OXFORD, Miss. -- In their first outdoor match of the season, the Ole Miss women’s tennis team shut out Lipscomb University 7-0 here Friday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center to improve to 4-1 on the season. The Rebels will host Memphis Sunday at Noon.
Fans coming to Sunday’s match will enjoy free pizza between doubles and singles.
“The most important thing is to get a win obviously,” said head coach Mark Beyers, who is now one win away from his 200th career victory. “When you make the transition from indoors to outdoors, it’s not that easy. We did a good job of that. Not only did we win all the matches, but we gained some confidence playing outside. Hopefully it will help us on Sunday, because the level of the opponent will go up.”
The day began with the Rebels taking the doubles point for the fourth time this year. In a return to regular scoring, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven took care of business at No. 1 8-1, and then Julia Jones and Zalina Khairudinova finished off the point 8-2 at No. 3 to remain undefeated at 7-0.
“They’re playing well,” Beyers said. “You want to be in a situation where you have three doubles teams that give you a chance in any match to win two of them. We feel like we have three good doubles teams and six singles players at 1-6 that give us an opportunity to win against the best teams in the nation.”
The Rebels picked up three quick wins in singles to post their third consecutive shutout on the year. Iris Verboven stepped in at No. 6 singles, and downed Sierra Troxel 6-2, 6-0. Caroline Rohde-Moe dominated Melissa Kromer 6-1, 6-0 on court two and then Marija Milutinovic clinched it with a 6-2, 6-1 win against Lorena Djuknic at No. 5 singles.
For the first time in her young career, Khairudinova played No. 1 singles, and she defeated Lipscomb’s Deahna Welcher 6-0, 6-2.
“She did a good job. It’s great to have some different options at the top of the lineup,” Beyers said. “I wanted to give her an opportunity to play at the top of the lineup, because she’s had some great practices. It’s nice to have three players [Zalina, Caroline and Julia] who I feel all have the ability to play No. 1 singles.”
Jones and Mai El Kamash finished out the scoring with straight sets wins at three and four.
Memphis, who played at Vanderbilt Friday, earned their first ever NCAA Tournament win in 2013 and come in ranked No. 32. They are led by 99th-ranked Stefanie Mikesz, who owns a 13-5 overall record, 5-3 at No. 1 singles. The Rebels lead the series 22-3 and posted a 7-0 shutout in the last meeting in 2009.
“They have a great team, so we are going to have to play our best to get a win,” Beyers said. “I am excited to see how they respond against better competition. We’ve had some amazing practices, so I am looking forward to seeing when that level of opponent goes up, if the response we show is what we’ve seen in practice against each other.”
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