OXFORD, Miss. - It was another close SEC match as they have been all year for the No. 7 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team, but the Rebels came up with some big three-setters to close out No. 20 South Carolina 4-2 on Senior Day Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
With the win, the Rebels clinched at least a share of the SEC Western Division Championship and improved to 14-6 overall, 7-4 in league play. The Rebels can clinch it outright with a win at Texas A&M next Sunday to close out the regular season.
The Rebels fell behind for the second straight match after dropping the doubles point and the No. 1 singles match when sophomore Nik Scholtz retired after the first set. But, Ole Miss came up with singles wins at four, two and five before sophomore William Kallberg rallied to win his third set against Thiago Pinheiro at No. 3 to clinch the Rebels' 11th straight victory against South Carolina.
Freshman Stefan Lindmark started the rally, taking down Gamecock junior Chip Cox 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 singles to put the Rebels on the board.
Senior Jonas Lutjen, victorious in his doubles match with fellow senior Adrian Forberg Skogeng, won a huge first set tiebreaker against SC's Andrew Adams 7-6(6) which gave him the momentum to win the second set 6-3 and square the match at 2-2.
Junior Johan Backstrom came up big at court five, defeating Gamecock Kyle Koch in three sets to give Ole Miss a 3-2 lead. Koch came into the match undefeated in the SEC.
Kallberg lost his first 6-4 and then gained the early break to win the second set 6-4. Pinheiro raced out to a 5-2 lead in the third, but Kallberg hung in there and was able to break and hold serve for 5-5. He broke again to go up 6-5 and served it out.
When the match stopped, Forberg Skogeng was on serve in the third set against Gamecock Harry Menzies at six.
The Rebels host Jackson State Tuesday at 2 p.m. before traveling to face Texas A&M on April 14.
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