OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss men's tennis team picked up three wins against Arkansas-Pine Bluff here Wednesday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, as they get ready to host No. 10 Texas A&M in the final regular season SEC match of the year.
The Rebels will celebrate senior Johan Backstrom as well as head coach Billy Chadwick's final SEC home match. Fans coming to the match will receive a commemorative Billy Chadwick collector's cup, free Ole Miss Tennis candy bars and a collector poster of Backstrom.
"Texas A&M is ranked top 10 in the country, and they're tied for the top spot in the conference," Chadwick said. "We know that they are one of the nation's best. We feel like we are starting to play our best tennis. This is our last SEC home match, and we are looking forward to having a great crowd and closing out the regular season on a high note."
The Rebels are led by junior Nik Scholtz, who comes in ranked No. 22 in the nation with a 10-1 record at No. 1 singles, 5-1 in the SEC. He will get another opportunity for a top-20 win, as he faces 14th-ranked Harrison Adams of the Aggies.
Texas A&M comes into Friday's match at 20-5 overall and tied atop the SEC standings at 9-1. The Aggies lone SEC loss came at Kentucky, 4-0. Adams owns a 23-9 overall record, 7-5 at No. 1 singles. The Aggies also boast the No. 6 ranked doubles team in the nation, Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow, who are 9-2 at No. 1 doubles.
"My dad was an Aggie. He has passed away, but I am in hopes that he will give us a little help from above to beat the Aggies," said Chadwick with a smile on his face.
Friday will mark the last SEC match for Backstrom, who has been involved in many big matches for the Rebels, but this one is a little more special.
"This is a huge match, and a very exciting one, especially for me," Backstrom said. "I was actually recruited by both schools. I know their coaches very well. Like my dad said, the circle is complete. I was choosing between Ole Miss and Texas A&M, and my very last home SEC match happens to be against them. It's going to be a special day."
Not only will it be Backstrom's last SEC match at the Galtney Courts, but it will be a farewell for Chadwick, who has witnessed many big wins at the tennis center during his illustrious 35-year career that will come to a close at the end of the season.
"The season has been such a whirlwind, that you are just focused on each match, I haven't really thought about it," Chadwick said. In this short time period of the Aggies joining the conference, it's turned into a big rivalry. We've played them several times, including in the NCAAs, but never here."
It's been a difficult season for the Rebels record-wise, but Chadwick and the team are excited about the opportunity.
"We need to play a great match from top to bottom," Chadwick said. "We've played very well at different spots on different days. We need to put it all together. I felt like our best match was down in Florida. Even though we lost, we really played a good match from top to bottom. We're looking to build on that."
"It's a great opportunity for us. We have nothing to lose," Backstrom added. "The effort has been there, it's just a few points that separate a lot of teams in the SEC. Hopefully we can all play well and have one go our way."
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games. Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular... read more
Official welcome to Chad Kelly, the No. 1 JUCO QB in the country from national champion East Mississippi CC. #HottyToddy-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 17, 2014 Just Sent My LOI In To The University Of Mississippi!!! Feel's Good To... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 8-14, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time... read more
Ole Miss Details Stadium Expansion Plans Ole Miss unveiled the master plan for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which includes two phases of renovation and expansion. Scheduled for completion by the start of the 2016 season, the expansion will bring the seating capacity... read more
With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 1-7, 2014Football- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.- Ole Miss is making... read more
While the Rebels have enjoyed a solid fall on the fields and courts and look forward to the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and more basketball games, all student-athletes are busy this week proving they are champions in the classroom... read more
In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are... read more
Ole Miss continued its strong bounce-back from a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern, improving to 5-1 on the season and knocking off two previously unbeaten opponents in No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic. "We... read more
Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract, they both announced on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Terms will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Nov. 24-30, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.- The Rebels finish the... read more
Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week... read more