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
    • Wallace Looks to Make More History

      Thursday, December 18, 2014 - Football

      Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games.  Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular... read more

    • Rebels Ink Nation's Top JUCO Quarterback

      Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - Football

      Official welcome to Chad Kelly, the No. 1 JUCO QB in the country from national champion East Mississippi CC. #HottyToddy-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 17, 2014 Just Sent My LOI In To The University Of Mississippi!!! Feel's Good To... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Dec. 8-14, 2014)

      Monday, December 15, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 8-14, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team rebounded with a 88-48 win over South Alabama on Sunday. The win was the first after back-to-back losses for the Rebels for the first time... read more

    • Recapping Monday's Media Opportunities

      Monday, December 15, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss Details Stadium Expansion Plans Ole Miss unveiled the master plan for Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which includes two phases of renovation and expansion. Scheduled for completion by the start of the 2016 season, the expansion will bring the seating capacity... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Dec. 14

      Sunday, December 14, 2014 - Athletics

      With final exam week on the Ole Miss campus, there was not much game action, but there's still plenty to talk about, as Ole Miss finalized salary increases for head football coach Hugh Freeze and his staff, and the football... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Volleyball Season Highlight

      Friday, December 12, 2014 - Volleyball

      read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football 2014 Season Highlight

      Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss Football 2014 Season Highlight from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Dec. 1-7, 2014)

      Monday, December 8, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewDec. 1-7, 2014Football- No. 9 Ole Miss accepted an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they will face No. 6 TCU on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dime.- Ole Miss is making... read more

    • Testing One, Two, Three

      Monday, December 8, 2014 - Academics

      While the Rebels have enjoyed a solid fall on the fields and courts and look forward to the upcoming Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and more basketball games, all student-athletes are busy this week proving they are champions in the classroom... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Dec. 7

      Sunday, December 7, 2014 - Athletics

      In the early part of the week, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract. In the late part of the week, the Rebels learned their postseason bowl destination. Here are... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 13

      Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - Men's Basketball

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 13 - MSU (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Rebels Finding a Rhythm after Trip to Florida

      Tuesday, December 2, 2014 -

      Ole Miss continued its strong bounce-back from a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern, improving to 5-1 on the season and knocking off two previously unbeaten opponents in No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati to capture the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic. "We... read more

    • Bjork, Freeze Reach Agreement on New Contract

      Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - Football

      Athletics Director Ross Bjork and head football coach Hugh Freeze reached an agreement on a new contract, they both announced on Twitter early Tuesday morning. Terms will be released as they are finalized and are expected in the coming days.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (No. 24-30, 2014)

      Monday, December 1, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Nov. 24-30, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss won the annual "Egg Bowl" rivalry 31-17 over No. 4 Mississippi State in front of another sold-out crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday afternoon.- The Rebels finish the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 30

      Sunday, November 30, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss collected a lot of hardware over the weekend, as the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl trophy and the men's and women's basketball returned home with regular-season tournament championship. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week... read more