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Chadwick Top Moments: No. 32

Booras_Randall_Chadwick.jpgUnder head coach Billy Chadwick's 30-year watch, the Ole Miss men's tennis program has produced 28 All-Americans.  That equates to almost one All-American every season - quite remarkable.  This demonstrates the type of talent that Coach Chadwick has attracted and molded to earn such a prestigious honor.

Today, we will highlight moment No. 32 in our look at the top 35 moments in Chadwick's illustrious career, and remember the first two All-Americans for the Ole Miss men's tennis program.  In 1988, Mississippi native Dave Randall, and Jamie Booras (Flossmoor, Ill.) became the first two All-America selections for the University of Mississippi.

Booras, often called "Boom-Boom" for his powerful serve, was named to the All-SEC Team in 1988 and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in doubles with Randall.  The dynamic duo was ranked in the top 10 in doubles for two years.

Randall was the epitome of the type of player every coach wants to represent their program and university.  Randall not only was an All-American and two-time All-SEC selection, he also earned the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship award, given to the nation's most outstanding college tennis player demonstrating both great skill and sportsmanship.  Randall won three SEC titles at Ole Miss and joined his former coach in the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame this year.

As we continue the countdown, we will present the events in chronological order from the list that has been compiled.  As we continue the journey through Coach Chadwick's tenure, the moments that have shaped this program will continue to get bigger and bigger.

Stay tuned for No. 31 on Friday.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis

Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.




Chadwick Top Moments: No. 33

Thumbnail image for 1986_Jimmy_Pitts.jpgContinuing our series highlighting the most important moments in the Billy Chadwick era, today we will recognize a critical milestone in Ole Miss men's tennis program history.

On March 31, 1987, the Ole Miss men's tennis team broke into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 25 for the first time in program history.  The Rebels had just recently beaten No. 18 ranked Georgia Tech 7-2 the previous week.

In 1987, the Rebels faced one of the most daunting schedules in the country.  Ole Miss faced 14 teams in the top 25 and four in the top 10.  Along with Georgia Tech, the Rebels defeated two other top 25 teams that year in No. 17 California-Irvine 6-3, and No. 22 Florida 6-3.

"I am excited to get this national recognition that this team deserves," said Ole Miss coach Billy Chadwick then in his fifth season as the head coach. "We plan to work hard and build on this."

The Rebels were led by freshman Jimmy Pitts of Smyrna, Ga.  Pitts finished with a team best 22-8 individual record and was noted by Chadwick as the team's "most consistent player."

Although the 1987 season was a first for the Rebels in the polls, Ole Miss has become a constant not only in the top 25, but inside the top 10.  In the last 20 years, Chadwick has coached 15 teams to a top 10 finish.

Stay tuned for No. 32 Wednesday.

Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.



Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Feb. 3-9)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 3-9, 2014

Men's Basketball
- Senior Marshall Henderson scored 29 points, including eight 3-pointers, and four Rebels scored in double figures as the Rebels held off the Missouri Tigers 91-88 at home Saturday.
- Henderson hit 8-of-15 from 3-point range and added five assists for Ole Miss, which remained in sole possession of third place in the Southeastern Conference. Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White had 16 points apiece, and Anthony Perez had 11.
- The Rebels hit 14 3-pointers vs. Missouri, one off the school record of 15 set earlier this year versus Oregon.
- Henderson has now hit a 3-pointer in 56-straight games, four shy of tying Pat Bradly's SEC record of 60-straight games.
- Ole Miss' win over Missouri gave the Rebels their first top-50 RPI win of the season, and was their fifth top-100 RPI win of the season.
- The Rebels improved to 5-0 in the SEC at home.

Men's Tennis
- Playing without their No. 1 player, the No. 21 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team shut out visiting Southern Miss 7-0 Friday at the Gillom Sports Center. The Rebels picked up their first win of the season to improve to 1-2.
- Junior William Kallberg, playing only his second match ever at No. 1 singles, won 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the victory.
- Vinod Gowda earned his first career dual match victory after coming so close on the opening weekend. He won in straight sets at No. 4 singles.
- Sophomore Joe Rogers, playing in his first singles dual match and first singles match in more than two years, won 6-4, 1-6, 10-6 at No. 5 singles to complete the sweep.

Track & Field
- The Ole Miss men and women tracksters broke two school records and had several nationally relevant marks in New York over the weekend at the prestigious Armory Collegiate Invitational.
- The No. 21 Rebel men were led by the distance medley relay team of Robert Domanic, Montez Griffin, Sean Tobin and Daniel Bulmer. They shattered a 29-year-old school record by running a 9:40.17, which ranks them 12th in the NCAA this year.
- The women's 4x200m relay squad of Mary Ashton Nall, Kierra White, Erika Sisk and Kennadi Bouyer broke a 25-year-old school record when they clocked a 1:43.66. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that record is that only one of those (Bouyer) is a sprint specialist. The others are a multi-eventer (Nall) and two jumpers (White and Sisk).
- Junior Robert Semien clocked a personal best time of 7.81 to finish third in the 60m hurdle final, and moved up to No. 3 in school history and top 20 in the nation this season.
- Freshman Jalen Miller blazed his way to third place in the 60m final with a personal-best 6.62 that moves him up to No. 11 in the NCAA this year and keeps him at fifth-best in school history.
- Junior Daniel Bulmer, who anchored the DMR team, ran a time of 8:12.19 in the 3,000 meters Saturday, which moved him into fifth place in the school record books.
- Freshman Trevor Gilley burst onto the scene by winning the college division mile run with a season-best time of 4:08.65 that ranks him ninth in school history.
- The Rebels have one more weekend of competition this coming Friday and Saturday (split between the Don Kirby Elite Invitational and the Husky Classic) before the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas (Feb. 27-March 1).

Rifle

- Powered by a school record in air rifle (2353), the No. 12 ranked Ole Miss rifle team rallied to defeat No. 13 Navy 4629-4610 on Saturday.
- The Rebels found themselves trailing the Midshipmen by nine after smallbore, but came out strong in air to overtake Navy for the second straight year and win their second GARC match in a row. Ole Miss defeated No. 9 Memphis by one on Wednesday.
- Freshman Ali Weisz fired a 592 in air to pace the squad again. It marked the fourth match in the last six for the Montana native to score in the 590s.
- The Rebels are back in action Saturday, traveling to Murray, Ky., to face No. 11 Murray State.

Women's Basketball
- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week, dropping a hard fought, 77-65 contest to No 8/8 Tennessee on Thursday before taking an 84-63 road loss at the hands of Georgia.
- Valencia McFarland picked up her 1,500th career point with 14 points against Georgia on Sunday. McFarland becomes one of just seven players in program history with 1,500 career points, joining the likes of the Gillom sisters and Armintie Price, among others.
- Tia Faleru picked up her SEC-leading 12th double-double against Tennessee with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Her 12 double-doubles are the most for an Ole Miss player since Nikki Byrd had 12 in 2011-12 - a number Faleru is poised to surpass this season.
- Amber Singletary set a new career high with five 3-pointers against Georgia to finish with 15 points. Singletary was in double figures for the second time this season.
- Danielle McCray posted her second double-double this season with 11 points and 10 rebounds vs. Georgia, while Kenyotta Jenkins added 10 rebounds for her second game with double-figure rebounds this season.

Softball
- Ole Miss opened the 2014 season at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., with a 2-3 mark that included wins over Georgetown and Liberty on day two of the three-day tournament.
- Senior outfielder RT Cantillo led the Rebels at the plate with a .563 average in 16 at bats. Cantillo batted in two runs and scored three more, while going a combined 5-of-6 in Ole Miss' two victories.
- After dropping each of its first two games at the tournament to Western Kentucky and host Florida Gulf Coast by 3-2 marks, Ole Miss bounced back on the second day of the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Georgetown and a 5-1 win over Liberty. Ole Miss lost 9-2 in the third-place game against Georgetown on the final day of the tournament Sunday.
- Redshirt-freshman pitcher Emily Gaitan threw a fantastic game in her collegiate debut against Georgetown on Saturday, going all seven innings while striking out seven, walking one and allowing just three hits and zero earned runs.
- The Rebels closed out the second day of the tournament with a 5-1 victory over Liberty in which senior Shelby Jo Fenter picked up her first win by going 6.1 innings and striking out eight before sophomore Madi Osias, who hit a three-run home run earlier in the game, came on for the save.

Chadwick Countdown #34

As we are all aware, Ole Miss legendary tennis coach Billy Chadwick will retire at season's end.  Throughout his career, Ole Miss fans have witnessed many memorable moments on and off the courts.   

Chadwick has been coaching at Ole Miss for what will be 35 years and, as a tribute, we are going to reflect and try to highlight the 35 top moments of Chadwick's tenure.  For a coach that has accumulated over 600 wins during his career, picking out only 35 is no small feat.

We are going to follow up Chadwick's success with the women's team with No. 34 today.  For the remainder of the men's tennis season, we will release three top moments a week to highlight Chadwick's storied career.  Starting next week, we will release one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
1983_Team.jpg

No. 34 on our list is Chadwick's first career win as the men's tennis coach.  This came in Chadwick's first season as the men's head coach in 1983, as the Rebels defeated Centenary 8-1 at the Milwaukee Classic in Milwaukee, Wisc. 

While relishing the accomplished program that we all enjoy today, it is easy to forget where it all began.  When Chadwick took over the men's program that year in 1983, it was last in the Southeastern Conference.  Thirty years and 18 SEC titles later, here we are. 

Although Chadwick's first career win was not against a big-name opponent, it was the beginning of one of the most historic coaching careers in college tennis.

Stay tuned for No. 33 next week with many exciting moments on the way.  We are only getting started.

Week in Review (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014

Men's Basketball
- Ole Miss split a pair of game last week, falling on the road at Tennessee on Wednesday before rallying to beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 75-71 at home Saturday afternoon.
- The Rebels rallied from a 15-point, second half deficit to knock off South Carolina on Saturday, and ended the game on a 29-10 run. Senior Marshall Henderson scored 21 points for Ole Miss and junior Jarvis Summers added 16 points, including 8 of Ole Miss' final 11 points in the come-from-behind victory. Ole Miss trailed by 5 points at halftime and was down by 15 points with nine minutes in the game remaining before starting its run.
- The Rebels' comeback against South Carolina was their largest second-half comeback since overcoming a 15-point deficit at Arkansas in 2012.
- Ole Miss is 26-9 (.743 winning percentage) over its last 35 games vs. SEC opponents dating back to 2012, which is the best mark in school history. It is also tied with Florida for the best mark in the SEC over the last 35 games.
- At 6-2, the Rebels are tied with last year's team and the 1937-38 Ole Miss squad for the best start to SEC play after eight games in school history. Ole Miss travels to Kentucky on Tuesday before returning home to host Missouri on Saturday.

Women's Tennis
- Ole Miss dominated Jacksonville State 7-0 Saturday to improve to 3-1 on the season. The Rebels only gave up 10 games total to the Gamecocks in doubles and singles, and they outscored JSU 18-0 in doubles.
- Zalina Khairudinova and Julia Jones won their sixth doubles match in a row, and improved to 4-0 in dual matches this season. Mai El Kamash picked up her team-leading 14th win in singles, while Jones earned her 13th win of the year.
- The Rebels have now posted three shutouts this year in their first four matches.
- Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe was one of nine Ole Miss student-athletes inducted into the Who's Who Among Colleges and Universities last Friday at the Gertrude Ford Center. The two-time All-SEC honoree is an outstanding student in the Honors College.
- The Rebels are off until Feb. 21 when they host a doubleheader against Lipscomb and Tennessee State.

Women's Basketball
- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week after a 99-70 road loss at No. 7/8 South Carolina on Thursday, and an 81-60 defeat to Florida on Sunday at home. The Rebels will face four ranked opponents in their next six games.
- Valencia McFarland extended her scoring streak to 110 consecutive games by scoring in each of Ole Miss' last two games. She also extended her consecutive games started streak to 100 games with starts against South Carolina and Florida. McFarland has started each game of the last two seasons.
- Tia Faleru's 21 points and 14 rebounds against Florida marked her 11th double-double of the season, a number which leads the SEC. It's also the most double-doubles for an Ole Miss player since former Rebel Nikki Byrd had 12 during the 2011-12 season. Faleru also leads the league in rebounding with 9.7 rebounds per game.
- After her 30 points over the week. Valencia McFarland is now 18 points away from her 1,500th-career point. She will become one of seven players in program history to reach the mark.

Men's Tennis
- The Rebels were off last week, but junior Nik Scholtz traveled back to his home country of South Africa to represent it in the Davis Cup. With his country down 0-1 to Monaco, Scholtz won an exciting five-setter against world No. 276 ranked Benjamin Balleret to tie the match. South Africa ended up winning the match 3-2.
- The Rebels are back in action Friday with a doubleheader against Southern Miss.

Ole Miss Athletics Week In Review (Jan. 20-26)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 20-26)
Jan. 20-26, 2014

Men's Basketball
- Men's hoops ran its record to 5-1 in SEC play with a pair of wins over Vanderbilt and Mississippi State last week.
- The Rebels have won four in a row in conference play and are now 25-8 in their last 33 games against SEC foes dating back to 2012.
- Ole Miss' 19-point, blowout win over MSU was the largest margin of victory over the Bulldogs since downing MSU 84-61 in Oxford in 1997.
- The win at Vanderbilt marked the first time in school history the Rebels have won games at Memorial Gym in back-to-back seasons.
- Jarvis Summers scored 19 points against MSU and became the 35th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in his Ole Miss career.

Women's Basketball
- The Rebels went 1-1 on the week, highlighted by a thrilling 87-85 overtime win over in-state rival Mississippi State. Kenyotta Jenkins scored on a putback with just one second left on the clock to give the Rebels (10-11, 1-6 SEC) their first SEC win. The win was also the first SEC victory for first-year head coach Matt Insell.
- Tia Faleru picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 29 points and 15 rebounds against Mississippi State. Faleru's 10 double-doubles lead the SEC and are the most for an Ole Miss player since Nikki Byrd had 12 during the 2011-12 season.
- Valencia McFarland posted her third consecutive game of 20+ points with 27 against Mississippi State. She also tied her career high with 12 assists. She played her third consecutive game of 40 or more points against the Bulldogs. She averaged 26.6 points during that span.
- McFarland is now 48 points away from her 1,500th career point. She will become the seventh 1,500-point scorer in program history. Faleru is also nearing her 1,000th point, as she is just 204 points away from the milestone. She will become the 17th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
- Shequila Joseph nailed five triples against the Bulldogs, a career-best and season-best for the Rebels against Mississippi State.

Track & Field
- Ole Miss athletes collected three event wins, two facility records, one school record and more than 30 indoor personal-best marks over the two-day Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.
- Competing against a couple of nationally ranked teams and several SEC squads, the No. 16 Ole Miss men were led by Sam Kendricks' facility record 18-2.75 in the pole vault, Daniel Bulmer's school-record 4:02.80 mile (in his first-ever race as a Rebel), and Robert Domanic's 3,000-meter title in 8:12.04.
- Freshman sprinter Jalen Miller also shined for the Rebel men, posting the best 60-meter time among collegians in Nashville with his 6.69, and placing second in the 200 meters with a personal-best 21.41.
- Ole Miss athletes who rank among the top 25 nationally in their events include Kendricks (No. 1 pole vault - 18-4.75), Phillip Young (No. 6 triple jump - 52-2.5), Bulmer (No. 13 mile - 4:02.80), Miller (No. 14 60m - 6.67), Mike Granger (No. 17 60m - 6.69), Robert Semien (No. 23 60m hurdles - 7.91), Fabia McDonald (No. 5 pentathlon - 3,989; No. 11 long jump - 20-3.5) and Kierra White (No. 21 long jump - 20-0.25).

Women's Tennis
- The Rebels went 1-1 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to finish 2-1 for the week, after a season-opening 7-0 win over Jackson State. In the loss to No. 34 Oklahoma in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off, the match was much closer than the final score. The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 2. When the Sooners clinched, the Rebels were winning in two of the three remaining singles matches.
- The Rebels rebounded from the disappointing loss to Oklahoma to dominate No. 40 William & Mary 4-0 in the consolation match of the ITA Kick-Off. In the win, the Rebels did not drop a set in avenging a 4-3 loss to the Tribe last year. In fact, the Rebels only lost 10 games total in the two doubles and three singles matches they won to clinch the victory.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova made her dual match debut last week and finished 5-1 in singles and doubles in three matches. Her only loss in singles came down to a third-set supertiebreaker against Oklahoma. In the other two matches, she only lost five games total in singles and doubles. Khairudinova and junior Julia Jones are off to a 5-0 start this spring, including 3-0 in dual matches at No. 3 doubles. They have lost only five games total in the five matches they've played together this spring.
- The Rebels begin a four-match homestand this Saturday, Feb. 1 with Jacksonville State at 10 a.m. Fans can enjoy free pizza between doubles and singles.

Men's Tennis
- The Rebels went 0-2 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, losing two tight matches to No. 26 Michigan and No. 25 Clemson. It marked the first time the Rebels did not advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 when hosting the first and second rounds.
- Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 nationally, won both his singles matches in straight sets to improve to 11-5 on the year. Scholtz will be competing for his home country, South Africa, this weekend in Davis Cup play in Pretoria, SA. It marks the third time for him to represent his country in the Davis Cup.
- Senior Johan Backstrom also won both his singles matches in straight sets to improve to 34-27 in dual matches for his career.
- The Rebels have annually ranked among the nation's attendance leaders. Saturday they had 575 fans for their opening round match of the ITA Kick-Off.

Rifle
- The Rebels competed in the Withrow Invitational this past weekend in Murray, Ky.  The team shot a 4623 aggregate, including 2284 in smallbore and 2239 in air rifle.
- Freshman Ali Weisz continues to pace the Rebels, as she led the team with an aggregate of 1162, including a 588 in air rifle and 574 in smallbore.
- The Rebels are back in action Feb. 5 at Memphis, before hosting Navy on Feb. 8.

Upcoming Schedule

Wednesday
Men's basketball at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m.

Thursday
Women's basketball at South Carolina - 6:00 p.m.

Saturday
Women's tennis vs. Jacksonville State - 10:00 a.m.
Men's basketball vs. South Carolina - 12:30 p.m.

Sunday
Women's basketball vs. Florida - 1:00 p.m.

A Closer Look: ITA Kick-Off

Three things from Ole Miss men's tennis head coach Billy Chadwick, previewing the ITA Kick-Off this weekend at the Gillom Sports Center Saturday and Sunday:

1. Four Top 26 Teams
012513_TITA_0812.JPG
The No. 10 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis opened the 2014 season at the MLK Invitational this past weekend on the campus of Georgia Tech with singles and doubles matches against Georgia Tech, No. 3 Georgia and No. 21 Memphis. Among the highlights included a pair of singles wins each for junior Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 in the nation, and sophomore Stefan Lindmark.

"Our objective was to prepare for this weekend coming up," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "The format of the tournament that we went to guaranteed three singles and three doubles matches. It was against great competition, so we feel like we accomplished what we wanted to. We're better prepared for this weekend."

Ole Miss now turns its attention to the ITA Kick-Off this weekend, where it hosts No. 22 Illinois, No. 25 Clemson and No. 26 Michigan at the Gillom Sports Center. The winner of the two-day regional advances to the National Team Indoor Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas.

"You're looking at four teams in this regional that are very equal, all very strong from top to bottom, our team included," Chadwick said. "There is no one that wouldn't say this is the strongest regional in the country. We have to take advantage of playing here at home and we need to make that the difference in putting us over the hump. If we get a good crowd out there, it can be the difference in us advancing to the Final 16."

"It's a huge opportunity and it's a very important weekend for our team," senior Johan Backstrom said. "All three teams coming here are really good teams. If we get through these two matches, it's a key for the rest of the season. Going to the National Indoor, where you are guaranteed three matches against the top teams in the country, can be a huge importance the rest of the season as far as rankings."

2. Michigan Rematch

The Rebels will face No. 26 Michigan Saturday at 10 a.m. in the first round, with No. 22 Illinois against No. 23 Clemson in the other first-round match. The winners will meet Sunday.

The match with Michigan marks a rematch from the 2012 NCAA second round. Ole Miss defeated Michigan 4-2 to advance to the Sweet 16, the program's 16th Sweet 16 appearance. Backstrom clinched the match with a 6-3 win in the third set at No. 5 singles.

"We saw them two years ago when the NCAA sent them down here when we were hosting the regionals," Chadwick said of Michigan. "We had a tough, tough battle with them. They're always well prepared. The coach for them, Bruce Berque, used to be the assistant at Florida for years, so we're familiar with him and the job that he did there. And he has made Michigan a top-25 program, year in and year out."

"Hopefully we can play as well as we did in that match and get through them to face either Illinois or Clemson," Backstrom added.

3. New Doubles Pairing

The doubles point was a key to success for Ole Miss last season, with the Rebels posting a 13-2 record when winning the doubles point, compared to 3-7 when losing the doubles point. Lindmark and junior William Kallberg, ranked No. 51 in the nation, solidified themselves as a team winning the ITA Southern Regional in the fall and participating in the ITA National Indoor.

Last season, Scholtz teamed with Jonas Lutjen and ended the season ranked No. 4 in the nation and posted a 20-7 overall record, including 15-3 at No. 1 doubles. With Lutjen graduated, Scholtz now teams with Backstrom, and they posted a 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles against the nation's No. 12 team from Georgia this past weekend.

"I was very impressed with Johan's doubles last year, so he was the logical one to step in and play with Nik," Chadwick said. "Johan has really good returns and he has a really big serve. Those two things are essential when you're playing against the top doubles teams in the country. We have the makings of a good team with Johan and Nik."

"It's always fun playing with such a great player," Backstrom said. "We got better and better each match, and hopefully we can keep on getting to know each other as doubles partners, improve throughout the season and hopefully do some great things."


Rebels Touch Down In The Big Apple

Members of the Ole Miss men's tennis team landed in the Big Apple late Tuesday afternoon for the year's second national championship, the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor.  

An elite field of men's and women's tennis players from all divisions and schools across the country have descended on the nation's largest city and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where competition will take place Nov. 7-10.

It's a highlight of the fall for players to earn a spot in the national indoor, because it's played at the site of the US Open.   Ole Miss is well represented in this year's tournament with Nik Scholtz in singles and William Kallberg and Stefan Lindmark in doubles.

Scholtz received an at-large bid as a finalist from the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championships, while Kallberg and Lindmark earned their trip to New York by winning the Southern Region Doubles title.  Scholtz is making his second consecutive appearance in the field, while the Swedish duo competes for the first time in the prestigious tournament.

REBELS AND THE NATIONAL INDOOR
Ole Miss has a long-standing history at this event going back more than a decade.   The Rebels have had a representative at the National Indoors 11 of the last 12 years.    Scholtz will be the fifth player in the Rebels' history to play in the event more than once.   

Former three-time All-American Erling Tveit qualified for the event three times and reached the quarterfinals in singles in 2006 and teamed with Jonas Berg to win the doubles consolation in 2007.  The following year (2008), Berg teamed up with Bram ten Berge to reach the semifinals.  In 2010, twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann finished runner-up at the national indoor.  

Scholtz_Nik_ITA.JPGA REMATCH
Scholtz gets a rematch from the All-American Championships in October, as he faces the third seed, Julian Lenz of Baylor.  This will be the third meeting between the two players.   Scholtz won the first meeting last year when the two played No. 1 singles in the Rebels' 4-2 win over the Bears in the regular season.  Lenz took out Scholtz in the second round of the All-American earlier this fall.  This will be the first meeting between the two indoors.

"Everyone in the field is good.  If you're in this tournament, you're either a top 10 player or you won your region," Scholtz said.  "Success in life always requires a little bit of luck as well, but I definitely have to serve well and return well.  Physically I feel great.  I just have to go out there and leave it all on the court and the results will follow.  If you focus on playing your best and giving it everything you have on every point, the results will come."

LEFTY DUO
Kallberg and Lindmark are the sixth Ole Miss doubles team in the last seven years and fourth in a row to make the field.  The lefty duo, with their 6-1 record, hope they can make a run in New York to gain some momentum for the spring season.    

Thumbnail image for Lindmark_Kallberg_ITA.JPG"It would be really good for the spring season and the team, because then perhaps we could play No. 1 doubles," Lindmark said. "That would be a lot of fun."

The Stockholm, Sweden natives will face Florida State's Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez, who own a 9-1 record and won the Southeast Regional.

Players will attend a tournament banquet Wednesday night and then play begins Thursday morning at 8 a.m. CT.  Be sure to follow all the action including live scores and a live chat on the ITA's Tournament Central page.   Also follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.



Rebels In Davis Cup

Thumbnail image for Scholtz_Raonic_DavisCup.jpg
As junior Nik Scholtz represents his native country of South Africa in Davis Cup this weekend, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the history of Rebel players who have participated in Davis Cup.  Below is a list of countries that have been represented in Davis Cup by Ole Miss men's tennis players with the year they first played, how many nominations they've earned and the number of ties they have played in.

INDIA
Mahesh Bhupathi
- 1995 NCAA Doubles Champion, All-American, SEC Player of the Year, 12-Time Grand Slam Champion
  • First played in 1995
  • Has earned 35 nominations and played in 35 ties

LEBANON

Patrick Chucri
- Four-Year Letterwinner (2000-03)
  • First played in 2002
  • Earned 20 nominations and played in 27 ties

Ali Hamadeh - 1995 NCAA Doubles Champion, Two-Time All-American, All-SEC First Team
  • First played in 1996
  • Earned 16 nominations and played in 20 ties.

Karim Alayli - 2005 All-SEC Second Team
• First played in 1999
• Earned 20 nominations and played in 33 ties

MOROCCO

Mohamed Ridaoui
- 1991 National Clay Court Champion, 1992 All-American and All-SEC
• First played in 1989
• Earned 12 nominations and played in 12 ties

NEW ZEALAND

James Shortall
- 2000 NCAA Doubles Semifinalist, All-American, Two-Time All-SEC
• First played in 2000
• Earned five nominations and played in four ties

NORWAY

Fredrik Aarum
- Three-Year Letterwinner (2004-05, 2007)
• First played in 2002
• Earn four nominations and played in three ties

Adrian Forberg Skogeng - Four-Year Letterwinner (2010-13)
• First played in 2010
• Earned two nominations and has played in one tie

Erling Tveit - Three-Time All-American, 2008 NCAA Doubles Finalist,
2006 NCAA Singles Semifinalist, Four-Time All-SEC
• First played in 2003
• Earned 13 nominations and has played in 20 ties

SOUTH AFRICA

Nik Scholtz

• First played in 2012
• Has earned two nominations and played in one tie

Hero In The Classroom

Thumbnail image for Backstrom_Hero.JPGEach home football game Ole Miss recognizes a student-athlete who has excelled both on the field or court and in the classroom as the "Hero in the Classroom." 

Rebel men's tennis senior Johan Backstrom was honored at last Saturday's home opener against Southeast Missouri.  He was  featured in the game program and on the video board during the third quarter of the game.

At six-foot-five, Backstrom has played a pivotal role on the hard courts for the Rebels while also excelling in the classroom.  He is the exemplary student-athlete.

Backstrom helped lead Ole Miss to a top-10 final national ranking, their 10th SEC West title, and the team's 20th consecutive NCAA appearance in 2013.  With a 20-14 record in doubles, he ended the year ranked No. 58 in the nation with teammate Stefan Lindmark.   Backstrom also posted 24 wins in singles including clinching wins over both No. 6 Tennessee and No. 12 Baylor. 

Aside from the tennis courts, Backstrom has a current 3.89 GPA in Banking and Finance.  In 2013 he earned ITA Scholar-Athlete, Capital One Academic All-District, and SEC Academic Honor Roll honors.  He has been named to the Chancellor's Honor Roll every semester at Ole Miss.

Backstrom has helped the Rebels earn the Chancellor's Cup (given to team with the highest cumulative GPA) and the ITA All-Academic Team Award (requires a minimum GPA of 3.2) every year he's been here.

Stay tuned for more posts on forthcoming student-athletes recognized as the "Hero in the Classroom."

Follow me on Twitter: @krebel

Summer Update On The Courts

The collegiate tennis season ended about a month ago with the Ole Miss men's tennis All-American duo of Jonas Lutjen and Nik Scholtz reaching the NCAA Final Four in doubles. After a few days in Oxford, the two headed to opposite parts of the world, Lutjen to begin his pro career, and Scholtz to play in some Futures tournaments, as collegiate players often do in the summer months. The results so far indicate why they became one of the top doubles tandems in the nation.

Vorster_Scholtz_Turkey.jpgScholtz, who will be a junior next season, traveled to Turkey for Futures events, and teamed up with Rebel alum Tucker Vorster, also an outstanding doubles player, to capture two titles in three weeks.  Their most recent title came Friday in Instanbul, where the South African duo defeated the No. 2 seeded team of Alexander Krasnorutskiy and Anton Manegin from Russia 7-6(1), 6-4.   Scholtz and Vorster also won the doubles in Konya, Turkey.

One of just nine players to earn All-America honors in both singles and doubles, Scholtz also reached the final of the singles in Instanbul, where he lost a close match Saturday to the No. 2 seed.

After joining Scholtz asLutjen_Hanfmann_Mexico.jpg two of only six players to finish the 2013 season top 20 in singles and top 10 in doubles, Lutjen got his pro career off to a good start in Mexico, teaming up with fellow countryman and Southern Cal sophomore Yannick Hanfmann to capture the doubles title a week ago in Quintana Roo.  They beat the No. 1 seed in the semifinals and the No. 2 seed in the final.  The win marked Lutjen's first pro doubles title. 

Following their wins, Lutjen is back in Germany to continue his pro career, while Scholtz heads back to the Motherland for a well-deserved break, before returning to Oxford in the fall.








Between The Lines

Top 10 Again

The final 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Rankings were released Tuesday and Ole Miss is back in the top 10 for the 15th time in the last 20 years ending the year at No. 10. 

After further research, it should be noted what an accomplishment that is.  The Rebels are one of just four teams to finish the season ranked top 10 at least 15 times in the last 20 years.  UCLA (19), Georgia (17) and Stanford (16) are the other three.  

Here is a breakdown of the Rebels' final ranking the last 20 years:

1994: T10

1995: 3

1996: 4

1997: 4

1998: 6

1999: 3

2000: 14

2001: 10

2002: 9

2003: 8

2004: 5

2005: 3

2006: 13

2007: 7

2008: 6

2009: 4

2010: 19

2011: 28

2012: 14

2013: 10

The Rebels return four of the top six in 2014 including All-American Nik Scholtz and fellow All-SEC honoree William Kallberg, so perhaps another top-10 finish is in the cards.

 

Follow me on Twitter, @krebel

Game, Set, Regular Season

2013 RebelsDespite losing the All-American twin duo of Marcel and Chris Thiemann and playing in the toughest conference in America, Ole Miss finished the 2013 regular season with a ranking of No. 7 in the nation.

The regular season was highlighted by Ole Miss' 4-3 win over No. 3 ranked Georgia.  The loss was the Bulldog's only SEC loss of the year.  The Rebels also own two wins over No. 6 Tennessee, two wins over No. 12 Mississippi State and a win over No. 13 Baylor.

The Rebels claimed their 10th SEC Western Division title, giving them the title in 10 of the 12 years it has been awarded.  In addition, Ole Miss also finished in the top four overall in the SEC for the 17th time in 19 years.

All of Ole Miss' success this year has come in the toughest conference in collegiate tennis.  The SEC features 11 of the top 25 teams in the country, with four in the top 10.  The conference also boasts many of the top players in both singles and doubles.  Seven of the top 25 singles players are from the SEC and Ole Miss' Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen are ranked No. 15 and No. 20, respectively.  In fact, Ole Miss is the only SEC school and only one of two schools in the nation (the other four-time defending national champion Southern Cal) to feature two top 20 ranked players.  The SEC is even stronger in doubles, featuring seven of the top 10 teams including Scholtz and Lutjen at No. 4.  

The 2013 regular season came to a conclusion as Ole Miss hosted the SEC Men's Tennis Championship at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center this past weekend.  Thirteen of the nation's best teams descended upon Oxford for an exciting weekend of tennis.  Following the tournament's conclusion, 12 of the 13 SEC teams are expected to make the NCAA Championships, which begin May 10.  

The Rebels are in line to host the first and seconds round of the NCAA Championships.  They have been selected to the NCAAs 20 consecutive years and hosted the first and second rounds 10 times.

(Chris Lawyer, Media Relations Student Assistant)


Britton On The Rise

Toby_Devin.JPGAs a freshman in college, Devin Britton took the nation by storm becoming the youngest NCAA Singles Champion in men's tennis history and just the third freshman ever to win the event.  One of the other two in that select company is seven-time grand slam singles champion John McEnroe.  

If you take a look at the top 100 on the ATP Tour, probably less than a handful played collegiate tennis.   John Isner, who achieved a career-high No. 9 in the world and played four years at Georgia, is a rare exception to the rule.  

 Britton's goal is to get to that same stage one day.   Since turning pro in the summer of 2009, he has played on the Futures and Challengers Circuit. This past year the results started to show the hard work and improvement that Britton has made in his game.

Playing in 24 tournaments in 2012, Britton achieved a career-high ranking of No. 129 in doubles and No. 404 in singles including 12 titles, 11 in doubles.  

"I feel good about the progress I have made this year. I feel like the hard work is definitely starting to pay off," Britton said.  "There is a lot of work left to be done though. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I look forward to keeping the numbers moving in the right direction in 2013."

To see how far Britton has come, you have to know where he started.  Unlike his professional counterparts in other team sports, Britton didn't get to walk in on a Super Bowl contending team and experience a high level of success right away.   He started his pro career ranked somewhere over a 1,000 in both singles and doubles.   That's a long way away from the current No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic.  

Steadily improving since making his debut at the 2009 U.S. Open against the greatest player ever (Roger Federer), Britton began the 2012 season No. 741 in singles and No. 358 in doubles before his year-end rise.

"I think I have definitely matured a lot since I first hit the tour," he said.  "It is easy to let the losses get to you out here. I think it takes time to learn how to handle the ups and downs of the tour. I have definitely gotten stronger physically and mentally along the way as well."

Britton has visited Ole Miss many times since he left, including attending this past Saturday's "Egg Bowl" win over arch-rival Mississippi State.  His former coaches and teammates still keep up with him and are not surprised by his results.

"We always believed that it was just a matter of time before Devin was going to make a jump," said Rebel associate head coach Toby Hansson.  "We are really excited for him and look forward to following his continued progress in 2013."

Britton's most recent title came at the JMS Challenger in Champaign, Ill., two weeks ago, where he teamed up with fellow NCAA Champion Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) for their fifth title of the year.

"Austin and I grew up playing together at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.  I have known him forever, and we know each other's games very well," Britton said.  "We complement each other well on the doubles court. He is also left-handed, which is a bonus.

"He won the NCAA doubles title for Texas A&M in 2011, so the only downside is having to see his maroon attire all the time," Britton continued, laughing.  "I'm only kidding, but yes we will continue to play together next year. I am hoping we will get our rankings up enough to get into the French Open and Wimbledon next year."

There is limited time for Britton to reflect on this past season's accomplishments, because 2013 is right around the corner.

"The next step is to continue to improve.  I have to bust it in December to get ready for a big 2013," he said.


London Calling Bhupathi

Rebel netter alum Mahesh Bhupathi punched his ticket to the ATP World Tour Finals in doubles with his partner Rohan Bopanna.  The pair clinched the eighth and final spot in the season-ending event, which kicks off next week in London.

On Friday, the fifth seeded Indian duo scored a 6-7, 6-3, 10-4 win over 4th seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Paris. The Polish pair were also in contention for the final spot in London and the winner of Friday's quarterfinal was going to clinch the final spot.

Bhupathi and Bopanna have won 2 ATP titles this season.



Britton Nets No. 10

It's been a solid year for 2009 NCAA Singles Champion Devin Britton, who last week picked up his 10th doubles title of 2012.  The Brandon, Miss., native teamed up with former Aggie Austin Krajicek to capture the Futures title in Austin, Texas this past weekend. 

A week after the pair reached the finals of the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger, Britton and Krajicek defeated Carsten Ball and former Ohio State Buckeye Chase Buchanan 6-4, 7-5 two win the title.  Britton is ranked No. 148 in this week's ATP Doubles Rankings.

This week, Britton heads to Mansfield, Texas for another Futures event.  Aside from playing singles and doubles each week on the Futures and Challenger tours, Britton has found time to blog about life as a professional tennis player and his travels.  Check it out here.  

Britton The Team Player

Most people think of professional tennis as an individual sport.  There is Davis Cup, which pits one country versus another in a team atmosphere and then there is World Team Tennis.  It features some of the biggest names in the world playing together in an innovative co-ed team format that offers exciting opportunities for players, fans, communities and sponsors.

Former Rebel Devin Britton is experiencing WTT for the first time this year as a member of the Springfield Lasers, one of eight teams in the pro league.  The Springfield Lasers are one of four teams in the Western Conference. 

Unlike most tennis professionals, Britton has some experience playing on a team.  In 2009, he was a member of the Ole Miss men's tennis team, helping lead the Rebels to an SEC Championship as well as the NCAA Elite Eight. 

Last night, the Mississippi native helped lead the Lasers to a win against the Kansas City Explorers, sending numerous fans home with souvenir tennis balls.  Here is a recap from the Springfield News-Leader

Britton Wins 1st Pro Title

They say there's a first time for everything.   Three years of hard work finally paid off for former Rebel men's tennis standout Devin Britton who captured his first pro title, the $15,000 Sacramento Futures, on Sunday.  In a battle of former NCAA Champions, Britton saved two match points to defeat Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M) 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.

Britton had won eight doubles titles, but was still searching for that elusive singles title until Sunday's triumph.  Click here to read an account of the match, including Britton's comments, from veteran journalist Paul Bauman

You'll note in the picture with the story that Britton, the youngest ever NCAA Singles Champion, is wearing an Ole Miss cap.  Once a Rebel, always a Rebel!


Grand Slam Birthday


Bhupathi_Mirza_2012FO.jpgFormer Ole Miss NCAA Champion Mahesh Bhupathi celebrated his 38th birthday in style Thursday, capturing the French Open Mixed Doubles title with compatriot Sania Mirza.  Bhupathi hoisted his 12th Grand Slam trophy including eighth mixed doubles.

Bhupathi and Mirza defeated the Mexican-Polish pair of Santiago Gonzalez and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik in straight sets (7-6, 6-1).



Afterwards, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to the champion.  Bhupathi was elated to win his first Grand Slam as a father. "This is my first Grand Slam title after I became a father, my 4-month old daughter will be watching this and this is for her."

The win marked the second grand slam title for the Indian duo, as they also captured the 2009 Australian Open title. 

While at Ole Miss, Bhupathi led the Rebels to the NCAA team finals.  He became the first Rebel tennis player to win an NCAA title when he teamed with Ali Hamadeh to capture the Doubles Championship in 1995 and ended the year as the No. 1 doubles team in the nation. In addition, Bhupathi was an All-American, 1995 SEC Singles Champion and SEC Player of the Year.

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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