Rebels California Dreamin' For NCAAs

Junior Erin Stephens

May 7, 2014

TWITTER: @OleMissWTennis | @MarkBeyers
FACEBOOK: OleMissWTennis

Live Scoring | NCAA Notes (PDF)

OXFORD, Miss. – With final exams in the rearview mirror, the Ole Miss women’s tennis team boarded a plane Wednesday morning bound for Los Angeles, site of the team’s first and second round competition in the NCAA Championships.

The Rebels, making their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance, will face No. 26 ranked Texas Tech in the first round Friday at 12 p.m. CT at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the campus of UCLA.  The winner will meet the winner of UCLA/Sacramento State Saturday at 5 p.m. CT for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Athens, Ga.

“We are excited to have final exams behind us and focus on this weekend,” head coach Mark Beyers said.  “Texas Tech has a very good team, so it will be a close match.  They have many of the same players as last year’s team, and we saw a few of them in the fall at a tournament. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

Ole Miss finished the regular season with a 13-9 overall record.  Experience is on the Rebels side, as all but one of the players has played in at least one NCAA match, while several have been there twice.

This marks the fourth consecutive NCAA Team Championship appearance for senior Caroline Rohde-Moe, and the third for juniors Julia Jones, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven.  Sophomores Mai El Kamash and Marija Milutinovic played in last year’s match in Lubbock, Texas.  Rounding out the Rebel lineup is freshman Zalina Khairudinova, who has played in the top half of the lineup every match.

“The good thing is that while we only have one senior, most of these girls have played in the NCAAs before and know what to expect,” Beyers said.  “We have shown that we are capable of playing with the best teams in the nation. If we play like we did against Florida here and at Texas A&M, who are two of the best teams in the nation, then we have a chance to be successful.”

Jones, who earned All-SEC second team honors, leads the Rebels.  The St. Petersburg, Florida, native posted a 26-10 overall record, 15-6 in dual matches. She went 8-5 in the SEC in singles and 7-3 in doubles.  In her 26 wins, Jones has not dropped a set.

Follow all the weekend’s action through live scoring and on Twitter, @OleMissWTennis.

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