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.
The SEC Network will air every SEC spring football game with multiple viewing opportunities on both television and the network's digital platforms. All 12 spring football games will be carried live and in full on SEC Network + with additional... read more
Through the first seven spring practices, or three weeks since the start of spring practice on March 3, there does not appear to be any separation between sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade and junior college transfer Chad Kelly. Whether... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review March 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. -... read more
The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its... read more
Junior left-hander Christian Trent and sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett picked up quality starts on the mound, and the offensive provided some timely hits, which proved to be a winning formula as Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over No. 1... read more
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A four-year starter at point guard, one of the most accomplished players in program history, senior Jarvis Summers saw his Ole Miss career come to an end, as did four of his fellow seniors in LaDarius White,... read more
From his five years at Cincinnati, three as an assistant coach and one each as associate head coach and interim head coach, head coach Andy Kennedy knows and has experienced the Xavier program first hand, having coached against the Musketeers... read more
Ole Miss has gone through a two-day turn twice, as well as a one-day turn when the Rebels played No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati in back-to-back days at the Emerald Coast Classic, but they haven't gone through a turn quite... read more
Giant Killers come in many different shapes and forms in the NCAA Tournament. They are not just your teams from smaller and mid-major conferences, but also your lower-seeded power-conference teams. As defined by ESPN's Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner, Giants Killers... read more
March Madness reigned in Dayton, as 11th-seeded Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. The nation watched, and they reacted to... read more
Talking to members of the local media Sunday before leaving for Dayton on Monday, head coach Andy Kennedy and senior guard Jarvis Summers spoke of a familiarity with BYU, their First Four opponent, from watching the Cougars' 73-60 win at... read more