OXFORD, Miss. – After a disappointing end to the team season, Ole Miss men’s tennis All-Americans Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen immediately turned their focus to trying to win an individual NCAA Championship. That quest begins Wednesday at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill.
“It was a good season overall. We’ll likely finish top 10 in the nation, and we got the SEC West title, but our season ended short of where we wanted it to in the NCAA Championships,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “I feel like it served as motivation for us, especially for Nik and Jonas. They’ve been working hard, and we’re looking forward to a great tournament this week.”
Play begins Wednesday with first round singles. Scholtz will face Clifford Marsland (Tulsa) at 11:30 a.m. Lutjen takes on Ebsen Hess-Olesen of North Carolina at 8 a.m. In doubles, the duo will meet the Indiana team of Isade Juneau and Sam Monette in the first round Thursday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Lutjen, who comes into the NCAAs ranked No. 20 in the nation singles and No. 3 in doubles. “We’ve been practicing well. It’s a little bit of an advantage to come in fresh. I definitely think we have an advantage if we can get through the first round. We’re looking forward to it and trying to have fun.”
“It’s like yin and yang,” said Scholtz on the team season ending sooner than expected. “With everything bad there is something good, and the other way around. We were able to rest up a little bit and practice, but it’s still disappointing. We both would have given this up for the team to be there instead, but it didn’t work out. We’re just going to make the most of what we can still accomplish.”
Scholtz is seeded 9-16 in singles and No. 3 in doubles with Lutjen. The South African reached the Elite Eight in singles last year in his first appearance as a freshman. Scholtz made it four straight years for the Rebels to have a player reach at least the quarterfinals.
“I am not really going to focus too much on past results, I am just going to pretend like this is my first NCAAs,” Scholtz said. “Obviously I have experience, but I don’t want to think too much about the past. I am just going to play to the best of my abilities, and I know if I play well, I can make a run. There are a lot of good of players in the field, and we are looking forward to it.”
On his and Lutjen’s chances in the doubles, he said “We definitely want to do better than last year, we want to win at least a couple of matches and see what happens after that. If we play well, we can make a big run. We have high hopes.”
Both Scholtz and Lutjen have been ranked inside the top 20 in singles and top 10 in doubles all season. Associate head coach Toby Hansson is looking forward to watching the All-SEC first team honorees this week.
“Both Nik and Jonas have been preparing well this past week, and they’re excited about playing,” he said. “I feel like we have two very good players who can both go far in the tournament in singles and doubles. If they can get past the first round and get themselves into the tournament, they’re both very dangerous.”
Fans can follow all the singles and doubles action through live scoring and video by going to OleMissSports.com and clicking on the tournament central link in the calendar.
The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center. With a season of experience... read more
The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more
We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more
The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more
Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more
The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more
"Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more
Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more
The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more
Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more