Rebels Peaking In Time For NCAAs

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Nik Scholtz
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Nik Scholtz
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

May 8, 2014

TWITTER: @OleMissMTennis
FACEBOOK: OleMissMTennis

Live Scoring | NCAA Notes (PDF)

OXFORD, Miss. – Perhaps it’s fitting that the place where the Ole Miss men’s tennis team’s rise to elite status in college tennis began is where the Rebels head this weekend for the first round of the NCAA Championships.  Making their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance in head coach Billy Chadwick’s final season at the helm, the Rebels will face Northwestern in the first round Saturday in South Bend, Indiana.

The two teams will square off at 9 a.m. CT at the Eck Tennis Center on the campus of Notre Dame.  Notre Dame will play Wisconsin-Green Bay in the other first round match with the winners to meet Sunday at 12 p.m. CT.  The winner of both matches advances to the Sweet Sixteen in Athens, Ga.  

“We are looking forward to traveling up to South Bend for the NCAA Championships,” Chadwick said.  “We have been playing our best tennis of the season, the last two weeks, and we’ve shown what we are capable of when we are healthy. I put Northwestern and Notre Dame up there with the good SEC teams.  We are preparing like we are going to play Tennessee or Auburn on the road, because that’s the caliber of team we’re up against this weekend.”

For the past 20 years, the postseason was never a doubt for the Rebels.  It was usually a question of which teams were coming to Oxford or where the Rebels might go.  This year, the Rebels got off to a slow start putting the streak in jeopardy, but some big wins down the stretch have allowed the team an opportunity to send Coach Chadwick out with a bang in his final season.

“We are definitely peaking at the right time,” said SEC Player of the Year Nik Scholtz.  “We started off so slow, but right now I feel like everybody is starting to play better.   Usually we are wondering who we are going to be hosting, but this year we almost didn’t even make it.   We had to beat Texas A&M here and Tennessee in the SEC Tournament.  That was clutch.”

Scholtz led the Rebels all season with a 15-1 record at No. 1 singles on his way to becoming the fourth Rebel to earn SEC Player of the Year honors and the first to be named Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in his career.

The Rebels are also led by lone senior Johan Backstrom, who owns a 14-5 dual match record in singles and 9-3 in doubles with Joe Rogers.

“Nik provided great leadership not only with his win-loss record, but his attitude in talking about doing everything we can to make the best of the season,” Chadwick said. “Also, Backstrom has done a great job of turning it up whenever we needed it.”

Northwestern comes into the NCAA Championships with a 21-10 overall record. They finished 7-4 in the Big Ten.  The Wildcats had their nine-match win streak snapped by Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championship.  Northwestern is led by 49th-ranked Raleigh Smith, who owns a 13-10 record at No. 1 singles.  The first team All-Big Ten selection also teams up with Mihir Kumar for a 10-9 record at No. 1 doubles and a ranking of No. 39.

Last year, 14 of the 16 host sites advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and Chadwick hopes the Rebels can be one of the upsets this year.

“In 1995 we had to travel to Notre Dame to begin NCAAs, and we ended up playing for the national championship.  That NCAAs put us on the map and since then, we haven’t looked back. It’s fitting that this year we are headed back to South Bend for NCAAs.  Who knows what will happen, but there is definitely some good karma up there.”

“Hosting or not hosting, we are happy to be in it, it’s a great opportunity,” Scholtz added.  “Obviously everyone in the top 16 is good, but we like our draw. All the teams are really good, but we definitely feel like we have a chance if we play like we are capable.”

To follow the Rebels during the NCAA Championships, go to OleMissSports.com and click on the live scoring link in the calendar and also follow men’s tennis on Twitter (@OleMissMTennis), for updates.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Ole Miss, MSU Renew Rivalry on Hardwood

      Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference.  Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 20-26, 2015)

      Monday, January 26, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 25

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Athletics

      Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more

    • Prewitt Caps Impressive Week at Senior Bowl

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Football

      Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more

    • VIDEO: Home is Ole Miss

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football: Home is Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Baseball Omaha Challenge

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Baseball

      The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Challenge 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Rivalry Game with NCAA Tournament Implications

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more

    • Prewitt, Golson Impress at Senior Bowl Practices

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Football

       Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 13-19, 2015)

      Monday, January 19, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 18

      Sunday, January 18, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more

    • Key Stretch Starts with Tough Test in LSU

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more

    • Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 Rankings

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 6-12, 2015)

      Monday, January 12, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 11

      Sunday, January 11, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more

    • Rebels to Open SEC Play ' in Grand Fashion'

      Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more