OXFORD, Miss. -- Coming off a weekend sweep of Arkansas and LSU, the Ole Miss women’s tennis team moved up to No. 26 in this week’s ITA Rankings, as they get set to face arch-rival Mississippi State Sunday in Starkville. The two teams will square off at 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
The Rebels (10-5, 4-4) have won three in a row in the SEC and four of their last five matches overall, but head coach Mark Beyers expects to get the Lady Bulldogs best on Sunday.
“This is probably the best team that they’ve had since 2005, so it’s going to be a tough match,” Beyers said. They’ve had some close losses. They beat Tennessee. They are hungry for another SEC win, so it will be a tough assignment.”
A big part of the Rebels latest streak of solid play, is every position producing. Junior Julia Jones earned her 20th victory of the year in the win over LSU. She is 8-4 at No. 3 singles, while her teammate, Mai El Kamash owns a 10-3 record at No. 4, including a six-match win streak. Erin Stephens has picked up her game as of late, winning five in a row, and Iris Verboven remains undefeated (7-0) at No. 6 singles.
The Lady Bulldogs own a 9-9 overall record, 1-7 in the SEC, but as Coach Beyers mentioned, they have several close losses. MSU is led by 66th-ranked Georgiana Patrasc, who owns a 12-3 dual match record, 7-3 at No. 1 singles.
The Rebels have dominated their rivals, coming in with a 24-match win streak against Mississippi State. Even more impressive, since Beyers has been the head coach, the Rebels have only lost eight points total in 12 matches versus the Lady Bulldogs.
“Whatever happened in prior years doesn’t really matter for this match. We just have to beat them this Sunday, and as I said, it’s going to be a tough assignment. I don’t really focus on streaks. We are focused on beating them and trying to get a winning record in the SEC and keep improving.”
Following Sunday’s match, the Rebels will return home for three matches as part of the Regions Bank Grove Bowl Weekend festivities. The Rebels will host South Carolina Friday, April 4 at 3 p.m.
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