OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss men’s tennis team has hosted many big matches at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, and Saturday’s 1 p.m. tilt with arch-rival Mississippi State is another huge one, with the SEC West Championship on the line for the No. 14 nationally ranked Rebels. It’s also Senior Day, and the Rebels will honor seniors Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann.
Ole Miss comes into the match at 11-6 overall, 7-3 in the SEC. Mississippi State, ranked No. 9 in the country, enters the match at 17-5 overall and 8-2 in the SEC. A win and the Rebels clinch a share of the SEC West title and a first round bye in the upcoming SEC Tournament.
“There is a lot on the line. You have two very good teams going head-to-head an instate rivalry. You can’t ask for a bigger or better match,” head coach Billy Chadwick said.
“We’re excited and looking forward to the match. We know that State is a very good team, but so are we. We are ready for Saturday,” said Marcel, who owns a 9-1 SEC record. “When we played them in the Mississippi Cup at River Hills, they had a big crowd. We need a big crowd because it makes a big difference.”
Prior to last year’s SEC regular season match, the Rebels had won 26 straight against the Bulldogs. Earlier this year when the two teams met in the annual River Hills Mississippi Cup, it was a very close match.
“If we’re going to beat these guys we have to be prepared for them. We have to make sure that we take advantage of the home court. To do that, we’re going to have to have great crowd support,” Chadwick said. “All of the matches have been very close, and this one will probably come down to one or two hits of the ball. We hope playing here at home with the crowd, that it will be enough to sway it our way.”
The twins have provided a lot of memorable moments for the Rebels during the last three and a half years. They’ve helped lead the Rebels to an SEC Championship, two SEC West titles and three straight NCAA appearances, including the Elite Eight. Marcel is a two-time All-American and a two-time NCAA Singles Quarterfinalist. Both he and his brother are two-time ITA Scholar-Athletes, while Marcel was a finalist for the SEC Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Postgraduate Scholarship.
“I am trying not to think about it too much, because then it’s sad. I just want to enjoy the time I have left and continue to give back to the University what they have given to me,” said Marcel, reflecting on his career.
Admission to Saturday’s match is free, and the first 200 fans will receive a collector’s poster of Chris Thiemann. With no concessions available, fans are permitted to bring their own food and beverage.
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