OXFORD, Miss. -- The No. 25 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team dominated at the top two spots in doubles and then came out firing in singles on their way to a 5-2 win against No. 8 Tennessee here Friday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center/Galtney Courts.
With the win, the Rebels improved to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in the SEC as they get set to welcome No. 7 Georgia to the tennis center Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tennessee came into the match having won the doubles point in 13 of their 14 matches. They boast two top-10 ranked teams, and Ole Miss beat both of them to win the point and gain the upper hand.
The Lady Vols picked up an 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles, but the Rebel senior tandem of Kristi Boxx and Abby Guthrie, ranked No. 7, dominated ninth-ranked Natalie Pluskota and Caitlyn Williams 8-2 at the top spot. They improved to 11-1 at No. 1 doubles.
Senior Gabby Rangel and freshman Erin Stephens secured the point with an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles, knocking off the 10th-ranked team of Brynn Boren and Sarah Toti.
With the doubles point in hand, the Rebels jumped on Tennessee early in singles, winning five first sets.
“This was a big win against a really good team. We got started right away in the doubles. At one, we really dominated and never gave them a chance to get in the match. At two, we were up and it stayed close. We did a good job of battling and not giving up the break, winning some close points. Tennessee relies on the doubles point so much, so that was big,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “Then winning five first sets in singles was a great way to carry the momentum. We ended up getting three fairly easy singles wins to make it 4-0 and end up winning 5-2.”
Freshman Julia Jones continues to shine at No. 4, downing Toti 6-2, 6-0 to make it 2-0 Rebels. Jones is now 10-2 in dual matches. Guthrie increased the lead to 3-0 defeating Joanna Henderson 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
With sophomore Vivian Vlaar unable to play in the match, freshman Iris Verboven stepped in at No. 6 singles and delivered the knockout punch. She beat Lady Vol Jesse Grace 6-3, 6-1 to clinch the victory in her first SEC match in singles.
“It’s great to have that depth that when you are down a player, you can put the next player in and they step up and get a big win in a big situation,” Beyers said. “I am proud of her, because she hasn’t gotten to play that often and to be able to step up in this situation is awesome for her.”
In a battle of two top 30 players, Boxx, ranked No. 22, added the fifth point holding off 28th-ranked Pluskota 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Boxx improved to 18-7 overall and 8-4 at the top spot.
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