COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Ole Miss women's tennis team lost the doubles point, but battled in singles, before South Carolina finished off a 4-2 win here Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament at the Green Tennis Center. With the loss, the Rebels fell to 13-9 and will now await the NCAA selections.
South Carolina jumped on the Rebels early in doubles and never let up, taking an 8-2 win at No. 3 and an 8-1 win at No. 2.
The Gamecocks carried the momentum into singles, winning four first sets, while the Rebels won two. Ole Miss fell behind 2-0 when senior Caroline Rohde-Moe dropped her match to 84th-ranked Elixane Lechemia 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
Erin Stephens put the Rebels on the board with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Caroline Dailey at No. 5 singles. Stephens has now won 10 straight.
Moments later, South Carolina went up 3-1 when Meghan Blevins finished off Rebel freshman Zalina Khairudinova 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 singles.
Julia Jones kept the Rebels chances alive winning a huge second set tiebreaker for a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Katarina Popova on court two.
With Iris Verboven up 1-0 in the third set at No. 6 singles, the Gamecocks made sure that would not be necessary, as Brigit Folland defeated Mai El Kamash 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 4 to close out the Rebels 4-2.
“Just like the regular season match, this was a very close match,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “Unfortunately, just like the first match, we came up just short. South Carolina was the better team in doubles, they were more aggressive and executed better than we did. In singles, we definitely matched their intensity level and made it a great college tennis match. The level of tennis was extremely high out there.”
Ole Miss will now wait to find out where they will be headed for the NCAA Championships, when the selections are announced Tuesday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. CT.
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