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
    • Grove Bowl to be Featured on SEC Network Platofrms

      Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Football

      The SEC Network will air every SEC spring football game with multiple viewing opportunities on both television and the network's digital platforms. All 12 spring football games will be carried live and in full on SEC Network + with additional... read more

    • Freeze, Players Talk Quarterback Competition

      Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Football

      Through the first seven spring practices, or three weeks since the start of spring practice on March 3, there does not appear to be any separation between sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade and junior college transfer Chad Kelly.  Whether... read more

    • VIDEO: 2015 Rebel Choice Awards

      Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Athletics

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 17-23, 2015)

      Monday, March 23, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review March 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. -... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 22

      Sunday, March 22, 2015 - Athletics

      The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its... read more

    • Trent, Bramlett Pitch Rebels Past No. 1 Florida

      Sunday, March 22, 2015 - Baseball

      Junior left-hander Christian Trent and sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett picked up quality starts on the mound, and the offensive provided some timely hits, which proved to be a winning formula as Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over No. 1... read more

    • VIDEO: Insell Previews WNIT Matchup with GT

      Saturday, March 21, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      read more

    • Journey Ends for Five Seniors

      Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A four-year starter at point guard, one of the most accomplished players in program history, senior Jarvis Summers saw his Ole Miss career come to an end, as did four of his fellow seniors in LaDarius White,... read more

    • Kennedy, Mack Talk Familiarity, Preparations

      Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      From his five years at Cincinnati, three as an assistant coach and one each as associate head coach and interim head coach, head coach Andy Kennedy knows and has experienced the Xavier program first hand, having coached against the Musketeers... read more

    • Whirlwind Week Continues for the Rebels

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss has gone through a two-day turn twice, as well as a one-day turn when the Rebels played No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati in back-to-back days at the Emerald Coast Classic, but they haven't gone through a turn quite... read more

    • PHOTOS: Ole Miss Basketball Defeats BYU

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Photo Gallery "YOU BELONG!" - AK @OleMissMBB pic.twitter.com/N0E09nTXHy-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 18, 2015 REBS WIN!! REBS WIN!!! HELL YEAH DAMN RIGHT!!! @OleMissMBB #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ak0Vwpq2He-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 18, 2015... read more

    • Ole Miss a Giant Killer against Xavier?

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Giant Killers come in many different shapes and forms in the NCAA Tournament. They are not just your teams from smaller and mid-major conferences, but also your lower-seeded power-conference teams. As defined by ESPN's Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner, Giants Killers... read more

    • What They're Saying: Rebels Take Down BYU

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      March Madness reigned in Dayton, as 11th-seeded Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. The nation watched, and they reacted to... read more

    • PHOTOS: Ole Miss Basketball in Dayton

      Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Photo Gallery Your NCAA Tournament Rebels! .@OleMissMBB pic.twitter.com/KkR8n8aF4Y-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 17, 2015... read more

    • Rebels Apply Lessons Learned in BYU Prep

      Monday, March 16, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Talking to members of the local media Sunday before leaving for Dayton on Monday, head coach Andy Kennedy and senior guard Jarvis Summers spoke of a familiarity with BYU, their First Four opponent, from watching the Cougars' 73-60 win at... read more