and everybody is better than they were last week. That's what we need in order to be successful this weekend."

Ole Miss continues play at this weekend's ITA Kickoff in Tuscaloosa, Ala., which serves as the qualifier for the National Team Indoor Championships. The Rebels will play No. 34 Oklahoma on Saturday (2 p.m.) and then either No. 12 Alabama or No. 41 William & Mary on Sunday.

"It's a huge match against Oklahoma," Beyers said. "They have a good team with three seniors in their starting lineup. It's going to be a tough assignment.  We're looking forward to getting to know our team better and see where we are as far as competing against NCAA Tournament-quality teams. We'll see after that. If we can get past Oklahoma, hopefully we get a shot at the winner of Alabama and William & Mary and see if we can get back to Charlottesville, Va. to the National Indoors."

Rebel Preview: MLK Invitational


Three things from Ole Miss men's tennis head coach Billy Chadwick, previewing the 2014 season and the Rebels' first tournament, the MLK Invitational at Georgia Tech, which starts Saturday:

1. 'He Can Be The Best Player In The Country'

As Chadwick enters his last season as head coach before retiring after the season, he told the team he wants to make this their best spring, and it all starts with two-time All-American Nik Scholtz, who is ranked No. 15 in the nation.

"Nik Scholtz, if he gets to playing like he can play, he can be the best player in the country," Chadwick said. "He can win the NCAA's. He's one of those who are up there. He will be playing at the top spot for us."

The junior from Caledon, South Africa, ended the 2013 season ranked No. 17 in the nation in singles and No. 4 doubles. He posted a 20-9 overall record, 12-6 at No. 1 singles, and teamed with now-graduated Jonas Lutjen for a 20-7 overall record in doubles, despite battling an elbow late in the season.

"He has to be healthy," Chadwick said of Scholtz. "There are different things that we have been working on that are necessary for him, if he's going to make the transition from college to pro, and he has a good pro future ahead of him. If we get those things starting to fall into place, which they will, watch out for him. He's one the nation's best.

2. The Supporting Cast

Coming off a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, Ole Miss enters the 2014 season ranked No. 11 in the nation, which is fourth among Southeastern Conference teams. The Rebels return four of their top six players, led by Scholtz, and then there's the supporting cast.

"When I look at the heart of the lineup, it's three Swedes," Chadwick said. "It's William Kallberg, Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark. Of that group, Backstrom is a senior, and he's looking to make his senior year his best year yet. We feel like that the heart of our lineup, we're looking good, and we have Vinod (Gowda) to throw in the mix also. And then to anchor things, we have Zach Wilder."

Kallberg and Lindmark are ranked No. 104 and No. 108, respectively, and combine for the nation's No. 51 doubles team. Of the three Swedes, Chadwick looks for Kallberg into the No. 2 singles spot vacated by Lutjen

"William Kallberg had an outstanding fall," Chadwick said. "If you look at his record last year, he played No. 3 and No. 4 singles, and he was the most competitive of any position we had. He played really well last year and stepped up. The match that I remember the most with him is when he clinched the match for us against Georgia. He has a real weapon with his left hand, especially with his forehand. We not only look for him to play No. 2 singles, but to play No. 2 singles and win.

3. Looking Ahead To The ITA Kickoff Weekend

The last season of the Billy Chadwick era begins this weekend at the Georgia Tech Invitational (Jan. 18-20), where Ole Miss will play singles and doubles matches against players from No. 3 Georgia, No. 21 Memphis and Georgia Tech. 

It's a tune-up for the ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26, where Ole Miss will begin play against No. 26 Michigan, followed by a match against either No. 22 Illinois or No. 23 Clemson. The Rebels' first match is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. at the Gillom Sports Center hours before the Ole Miss men's basketball teams hosts intrastate rival Mississippi State on campus.

"Se scheduled it to where we are going to play in the morning because basketball plays at 3 o'clock in the afternoon against Mississippi State, so we hope to make it a sports weekend for the Ole Miss fans," Chadwick said. 

"It's outstanding competition in the regional that we're hosting. You have four big names in there and all of them are really good tennis programs with great history. From the first hit, it's going to be competitive. It's really going to show where we are."

Rebel Preview: Michigan Invitational

7626623.jpegThree things from Ole Miss women's tennis head coach Mark Beyers, previewing the 2014 season and the Rebels' first tournament, the Michigan Invitational, which starts Saturday:

1. Rebels Return Top Five Players

Last season, the Ole Miss women's tennis team ended with a 16-14 record and a first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament to No. 15-ranked Duke. This season, the Rebels return their top five players, led by the team's lone senior, Caroline Rohde-Moe. 

"A lot of these kids gained a lot of experience and we got better," Beyers said. "Last year, we were a little too inconsistent to really reach all of our goals, but hopefully from the experience they gained from last year, they will be able to apply that this year. We have basically the entire starting lineup from last year coming back and then you add Zalina (Khairudinova) to the mix, so hopefully that will be a recipe for success.

2. Balance Throughout The Lineup

The Rebels begin the spring season ranked No. 35 in the nation, which is ninth among Southeastern Conference teams. Three players -- Mai El Kamash (No. 57), Rohde-Moe (No. 87) and Julia Jones (No. 90) -- are ranked in the top 100 in singles, and Rohde-Moe combines with Marija Milutinovic for the nation's No. 19 doubles team.

"We had different players at difference times play well in the fall," Beyers said. "Julia Jones ended up winning the Little Rock Invitation, which was a great win for her. Marija Milutinovic had a tough year with some injuries, and she really turned things around this fall. Mai El Kamash had some great individual wins, and she's currently our highest-ranked player. Different people stepped up at different times. It shows that we have a lot of depth and experience, and that creates a lot of excitement for us as coaches to see how that is going to work out."

3. Getting Started, Prepping For ITA Kickoff Weekend

Ole Miss kicks off the spring season this weekend at the Michigan Invitational (Jan. 18-20), where it will play singles and doubles matches against players from No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Georgia Tech and No. 59 South Florida. Each team will play three doubles and three singles rounds, with points allocated to each winning player or team according to the flight position.

"It's getting back into playing team matches," Beyers said. "In the fall, it's all individual stuff, and even though it's a format where it doesn't count from a team national ranking standpoint, it's still a team format, and so to get used to having everyone playing at the same time. It's also getting ready for Jackson State and then the ITA Kickoff Weekend."

After their first home match of the season, Jan. 22 against Jackson State, the Rebels will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the ITA Kickoff Weekend (Jan. 25-26). 

Ole Miss opens the ITA Kickoff Weekend against No. 34 Oklahoma and will then play either No. 12 Alabama or No. 40 William & Mary. The winner advances to the ITA National Team Indoor (Feb. 7-10) in Charlottesville, Va.

"The good thing is, you have four good teams there, four teams that finished in the RPI Top 50, so you're guaranteed two good matches," Beyers said. "We want to go 2-0 and quality for the National Indoors in Virginia, but regardless, we're going to get two good matches. Even if you go 1-1, it's going to help from a national ranking standpoint and help you later down the road when it comes to NCAA Tournament time."


Head coach Billy Chadwick will step down at the end of the 2014 season, and associate head coach Toby Hansson was named his successor and will take the reins of the program following the season.

"Coaches in waiting, we've seen that a lot but it doesn't really work in a whole lot of places," athletics director Ross Bjork said. "We had a definitive timeline and a definitive decision, and why not go through the season where we can celebrate Billy but also prep Toby because he's ready and he's capable."

With Chadwick's endorsement, Ole Miss interviewed Hansson and came to a decision to make him the next head coach in August. Continuity was also a key part of the decision, as Hansson enters his eighth year with the program.

"We went through a process where we analyzed Toby," Bjork said. "We interviewed him. We talked about recruiting and what we need to do to continue to build the program. He checked the mark on all of them. It's the right decision for the program."

An integral part of the program's success over the last seven years, Hansson knows the program in and out, and it's a dream job for the Uppsala, Sweden native and former SMU All-American.

"I had gotten some offers from other schools for different jobs," Hansson said. "When this came up, obviously this is a dream job for me. And I'm just really excited about it. I'm glad to be here." 

In Hansson's tenure at Ole Miss, the Rebels have won five SEC West Championships, the regular season SEC Championship and two SEC Tournament Championships. Hansson is regarded as one of the top coaches in the country in developing players and has helped produced the most All-Americans in the country (11) during his tenure at Ole Miss.

"Toby is one of the top young coaches in the country," Chadwick said. "We have been very fortunate, and a lot of our success stems directly to him. For him to take over the program, we're not going to have a bump in the road. The program is in great hands. 

"You never find anyone that does not like Toby. He's extremely likable, and at the same time, he's a good disciplinarian, and he knows tennis. He's one of the best tennis minds in the country."

Hansson has learned a lot from working with Chadwick, particularly making the players feel comfortable and create a family atmosphere with players from across the country and around the world.

"When the players come here, it's a new place," Hansson said. "Making them feel comfortable and developing them is one of the biggest keys to success."

"I'm really happy for Toby," said sophomore Stefan Lindmark, a native of Stockholm, Sweden. "He's a really great coach as well. He really loves the game. He's so into it, but that makes us even more pumped to work hard for him."

By making the announcement before the 2014 season, it's a way to have a parade for Chadwick's legendary career throughout the season, as well as give Hansson an extended period of time to find an assistant coach for when he takes over following the season.

"I got some really big shoes to fill, and I'm going to take it step by step," Hansson said. "We have a big season ahead of us, so right now, that's where my focus is."

"We know that good things are headed for us, not just in more hardware for the university, but great student-athletes and lives changed," Chancellor Dan Jones said. "It's a great day for Ole Miss."

With their straight set win Saturday, the duo of Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 3 in the nation, advance to the NCAA Final Four Sunday. They are 20-6 on the year with four wins against top-10 teams.

Sunday's semifinals against the Texas duo of Chris Camillone and David Holiner will feature live scoring, and if the match is played outdoors, live video. The match will start not before 3 p.m., and to access live scoring and video, go to OleMissSports.com and click on the link in the calendar.

This marks the second year in a row and seventh time overall for Ole Miss to have a doubles team in the NCAA Final Four. Scholtz and Lutjen are the fourth team in the last six years, with twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann the most recent, who reached the semifinals last year.

Mahesh Bhupathi, a 12-time Grand Slam Champion in doubles and mixed doubles including the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, combined with Ali Hamedeh to win the NCAA Doubles title in 1995, the first NCAA doubles title in program history. 

Ole Miss Men's Tennis In NCAA Doubles Final Four:

Mahesh Bhupathi and Ali Hamadeh win the doubles title. They ended the year ranked No. 3 in the nation and earned a wildcard into the US Open. Teammates Johan Landsberg and Remi Feneon also reached the semifinals. Landsberg went on to play professional tennis on the ATP Tour and was ranked top 50 in the world in doubles.

James Shortall and Vikrant Chadha lost in three sets in the semifinals and ended the year ranked No. 12 in the nation.

Erling Tvelt and Jonas Berg reached the final and lost 7-6(10), 7-6(6). They ended the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. Matthias Wellermann and Bram ten Berge also reached the semifinals and had match point in the third set tiebreaker before losing 12-10. A win would have guaranteed the Rebels their second NCAA doubles title in program history. The following year, Berg combined with Bram ten Berge, and they won the ITA All-American Championship and ascended to No. 1 in the nation. 

After two previous first-round exits, twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann advanced to the Final Four as an unseeded team and ended the year ranked No. 11 in the nation.


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