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."
Our 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.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 17-23, 2014
Track & Field
- The Rebels began the 2014 outdoor season inside the friendly confines of the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex on Saturday, and produced a few record-breaking performances to kick off the season in strong fashion.
- Junior All-American Sam Kendricks broke his own facility record in the pole vault yet again with a mark of 18-2 to crush the field of competitors.
- Senior All-American Ricky Robertson was back in action for the first time since 2012 and returned in good form by tying his own facility record in the high jump at 7-5, easily winning the meet. He also placed fifth in the long jump with a mark of 23-6.75.
- Sophomore Nathan Loe, a transfer from Illinois, made his Rebel outdoor debut a memorable one by setting a school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 202-1. He bested the previous record of 201-7 by Stacy Andrews in 2003.
- Freshman indoor All-American Jalen Miller also had a memorable outdoor debut, winning the 100 and 200 meters, and anchoring the victorious 4x100-meter relay team. His time of 10.29 (that beat such competitors as Olympian Isiah Young and All-American Mike Granger) ranks him No. 6 on the Rebels' all-time outdoor chart.
- Ole Miss is back in action this week at the Texas Relays in Austin, Wednesday-Saturday.
- Ole Miss improved to 21-4 on the season with a perfect 4-0 week that included a series sweep of Missouri - the only sweep in SEC play this week.
- The Rebels posted two come-from-behind wins to bring the season total to nine come-from-behind wins to date.
- Ole Miss also improved to 8-1 in one-run games this year with a pair of 4-3 wins this past week.
- Sikes Orvis hit three home runs on the weekend to bring his season total to a team-leading six home runs.
- Ole Miss has 19 home runs through 25 games this season. The Rebels only hit 23 total home runs all of last season.
- Ole Miss went 3-1 for the week and improved to 19-14, 3-6 SEC. The Rebels won a mid-week home game against Louisiana Tech before then winning an SEC home series over Arkansas.
- The Rebels opened the week Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over Louisiana Tech in which pitchers Carly Hummel, Shelby Jo Fenter and Madi Osias combined to throw a no-hitter. It was the sixth no-hitter in program history, and the first combined no hitter in Ole Miss history. In all, Ole Miss retired the first 19 batters of the game in order.
- The Ole Miss bats started hot and stayed hot throughout the Rebels' series-opening 11-4 victory over Arkansas on Friday evening. Each of the Rebels' first four batters in the lineup hit home runs, and 10 of the Rebels' 11 runs in the game came with two outs away.
- Trailing 5-0 in game two against Arkansas, Ole Miss rallied to score 13 runs in four innings to win 13-6 Saturday afternoon. Ole Miss entered the bottom of the third inning trailing Arkansas 5-0, but rallied to plate four runs in the third inning, two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and then another five runs in the sixth inning.
- Ole Miss faces UT Martin on the road Tuesday before traveling to South Carolina for an SEC road series against the Gamecocks.
- The Rebels went 2-0 last weekend, beating Arkansas 4-2 and LSU 4-1. The Rebels improved to 10-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC.
- The Rebels have now won three in a row in the SEC and four of their last five matches overall. They have also won three straight against LSU.
- Julia Jones earned her 20th win of the year in the win over LSU. She also teamed up with Zalina Khairudinova for their 13th win in doubles.
- Iris Verboven improved to 7-1 in dual matches and 7-0 at No. 6 singles.
- Mai El Kamash won twice to improve to 10-3 at No. 4 singles. She has won six matches in a row.
- The Rebels continue on the road at arch-rival Mississippi State Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
- An energetic scrimmage witnessed by fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium capped the Rebels' second week of spring practice on Saturday.
- Trae Elston broke up a pass on the last play of the organized scrimmage, helping the defense defeat the offense, 15-14.
- Ole Miss is scheduled to practice four more times this coming week, highlighted by another Saturday morning session open to the public.
- The Rebels went 1-2 last week, losing to No. 4 Southern California 5-2 before defeating Arkansas 4-2 and falling to LSU 4-1.
- The Rebels have now won 27 straight matches against Arkansas.
- Nik Scholtz has won eight in a row and improved to 7-0 at No. 1 singles, 4-0 in the SEC. He continued his winning ways last week, knocking off the No. 11 ranked player against USC and then winning twice over the weekend.
- The Rebels face Jackson State on Tuesday before hosting arch-rival Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
We begin this week honoring another first for Billy Chadwick and the Ole Miss tennis program. I know by now it seems like there isn't much left to accomplish. However, in 1997 the Rebels won the program's first ever Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship. We mentioned in our previous moment how difficult the SEC was every year, especially in 1997, with six teams in the final top 10 rankings, making this accomplishment even more significant.
The Rebels went undefeated in the SEC Tournament in Columbia, S.C., taking down three ranked teams in the process. Ole Miss defeated No. 21 Alabama 4-0, No. 16 Florida 4-1, and No. 2 Georgia 4-2 to claim the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship. The Rebels were led by returning All-Americans Johan Hede and Johan Landsberg, as well as SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player Sebastien DeChaunac.
"This was another outstanding year for the Ole Miss tennis program," said Ole Miss coach Billy Chadwick in 1997. "We won the SEC Tournament as well as the overall SEC Championship, claimed the Blue/Gray National Championship and once again positioned ourselves for a run at the National Championship."
The Rebels finished the year with a 25-4 record, along with a superb Southeastern Conference record of 12-2. On Wednesday, we will divulge more details of the Rebels postseason run and how the overall record came to fruition. Stay tuned for our last moment of 1997 as we reminisce another exciting team accomplishment.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis
.Special assistance from Media Relations student, Wesley Boock.
Head coach Mike Bianco and the Ole Miss players said one of the team's goals is to win 20 games in the SEC. After losing two of three at South Carolina last weekend, Ole Miss is back to even in pursuit of that goal at 21-4 overall and 4-2 in SEC play after a weekend sweep of Missouri, capped by Sunday's 7-3 comeback win.
"We talked about it last week. After that tough Saturday, especially that first game, you felt you left one on the table to not get two out of three the first weekend, and we would have to sweep down the road," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We were hoping to sweep some weekend, but you would have to sweep a series that maybe you were not supposed to.
"Maybe this was the game with four errors and a game where you looked at it from a distance and you said they're not supposed to win that game, but we hung in there. And that was the key. We kept the game close enough that we could win it. Maybe this was one of the games that we stole. As I said to the guys, that doesn't put you ahead necessarily at 4-2; it got you back to where you're supposed to be if you're winning weekends at 4-2. That was huge to get us back to where we should be."
Sunday starter, junior right-hander Sam Smith, recorded his fourth straight quality start, as he left the game with a 2-1 deficit in the seventh. He worked 6.0 innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
"What Sam does, and why he has so much success in being a veteran, is he keeps it in control," Bianco said. "He doesn't let the inning blow up on him. He handles it. There were some innings there that they could have scored multiple runs, and he didn't let that happen just by bearing down and making some pitches. I'm certainly proud of his outing."
Sophomore left-hander Matt Denny and junior right-hander Hawtin Buchanan limited the damage to one run in the seventh, while freshman left-hander Wyatt Short stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout and a groundout in the eighth to keep Ole Miss within one, down 3-2, entering the bottom of the inning.
"With the bases loaded and one out, (Short) comes in and gets the strikeout and a ground ball to end the inning and keep the difference at one," Bianco said. "It makes it so much harder, especially playing a team at home where the visiting team has to get six outs."
Junior outfielder Will Jamison led off the eighth with a single through the right side. Sophomore Cameron Dishon pinch ran for Jamison and advanced to second after freshman shortstop Errol Robinson laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Dishon came around to score the game-tying on an infield single to the shortstop from junior outfielder Auston Bousfield. After a hit by pitch, senior third baseman Austin Anderson delivered an RBI single to right to score Bousfield and take a 4-3 lead, and the Rebels went on to bat around and plate six runs in the inning.
"You put one of the faster guys on the field into the game, and so when we bunt him over, it was a really gutsy play by Cliff (Godwin) to send him," said Bianco of Dishon scoring from second on the infield single. "That's what a good coach does. He sees the shortstop go up the middle to make the play and sees it's going to be a tough play for him. A lot of times when you do that, it's an errant throw and it's going to be a bang-bang play, and the first baseman freezes like that guy did where you almost want to argue the call. Once that happened, we were able to have the big inning."
Ole Miss hit 23 home runs in 62 games a season ago, and no player had more than five home runs. Through 24 games this season, the Rebels have hit 19, led by six from junior first baseman Sikes Orvis.
Orvis led the barrage Saturday with a pair of home runs, his second and third of the weekend, and senior catcher Will Allen also homered, as Ole Miss clinched the series against Missouri with a 7-1 win.
"The guys who drive them out have always been able to do it, but it's more about having the confidence and approach and being aggressive," Orvis said. "Guys are wanting to come out and hit them in the mouth early, swinging hard and swinging early in the count, getting good swing offs and trying to run into balls. All of the stuff that (strength and conditioning coach) Ben (Fleming) made us do has definitely made us stronger, so the guys are starting to drive it out even better now."
"He's feeling good," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I'm proud of him. He's come a long way since his freshman year. This is the guy we knew he could be and expected him to be. Defensively, too, since getting here, he was worked hard with Coach Godwin and worked in the weight room to improve his body. He's having a great year."
Recruited to be next Matt Snyder, a 10th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2012, Orvis knew he had big shoes to fill when he arrived from Orlando, Fla., as Snyder finished his career tied for second all-time in Ole Miss history with 41 home runs and finished third all-time with 173 RBI.
After hitting .232 as a freshman and .237 as a sophomore, Orvis has also upped his batting average to .325, one of six regulars in the Ole Miss lineup hitting over .300, to go along with his team-leading six home runs.
"I heard that earlier in my career," said Orvis of the Snyder comparison. "Last year, I had a little trouble, but it's starting to come back a little bit. They brought me in to do what Snyder did. They're big shoes to fill, but I'm trying to do my best.
"Obviously, I'm not here to run around the outfield or steal bases. I'm here to drive balls into the gap and over the fence and get people in, and that's what Snyder did for four years. That's definitely what I want to try to do."
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