STARKVILLE, Miss. - The No. 5 seed Ole Miss men's tennis team advanced to the SEC Championship Semifinals for the 15th time taking down the No. 4 seed, Florida, 4-1 here Friday night at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
The Rebels (13-7) will face top-seeded Kentucky in Saturday's second semifinal at 2 p.m. Georgia and Mississippi State will face off in the first semifinal at 11 a.m.
With Ole Miss leading 3-1 and needing just one more point, freshman William Kallberg answered the bell, finishing off Gator Spencer Newman 7-5, 7-5 to clinch the victory.
"It was a great team effort top to bottom. We had some good momentum from last night's match and it seemed to be the difference maker in the doubles. Nik (Scholtz) did an outstanding job of avenging the loss from the first meeting. That was the turnaround. Marcel (Thiemann) showed great senior leadership, then the freshman, `boom-boom', beat one of Florida's top positions. That was a big match for him to win," head coach Billy Chadwick said.
In their previous meeting during the regular season, Florida took the doubles point. This time, the Rebels got on the board first winning at No. 1 and 3 doubles to take the 1-0 lead. Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen downed Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer (UF) 8-3 on court one, and then William Kallberg and Johan Backstrom defeated Michael Alford and Andrew Butts 8-4 at No. 3 to clinch the point.
"We played really well at No. 1 doubles, and we played the best match of the year at No. 3 doubles with William and Johan. We did a great job of winning a lot of key points there and William did a great job, because he had to work hard to hold his serve a couple of times."
In a rematch of their regular season meeting, Scholtz got revenge for his first SEC loss, defeating Bob Van Overbeek 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
Senior Marcel Thiemann, fighting a cold this weekend, returned to the singles lineup after sitting out the singles against Arkansas, and beat Slilam 7-5, 6-3 to put Ole Miss within one.
Florida's Tripper Carleton defeated junior Jonas Lutjen 7-6(1), 6-3 to get the Gators on the board before Kallberg closed them out.
Kentucky, who won the regular season going undefeated, beat the Rebels 5-2 in the regular season meeting in Lexington.
"The guys are pumped and ready to go. We're looking forward to another great match tomorrow," Chadwick said.
The semifinal match will feature live scoring, which can be accessed by going to www.OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar.
Also follow the action on twitter at @SECTennis and use the hashtag #SECMT12.
#5 Ole Miss 4 #4 Florida 1
Doubles 1. Scholtz/Lutjen (OM) def. Slilam/Federhofer (UF) 8-3 2. Thiemann/Thiemann vs. Van Overbeek/Newman (UF) 3-6, sus. 3. Kallberg/Backstrom (OM) def. Alford/Butts (UF) 8-4 Order of Finish: 1, 3 Singles 1. Nik Scholtz (OM) def. Bob Van Overbeek (UF) 6-4, 6-2 2. Marcel Thiemann (OM) def. Nassim Slilam (UF) 7-5, 6-3 3. Tripper Carleton (UF) def. Jonas Lutjen (OM) 7-6(1), 6-3 4. William Kallberg (OM) def. Spencer Newman (UF) 7-5, 7-5 5. Chris Thiemann (OM) vs. Florent Diep (UF) 6-4, 4-5, sus. 6. Johan Backstrom (OM) vs. Michael Alford (UF) 4-6, 5-4, sus. Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3, 4
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