AUBURN, Ala. - In what was dubbed as an "Egg Bowl" battle, Ole Miss men's tennis sophomore Nik Scholtz took out Mississippi State freshman Romain Bogaerts 7-5, 6-4 Monday morning at the Yarbrough Tennis Center to capture the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Singles Championship and earn a trip to New York for the National Indoor in November.
Scholtz joins teammate, senior Jonas Lutjen, in the 32-player field for the USTA/ITA National Indoor, which will take place Nov. 8-11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Lutjen secured his spot by winning the consolation draw at the ITA All-American Championships earlier this month.
In the final, Scholtz, the top seed in the tournament, gained the early lead by breaking Bogaerts to start the match for a 2-0 lead. Bogaerts would break back, but at 5-5, Scholtz broke again and held to win the first set 7-5. Much like the first, Scholtz gained the early break in the second, but this time held it to win 6-4.
Bogaerts had defeated three of the top 10 seeds coming into the final, so Scholtz, who improved to 7-1 this fall, expected a tough match.
"I didn't start off the match too well, but I was able to raise my level and play better as the match progressed," Scholtz said. "I am really happy to get the win. Being the regional champion and going to national indoors was one of my main goals this semester."
"Nik played his best match of the tournament in the final," associate head coach Toby Hansson said. "He made an adjustment and played a little more attacking in the second set. He had control of the match from the beginning of the second set on. It's always fun to win a tournament and finish strong. "
The Rebels had another great showing at the USTA/ITA Southern Regional, with two players reaching the semifinals, including sophomore William Kallberg, who Scholtz beat in a tight match in the semis. Junior Johan Backstrom won the consolation draw late Sunday afternoon and was there for the final to support his teammate.
Scholtz became the second Rebel to win the USTA/ITA Southern Regional title in three years. His fellow countryman, Tucker Vorster, won it in 2010, while Lutjen reached the finals last year.
The USTA/ITA Regional Championships feature some of the top men's players from across the country from 12 different regions in Division I. The winners of singles and doubles advance to the USTA/ITA National Indoor, which is the second major of the calendar year for collegiate tennis.
The Southern Regional consisted of teams from the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi including SEC schools Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State.
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