OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss men’s tennis team rallied to beat No. 32 Memphis 4-3 here Tuesday in their first outdoor match of the season at the newly renovated Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center/Galtney Courts.
After a disappointing start losing the doubles point, the Rebels came out swinging at the top three spots in singles and at No. 6, where Johan Backstrom clinched the victory.
“It was a tough match, but we knew it would be. Memphis has a very strong team,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “They did a good job in the doubles. We had some looks at No. 3 doubles at 6-6 up 40-0. If we get that, it could have been the difference maker in the doubles. We did a good job of coming out after a disappointing doubles and finding a way to get four singles. I am glad we were challenged and had our backs against the wall. These are the kinds of things that make your team a little better.”
With the match squared at three, all eyes turned to court six where Backstrom, a sophomore, was up a set and looking to close out Memphis senior Leon Nasemann. Backstrom served for it at 5-0, but got broken for the first time in the match. Not wanting to try and serve it out again, Backstrom broke Nasemann in a long back and forth seventh game to clinch the 4-3 victory.
“It was a very long game, that last one. I had some match points, and he hit some good volleys. I just grinded it out,” Backstrom said. “I had a chance to serve it out at 5-0, and got broken for the first time in the match. It was good to come back from that and take it right away in that kind of pressure. “I knew that it was coming down to me, when everybody came up top. But it was 6-4, 4-0 when everybody came up there, so it was fine. It’s a lot of pressure playing the last match, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
Memphis came into the match with wins against Tennessee and Vanderbilt already in their pocket, so the Rebels knew it would be a battle. The Rebels responded after digging an early hole by dropping the doubles point.
Freshman Nik Scholtz turned up the heat with his impressive 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles against Tiger Joe Salisbury. That put the Rebels on the board and gave them a much-needed lift.
Coach Chadwick switched up Marcel Thiemann and Jonas Lutjen in the lineup, and both delivered solid wins to give the Rebels a 3-1 lead. Thiemann downed Johnny Grimal 6-3, 6-1 on court three.
Lutjen’s match featured an up and down first set in which the junior from Schessel, Germany led UM’s David O’Hare 5-3 and served for the set, before getting broken. At 5-5, Lutjen broke and was able to serve it out 7-5. He used the momentum of winning a close first set to dominate the second 6-1.
“It was good to see Nik step up and get a straight set win, and Jonas did a good job of working through his match. He’s been playing well lately and it was good to see him step up in a pressure situation. Marcel played great at three. Backy was too strong at six,” Chadwick said.
Memphis won at No. 5 singles in straight sets and then dominated a third set on court four to even it up before Backstrom closed it out up at six.
The Rebels open up Southeastern Conference play Friday hosting No. 12 Auburn at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. Admission is free and fans will receive a collector’s poster of senior Marcel Thiemann.
Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more
If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more
The defensive backs, including former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will hold its annual pro day on March 5... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the... read more
Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's... read more
After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0... read more
For the second time in as many weeks, Ole Miss embarks on a Thursday-Saturday swing, returning home to host Tennessee on Saturday after a 71-65 win on Thursday at Mississippi State. During the previous week, Ole Miss was on the... read more
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The game hung in the balance. Mississippi State had just regained a 54-52 lead with 6:25 left, taking advantage of a 6-0 run. Head coach Andy Kennedy challenged his team, and junior guard Stefan Moody answered the... read more
Ole Miss and Cal will play a home-and-home football series in 2017 and 2019, the schools and ESPN announced Thursday. It marks the Rebels' first matchup with a Pac-12 school in football and will be only the program's second visit... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 10-16, 2015Men's Basketball- Ole Miss saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a one-point loss to No. 23 Arkansas Saturday night. Junior guard Stefan Moody and senior forward M.J. Rhett each scored 16 points... read more
The men's basketball team marches on toward March, the baseball team opened the 2015 season with a series win over William & Mary and the softball team prepares for its home opener under first-year head coach Mike Smith. The winter... read more
Riding a six-game winning streak, Ole Miss hosts No. 24 Arkansas in a battle for sole possession of second place in the SEC standings. The Rebels are looking for its fourth season sweep of Arkansas in the last five attempts,... read more