CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – In their first ITA National Team Indoor Final 16 appearance in more than a decade, the No. 23 ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis team had everyone talking as they took the top seed, No. 3 ranked Duke, down to the wire before falling in a four hour 4-3 match here Friday at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.
The Rebels will face No. 14 ranked Clemson Saturday at 9 a.m., while Duke advances to the quarterfinals to play Michigan.
Duke (6-0) came in as the obvious favorite, but the Rebels (4-2) gave the Blue Devils all they wanted for four hours.
For the third time in four matches, the decision came down to No. 6 singles and sophomore Vivian Vlaar. Vlaar was the queen of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, rallying to clinch the team’s spot in Charlottesville, and she almost did it again. Down a set (6-3) and with the overall match squared at 3, Vlaar won a second set tiebreaker 7-6(2) against Duke’s Annie Mulholland. Mulholland broke to start the final set, but Vlaar was able to break back for 3-3, before Mulholland won the final three games to clinch the win.
“We played well against a great team, and had opportunities to win,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “I think we definitely turned some heads today, we just came up a little short. Duke is ranked No. 3 in the nation for a reason, but it was a great team effort. We can be proud of that. If we can get a little more consistent in the lineup, we’ll be in great position for the rest of the year. We look forward to playing another great team tomorrow.”
For the first time this year, the Rebels fell behind early by losing the doubles point. Duke won 8-1 at No. 2 doubles and 8-2 at No. 3 to take a 1-0 lead. The Rebels led the No. 1 match 7-4 when the point was clinched.
In singles, Duke won three first sets, as did the Rebels. In one of those matches where the Blue Devils won the first set, Ester Goldfeld defeated Erin Stephens 6-2, 7-5 to make it 2-0. Stephens had a chance to win the second set up 5-2, but as Beyers said, “We got a little nervous there and Goldfield started playing better.”
Moments later, senior Abby Guthrie put the Rebels on the board with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 win over 66th-ranked Mary Clayton at No. 5 singles. Freshman Julia Jones played a solid match defeating Duke’s Rachel Kahan 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to even the match.
Duke regained the lead when Beatrice Capra, the No. 3 ranked player in the nation, handed 12th-ranked senior Kristi Boxx a 6-4, 6-1 loss at the top spot. Capra made it to the third round of the U.S. Open this past year and was the No. 1 recruit coming in this year.
Sophomore Caroline Rohde-Moe , ranked No. 54, remained undefeated at No. 2 singles and squared the match with a 6-3, 6-4 win against 38th-ranked Hanna Mar, setting up the final outcome on court six.
Sixth-ranked TCU allowed 61 points in a 61-58 loss to then-No. 3 Baylor on Oct. 11, the Horned Frogs' lone blemish in an 11-1 season. Despite that outing, TCU ranks second in tackles for loss (8.4/game), second in interceptions (1.92/game),... read more
When No. 9 Ole Miss faces No. 6 TCU in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Wednesday, the Rebels will be without each of their top two receivers in sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (leg, ankle) and senior wide receiver Vince... read more
From a 2-10 season, when many players from this year's senior class were freshmen, to perhaps the program's seventh 10-win season in program history, Ole Miss has climbed the ladder to national relevance, and a matchup with No. 6 TCU... read more
Largest CHRISTMAS party I have attended. Ole Miss entire travel party @CFAPeachBowl. Love every minute of it! FAMILY pic.twitter.com/4BZmGiEauD-- Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) December 26, 2014 The Ole Miss football team arrived in Atlanta on Christmas Day, holding their first team... read more
Favorite Plays of the Year Senquez Golson's Game-Saving Interception vs. Alabama On one of the biggest weekends in Ole Miss football history, Senquez Golson turned in one of the biggest plays in Ole Miss football history, as he picked off... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Dec. 15-21, 2014 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss overcame a 17-point deficit to knock off Coastal Carolina 71-68 Thursday night. - Senior LaDarius White scored a career-high 26 points including a career-best 6 3-pointers... read more
The students were off for the first week of winter break, but Observations from the Best Seat in the House presses on, as the football team moves closer to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the men's and women's basketball teams... read more
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
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 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
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
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