OXFORD, Miss. - It has been said sometimes adversity is what you have to face to become successful. For the No. 10 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team, this weekend was not what they wanted, as they came away with two tough losses in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the latest, a 4-2 setback to No. 25 Clemson on Sunday at the Gillom Sports Center.
Sunday's 4-2 loss to Clemson went much like Saturday's 4-3 loss to Michigan, with the Rebels unable to win any tiebreakers and very few deciding points.
"It's tough, because we wanted to advance," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "We have a young team at some different positions, especially five and six. We had an injury up at the top with William Kallberg, and he's getting over that. We knew it was going to be tough. I am proud of the guys, they fought hard. We played better top to bottom today than we did on Saturday. The objective with these early matches is to see the weaknesses and what we need to improve on. We know we what need to work on, and the guys are committed. We've got our sights on the SEC season."
Doubles was the Achilles heel again for the Rebels. Clemson won 6-1 at No. 3 doubles and then clinched the point with a 6-3 win at No. 2.
Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 in the nation, showed why is one of the best players in the country, capping his weekend with another strong performance in singles. He took out Clemson's Hunter Harrington 6-4, 6-3 to improve to 11-5 overall, 2-0 in dual matches. Johan Backstrom also turned in a great performance this weekend in singles, winning both his matches in straight sets as well. Sunday, he defeated Austin Ansari 6-0, 6-4.
"I played well this weekend in both matches, especially in the first sets," Backstrom said. "I've been working with the coaches in practice on some things, and it was great to be able to show it in the matches."
Sophomore Stefan Lindmark won a big three-setter Saturday against Michigan, but came up short Sunday after dropping a tough tiebreaker to Clemson's Alejandro Augusto. Augusto was able to win the tiebreaker 9-7 and then used that momentum to win the second set 6-1 giving his team the lead.
"Nik Scholtz played really well. He has really proven himself to be one of the best players in the country," Chadwick said. "Johan played absolutely great. The person I thought fought the hardest this weekend was Stefan. He fought hard in both matches, but he got a little unlucky in today's match. With the no ad scoring, the difference in winning and losing comes down to a point here and there."
The match came down to courts five and six again with the Rebels needing to win both to win the match. Vinod Gowda, playing just his second dual match for the Rebels, was on the verge of winning, when Clemson clinched. After dropping the first set 6-1, Gowda came back to win a second set tiebreaker 7-4 to keep the Rebels alive. He was leading 5-3 in the third when the match ended.
In the deciding match at No. 6, Oxford native Zach Wilder served for the first set up 5-4, but CU's Fernando Sala broke to force a tiebreaker. Wilder held a set point there, but Sala won three straight points to win the set 6-5(6). In the second set, Sala jumped to an early break, but Wilder battled back. Unfortunately, at 4-4, he was broken again and Sala served it out 6-4 to clinch the win for the Tigers.
"Vinod was much improved, and was about to win," Chadwick said. "Even though Zach lost, he played much better than he did the day before. He doesn't quite have the experience to step up and deliver in this type situation. I think he lost at least three 3-3 all points in the second set, but if you play enough matches, that evens out. Overall, we just didn't win enough of the big points as Michigan did the first day and Clemson did the second day."
The Rebels will be back in action Feb. 7 when they host Southern Miss.
Ole Miss football players will report to campus on Friday for the start of 2014 fall camp. Friday will also feature Media Day activities beginning with head coach Hugh Freeze's press conference at 2 p.m, which will be streamed live... read more
On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more
Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Watch: Freeze on CFB Live Watch: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman... read more
All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more
Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more
Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more
Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more
NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more