Final Serve on the 2017 Season
June 14, 2017

OXFORD, Miss. -- There were exciting wins, history made and heartbreaking losses, as the Rebels earned their ninth straight NCAA appearance in 2017.

Below are some of the highlights from this past season.

NCAA streak continues...
With just one senior, Ole Miss (15-14) earned its 20th overall and ninth consecutive NCAA appearance. For the second straight year, the Rebels traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the first and second rounds where they defeated William & Mary 4-1 before losing a hard-fought match to the No. 2 overall seed, North Carolina.

Hartono, Bortles conclude season in Athens...
The Rebels were represented in the NCAA Individual Championships with junior Arianne Hartono competing in singles and teaming up with freshman Alexa Bortles to earn a bid in doubles. It marked the second straight year for Hartono to compete in singles and doubles. It marked the 11th year in a row for the Rebels to have a representative in the NCAA Individual Championships.

National/regional rankings...
Several Rebels earned national and regional rankings from the ITA. Junior Arianne Hartono finished the year ranked No. 32 in the nation in singles and No. 25 in doubles with freshman Alexa Bortles. Hartono and Bortles went from unranked to No. 25 and qualified for the NCAA Championships. Hartono also earned a final doubles ranking of No. 35 with freshman Anna Vrbenska. Junior Natalie Suk ended the season ranked No. 59 in singles. Senior Zalina Khairudinova (16th) and Vrbenska (20th) joined Hartono (5th) and Suk (8th) in the final regional rankings. 

Hartono earns All-SEC honors...
There were 11 teams, 11 players and 12 doubles teams from the Southeastern Conference in the final Oracle/ITA Top 25 Rankings, making the SEC postseason awards a list of the best in college tennis. Junior Arianne Hartono is among the elite, earning All-SEC first team honors. This marked the third year in a row for Hartono to be recognized by the SEC. Last year, she was named to the second team and in 2015 she made the All-Freshman Team. 

History in Charlottesville...
Ole Miss made history this year, becoming the first No. 4 seed in women's ITA Kick-Off history to advance to the National Team Indoor Championships, as they defeated LSU 4-2 in the championship match at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the first round, the Rebels knocked out the host, Virginia, 4-3.

Off the court success...
The Rebels have always been just as successful off the courts, and this year was no different. The team earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award with a perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate score. It marked the second consecutive year and the fifth overall time the Rebels have earned the NCAA recognition. The Rebels posted a 3.34 cumulative grade point average and two student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA in both the fall and spring semesters, including All-SEC honoree Arianne Hartono. More academic honors are forthcoming with the announcements of the SEC Honor Roll and the ITA Academic Awards later this summer.

Head coach Mark Beyers' thoughts on 2017...
As a coach you always feel like we could have played better in certain matches. During the season there were probably two or three where I felt we could have and probably should have won, but making the round of 16 at the National Indoor Championships and advancing to the second round of the NCAA's is a pretty solid year. During the year we picked up two top 25 wins and never lost to a team ranked outside the top 25. We are definitely excited about the future, returning five of our top six players."

Looking ahead to 2018...
As Coach Beyers noted, the Rebels will return five of their top six players from this year in 2018 including Hartono and Suk at the top of the lineup. The Rebels will add Czech Republic junior national champion Sabina Machalova in August.

For more information on Ole Miss Women's Tennis, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWTennis, on Facebook at OleMissWTennis and on Instagram at OleMissWTennis.  Also follow Coach Beyers on Twitter, @MarkBeyers.

One of the Rebels' top 25 wins chronicled in The Season: Taming the Tigers


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