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."
Head coach Hugh Freeze called the Egg Bowl the most prized possession of this university's football program, and getting the Egg Bowl back should be enough motivation for his team entering Saturday's game against Mississippi State. An Independence, Mississippi, native,... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 17-23, 2014Men's Basketball- Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with wins over Southern University and Northern Arizona as part of the Emerald Coast Classic, improving to 3-1 on the season.- Ole Miss... read more
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson, one of five finalists for the Bronco Nagurski Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year, will represent Ole Miss as one of 10 finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which honors the... read more
It's that busy time of the year with the Ole Miss football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball teams all in action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was in Ole Miss sports:- A slow start (17-0... read more
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas jumped out to a 17-0 in the first quarter and took advantage of six Ole Miss turnovers on the way to a 30-0 shutout win Saturday in Fayetteville."I was concerned all week, for whatever reason, that... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 8 Ole Miss travels to Arkansas in its final road game of the regular season Saturday. Slowing the Hogs' Ground Attack The extra week of preparation, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said, should prove beneficial... read more
It's sometimes easy to forget where the Ole Miss football program was just three short years ago, when Hugh Freeze was interviewing for the head coaching position. The Rebels had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 10-16, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed... read more
The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:-... read more
No. 10 Ole Miss was without several starters and regular contributors against Presbyterian, and many others were limited. But given an extra week of rest, head coach Hugh Freeze said he expects everyone, with the exception of the players out... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 3-9, 2014Football- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.-... read more
Austin Miller handled all of this week's edition of the Observations from the Best Seat in the House. Check out what he had to say below:- The nation's best scoring defense finally got its first shutout of the season, as... read more
Ole Miss racked up the second-most yards in school history, totaling 640 yards, including 402 yards on the ground, in a 48-0 rout of Presbyterian. The Rebels were able to limit the reps for several players in the contest, with... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 11 Ole Miss hosts FCS opponent Presbyterian in its final non-conference matchup of the regular season. Execute, Stay Heathy Saturday's game with Presbyterian is more about Ole Miss than its opponent, as the team's... read more