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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 24-30)

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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 24-30, 2014

Track & Field
- The No. 12 Ole Miss men claimed three event titles at the prestigious Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, highlighted by junior Sam Kendricks' world-leading pole vault.
- Kendricks easily won against an elite field of pole vaulters with his mark of 18-8.25 that ranks No. 1 in the world. He attempted to break his own school and meet record when the bar was raised to 19-1, but he was unable to clear that enormous height.
- Senior Ricky Robertson won the high jump with a season-best leap of 7-6 that ranks him No. 1 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the world this year.
- The distance medley relay team of freshman Robert Domanic, senior Montez Griffin, freshman Will Spiers and freshman Sean Tobin won with a time of 9:39.51 that ranks them No. 2 in school history. They also won that race to claim an SEC title during the indoor season.
- Another strong performance came from junior Phillip Young, who placed fifth in the triple jump with a mark of 51-2.75 that ranks him No. 7 in the NCAA. He also ranks eighth nationally in the long jump.
- The Rebels return home this week to host the Ole Miss Invitational on Saturday. Former Rebs and current pros Brittney Reese and Isiah Young are expected to compete alongside the collegians.

Women's Golf
- The Ole Miss women's golf team picked up its second consecutive top-5 finish by taking fifth-place at the Aunenue Spring Break Classic in Hawaii. Junior Stani Schiavone led the Ole Miss contingent with an 11th-place finish for her second consecutive top-15 finish.
- Kaitlin Voll, competing as an individual, recorded her first career top-20 finish, closing the weekend in 16th. She fired three straight rounds of 75, which ties her career low for 18, and her three-day total of 222 is a new career low for 54 holes.
- The Rebels will host their lone home event this weekend as they host the 2014 Rebel Intercollegiate. Ole Miss welcomes 17 teams to the Ole Miss Golf course this weekend for the sixth annual event.

Women's Tennis
- The Rebels are knocking on the door of the top 25, as they moved up to No. 26 in last week's ITA Rankings.
- The Rebels defeated Mississippi State 4-2 to win their 25th in a row against the Bulldogs. After dropping a close doubles point, the Rebels picked up straight set singles wins at 3-6.
- With the win, the Rebels improved to 11-5 overall and 5-4 in the SEC. It marked the team's fourth straight SEC victory and fifth win overall in their last six matches.  
- Erin Stephens got the party started by winning her sixth in a row to put the Rebels on the board against State.
- Mai El Kamash has won seven straight and is 11-3 on the season at No. 4 singles.
- Iris Verboven clinched the MSU win and improved to 8-0 at No. 6 singles.  She has now clinched two of the last three SEC wins for the Rebels.
- The Rebels host South Carolina on Friday at 3 p.m., followed by a doubleheader with Florida and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m., to close out the regular season home schedule.

Baseball
- Ole Miss is 21-8 on the season and returns home for four games this week, including a weekend series against the Auburn Tigers.
- Senior infielder Austin Anderson leads the Rebels at the plate, hitting at a .368 clip with a team-leading 25 runs scored.
- Junior outfielder Braxton Lee leads the Rebels in swiping bases, stealing successfully on 11-of-14 attempts this year.
- Ole Miss has 20 home runs this season, three shy of the total mark set through 62 games in the 2013 season.

Football
- Ole Miss wrapped up its third week of spring practice with a competitive scrimmage Saturday.
- The defense edged out the offense in the scrimmage, thanks mostly to a series of big turnovers forced by the "Landshark" D. Among them were a pick six by Cody Prewitt and fumble recoveries for touchdowns by Serderius Bryant and Bryon Bennett.

Men's Tennis
- The Rebels went 3-1 last week, sweeping Jackson State three times and then losing a tight match to No. 17 Mississippi State, 4-2 on Sunday.
- The Rebels won the doubles point for just the fourth time all season and the second time in SEC play.  
- Nik Scholtz has won 10 in a row since mid-January and is 9-0 at No. 1 singles, 4-0 in the SEC.  Seven of his matches have not finished, including Sunday's match where he was serving for the win in the third set.
- The Rebels are on the road this weekend at South Carolina and Florida.

Softball
- Ole Miss moved to 19-18 on the season and 3-9 in SEC play after falling on the road at UT Martin and in a three-game set at South Carolina.
- Junior pitcher Lauren Lindsey, starting her second game of the season, pitched a career-high 6.2 innings in a 3-2 loss at UT Martin. She allowed just one earned run and struck out three.
- Ole Miss got a lead early and plated five runs in each game of Saturday's doubleheader at South Carolina, but could not cool off the Gamecocks' bats and dropped a pair of games. Ole Miss lost game one 9-5 and fell in game two 13-5 (6).
- Sophomore designated player Madi Osias led the Rebels offensively in game one with her first career grand slam, while freshman catcher Courtney Syrett led the Rebels offensively in game two, going 2-3 with a season-high two RBIs and a season-high tying two runs scored. She also hit the first home run of her career.
- Senior first baseman Londen Ladner led the Rebels in their series finale Sunday at South Carolina by going 2-4 with four RBIs, one run scored and one home run. It was the fourth game this season in which Ladner has driven in four or more runs. Ole Miss lost the finale 7-6.

Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 15

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1999NCAAFF.jpgTo begin this week, we break into the top 15 moments of the Billy Chadwick era here at Ole Miss.  As we move chronologically toward the present day, moment No. 15 will reside in the year of 1999.  In that year, the Rebels achieved a milestone as a program, for the first time in its illustrious history.

In 1999, the Rebels were selected to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.  The Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center became the site of the first ever NCAA Division I Tennis event inside the state of Mississippi. The Rebels earned the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA field of 64.  The Rebels welcomed to Oxford the United States Naval Academy, South Alabama and Virginia.  The Oxford community came in droves to support their team at the first-class facility, drawing crowds of nearly 800 people.

"The visiting teams were impressed with our campus and facilities, the town of Oxford, and the great crowds," said Ole Miss coach Billy Chadwick after his team went 2-0 in the regional to advance to the "Sweet Sixteen." "Our facility really puts the fans on top of the action and makes for a very exciting environment for collegiate tennis."

The Rebels would cruise past the Midshipmen in the first round 4-0, and advanced to the second round against South Alabama.  In the deciding match, the Rebels took the doubles point, consolidated with wins in singles at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 for the 4-0 win.  Junior Swede Martin Sjoqvist took down Paul McInerney of South Alabama to clinch the match for Ole Miss and send them to their sixth consecutive "Sweet Sixteen."  

Since that year, the Rebels have hosted 10 times in the last thirteen years.  That is just another example of the consistency that Chadwick has provided throughout his great run as leader of the Ole Miss tennis program.  On Wednesday, we will present another big in 1999.  Stay tuned.

On baseball's Opening Day in 1997, Chris Snopek got the start at third base for the Chicago White Sox against the Toronto Blue Jays. Nearly 17 years later to the day, he remembers the setting well.

"I was blessed to have that opportunity," Snopek said. "It was awesome. We opened in the Toronto SkyDome playing against Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar and those guys. It was pretty intense."

A three-year Ole Miss letterman from 1990-92, Snopek became the 10th All-American in school history when Baseball America made him a third-team choice in 1992, having hit at a .407 clip for the season, setting then-school records with 21 doubles and 62 RBIs.

Snopek, now a facility director and baseball instructor of P360 Sports, a performance sports complex based in Ridgeland, Miss., recounts playing for coach Jake Gibbs and coach Don Kessinger, and lessons learned from his time in Oxford.

"I learned the value of working hard," Snopek said. "Going to Ole Miss, I only knew the freshman guys on the baseball team. I learned how to earn respect and how to adapt, having played at Ole Miss in the SEC - and the perseverance of working day in and day out - to constantly work on your craft."

Following his successful junior campaign in 1992, Snopek was selected in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the White Sox. During the 1993 and 1994 seasons, Snopek made minor league stops in South Bend, Ind., Sarasota, Fla., and most notably Birmingham, Ala., where he was teammates with basketball legend Michael Jordan.

"It was a circus-like atmosphere with all the media following us," said Snopek of the 1994 season in Birmingham. "As minor league players, we did not have access to that until he got there. He brought a lot of attention to the team, which gave us a platform to show our skills as players. It put me on pace to get to the big leagues and opened a lot of doors for me."

A year later, that door opened, and Snopek made his major league debut with the White Sox on July 31, 1995. As a rookie, he hit a career-best .324 with a home run and seven RBIs in 22 games. He went on to play 207 games over four seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.

He credits his defense and ability to hit for making it to, and staying in the major leagues, but looking back, he sees another area where he could have improved.

"Before I got to the big leagues, I hit about .300. In the big leagues, I hit .300 the first year. But I did not adapt well as being a utility guy. If I could go back, I would have taken more time and learned how to play every couple of days, like Seth Smith who does so well as a pinch-hitter."

One of the most prolific hitters in Ole Miss baseball history, Snopek remains close with his former teammates and the program with Oxford just a short 2.5-hour drive away.

"Living in Jackson, you get access to all the local material," Snopek said. "We try to get back to Oxford three to four times a year. We follow Ole Miss closely, and we're still big supporters of them.

"It's become a national brand, instead of just a Southeast brand," Snopek said. "It's a top-30, top-40 school, as far as all athletes. In baseball, it's a top-15, top-20 school, which is pretty good relative to other schools out there. It's a credit to Coach Bianco, Coach Freeze, Coach Kennedy and really Ross Bjork as athletics director."

Freshman defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche

Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell

Former Rebel Dori Carter Leading at LPGA Kia Classic

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Former Ole Miss women's golfer, Dori Carter (2006-09) is having an excellent second round at the 2014 LPGA Kia Classic. Carter, who entered today's second round in 12th place, fired a 8-under par 64 and is currently leading the field at 10-under par after two days of action. For the round, Carter posted 11 birdies and has 14 through the first two rounds. In 2013, Carter posted her career-best finish at the RICOH Women's British Open where she finished tied for 25th. She's in the hunt for her first career title and top-10 finish. Carter beat the course record by two and the official course record by one shot. Her round of 64 was her career low round.

The Kia Classic runs through Sunday (March 30) and is being held at the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. Fans can watch on the Golf Channel tonight from 5:30 p.m. (CT) to 8:00 p.m. (CT) and also on Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night. Live scoring is also available HERE

Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 16

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Chadwick_Bhupathi_USOPEN303.jpgFor moment No. 16 and our last moment in 1997, we recognize an individual accomplishment that not only impacted Ole Miss, but was felt all around the world.  A familiar name to the Ole Miss family, Mahesh Bhupathi took his game, his country, and his name to another planet in the tennis stratosphere.

In 1997, two years removed from the National Championship in doubles and leading the Rebels to the National Championship match, Bhupathi became the first player in Ole Miss tennis history to win a Grand Slam tournament.  Additionally, the 23 year-old Bhupathi also became the first Indian to ever win a Grand Slam title.  Bhupathi teamed with Japan native Rika Hiraki to win the French Open in mixed doubles.  Bhupathi and Hiraki defeated a pair of Americans, Patrick Galbraith and Lisa Raymond, 6-4, 6-1.

For those curious, Bhupathi and his French Open run was not what people like to call a "one hit wonder."  Bhupathi has since earned 12 total Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.  He has won multiple titles at every Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon).  Bhupathi's last Grand Slam win was in 2012 at the French Open.  He paired with Mumbai native Sania Mirza to beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez.

Bhupathi has earned over 6.5 million dollars in prize money, and at 39 years young, continues to be known as one of the best doubles players on the professional circuit, as evidenced by his prestigious awards and accomplishments.  In September of 2013, Bhupathi was ranked No. 10 in the world in doubles.  He has been ranked as high as No. 1 in April of 1999.  

On March 1, 2014, Bhupathi's professional tennis league, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), made a splash towards making a name for itself.  The world's No. 1, 2, 3 players signed up for participation in a league tournament.  This included Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.  Additionally, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka also participated in the tournament.  This is a true testament to the respect that Mahesh has from all of the top players in the world to be able to draw such a star-studded lineup.

Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer is also very impressed with what he has witnessed from Bhupathi.  "I have high respect for him," said Federer.  "He's been around for such a long time.  He has always been very nice and intense on the court, but very laid back off.  "He is one of the best guys in the world of all-time."  It is safe to say that Mahesh has represented Ole Miss and India in an overwhelming way.

Monday, we will break into the top 15 moments in Ole Miss tennis history moving to 1999.  Stay tuned to see how Coach Billy Chadwick and the Rebels take the next step as a tennis program.

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

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.


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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."

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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."

Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 17

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1997NCAAFF.jpgOur midweek moment features No. 17 and encapsulates the overall success Coach Billy Chadwick and the Ole Miss tennis team experienced in 1997.  The Rebels, as we have mentioned, enjoyed one of the supreme seasons in tennis program history.  In 1997, the Rebels finished the season 25-4 and ended the season in the top five for the third year in a row, ranked No. 4 nationally.

That year the Rebels earned an automatic trip to the NCAA Finals as the No. 2 seed in Los Angeles, Calif.  In the first round, the Rebels took down UC-Santa Barbara 4-0 followed by a 4-3 victory over Boise State, clinched by Sebastien DeChaunac, in the second round.  That win placed the Rebels in the semifinals for the second time in program history (the first being in 1995).  The Rebels would come up just short losing 4-2 to the eventual national champion Stanford Cardinals.

Additional notable accomplishments included Johan Hede, who ended a brilliant career as the winningest singles player in Ole Miss history.  Hede boasted a 135-41 singles record and earned All-SEC and All-America honors for three straight years.  Also in 1997, DeChaunac reached the NCAA singles semifinals, the farthest for any player in the SEC that year.  
DeChaunac finished the year as the nation's No. 2 singles players, and became the fifth Rebel in the last four years to reach at least the semifinals in the individual competition.  Johan Landsberg also had a stellar senior year, earning All-America honors with a 38-8 singles record and a 23-1 record in dual matches.

Not to go unnoticed, the Rebel tennis team earned a 3.51 team GPA and was named an ITA All-Academic team, with the highest GPA of any other nationally-ranked team.  The Rebels epitomize excellence on and off the court to the highest degree.

Stay tuned on Friday as we finish 1997 with a bang, honoring an individual achievement that broke new barriers for the Ole Miss tennis program worldwide. 

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

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.

Football, men's basketball and women's basketball hype videos for the 2013-14 season.

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