OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 19 nationally ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis team earned their first win of the young season, downing No. 27 Illinois 4-0 here Monday morning at the Gillom Sports Center in the consolation match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Rebels (1-2) first match against Yale lasted well over four hours, but this time, the Rebels took the doubles point and the first three singles matches to win in less than three.
“We are really proud of the girls for bouncing back after two really tough losses, one on the road at William & Mary and Sunday against Yale,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “Those were both heartbreakers that could have gone either way, and neither one went our way. It’s tough to bounce back when you finish at 7:30 the night before and have to come back at 8 a.m., so I am very proud of the girls. Illinois is a very good team, just like the other two teams, and in order for us to win, we had to play our best.”
Illinois won at No. 3 doubles 8-5 and then Erin Stephens and Santa Shumilina beat Bre Smutko and Audrey O’Connor 8-5 on court two. With the point up for grabs, Caroline Rohde-Moe and Marija Milutinovic finished off the No. 11 ranked team in the nation, Rachael White and Michelle Kopinski, 8-6 at No. 1 to clinch the point.
Two of the first three matches went three sets on Sunday against Yale, but not against Illinois. The Rebels claimed the first set on all three courts. Freshman Mai El Kamash dominated the first set against Illinois junior Allison Falkin, and then rallied from a break down to win the match 6-0, 7-6(1) and give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
Caroline Rohde-Moe was too much for Illinois sophomore Melissa Kopinski, cruising 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to put Ole Miss ahead 3-0. Rohde-Moe improved to 17-6 overall and 3-0 at No. 1 singles.
The match ended when sophomore Julia Jones finished off Rachael White 7-5, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
The Rebels continue a seven-match home stretch with Oklahoma State and Washington Feb. 15/17. Both matches will be played outdoors at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, weather permitting.
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