By Mary Ashton Nall Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations
In 2011, Ole Miss women’s tennis highlighted its signing class with two blue-chip recruits out of Florida. Now in their junior years, Julia Jones and Erin Stephens are contributing to the program with wins on the court and with leadership roles on the team.
Stephens, a native of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., was the first to commit to play for the Rebels in her senior year of high school. Jones committed later in the year as a junior, having earned enough college credits to attend Ole Miss one year early. Being familiar with each other from junior tennis, the duo decided to room together freshman year and has been roommates all three years in Oxford.
“With them coming in a couple of years ago, they’ve really made their mark on Ole Miss tennis,” said head coach Mark Beyers. “They came in together and from day one were a big part of the team.”
In Stephens’ freshman year at Ole Miss, she made the All-SEC Freshman team and was named SEC Player of the week twice. In her sophomore year, she posted winning records in singles and doubles to help lead the Rebels to their fifth straight and 16th overall NCAA appearance. She also received All-SEC honors.
Jones was also named to the All-SEC Freshman team in 2011. She ended last year with a No. 12 ranking in the ITA Southern Region and received All-SEC honors. This fall, she won the singles title at the Country Club of Little Rock Invitational and owns a 9-3 record.
“I’ve had the best fall season since I’ve been here this year. I practiced a lot over the summer so I’d be ready to go right into the season,” said Jones. “I just hope to keep it going. I want to get a high ranking in the spring and hopefully earn All-SEC and maybe All-American honors.”
Stephens and Jones’ success in the classroom matches their wins on the court. Both student-athletes have been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll twice, as well as the University Honor Roll every semester. Jones has also been named an ITA Scholar Athlete both years, an honor given to tennis players who achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.
“They are just such great kids,” said Beyers. “Beyond the wins they bring to the team, they are great students, great kids and just great to have around in terms of inspiration and work ethic.”
Stephens and Jones say they welcome the leadership responsibility that comes with being upperclassmen.
“It’s definitely a big responsibility to set a good example for the team,” said Jones. “We have to check up on the younger girls and make sure they are doing ok.”
Stephens said that while it’s important to lead by example, her teammates are self-driven and committed to winning as a team.
In the women’s team lounge area at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center there is a poster with a list of team goals for the 2013-14 campaign. Along with SEC and NCAA aspirations, the Rebels are determined to always practice with a purpose, hold teammates accountable and always be the loudest and most positive team at every match.
“I think it should be a really great season because last year we were a really young team and now it’s all the same players coming back,” said Stephens. “We have a lot more experience and talent going into the season.”
Ole Miss' historic win over Alabama last Saturday was not only popular with members of Rebel Nation, it was among the most-watched college football games of the year.The Rebels' thrilling 43-37 victory over the Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium was the... read more
By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThe road to the College Football Playoff includes many tests along the way. The Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, 1-0 SEC) just passed their first, proving that they are a legitimate contender after knocking... read more
Offense, defense and special teams. Ole Miss dominated all three aspects of the game as the 15th-ranked Rebels routed UT Martin 76-3 in the season opener. The 60,186 fans, mostly dressed in white, anticipated an exciting start to the 2015... read more
It's finally here...game week! It's been 242 days since the Ole Miss Rebels last took to the gridiron for a clash of the helmets. After a successful 2014 campaign in which Ole Miss knocked off a No. 1-ranked team... read more
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ATLANTA - On Saturday, fans can tune in to see the Rebels duo of Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and former Ole Miss basketball player Sean Tuohy compete in the Chick-fil-A... read more
Only 50 days until The Grove is full, the constant shouts of "Hotty Toddy" are in the air, and football kicks off 100 years in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium! Looking forward to this upcoming college football season, seven Rebels were named to... read more
As we near the 2015 college football season, national organizations have started to release watch lists for their respective awards. Through the first week of watch lists being released, multiple Rebels have been announced as players that fans need to... read more
Along with head coach Hugh Freeze, three Rebels will represent Ole Miss at the annual SEC Football Media Days next week. Junior Evan Engram, just named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for college football's most outstanding tight end,... read more
Five Ole Miss Rebels were chosen as preseason All-SEC selections by some of the people who work closest with the student-athletes, the football media relations directors. The 14 football media relations directors of the Southeastern Conference institutions voted in the... read more
The preseason accolades just don't stop for the Ole Miss football team. Everywhere you look, Rebels can be found on preseason All-America teams. Lindy's Sports recognized seven Rebels for preseason honors, including four All-Americans. Four Ole Miss Football Rebels were... read more
With the season just 74 days away, members of the 2015 Ole Miss football team continue to earn recognition on Preseason All-America lists. Athlon Sports, the latest media outlet to release its 2015 college football preseason All-America team, gave five... read more
Preseason All-America football teams continue to roll in, and Ole Miss has been well represented each time.Today, the Sporting News unveiled its preseason All-America first and second teams, which includes a total of four Rebels.OT Laremy Tunsil and DT Robert... read more
Individual preseason accolades continue to pile up for the Ole Miss football team as college football magazines look toward the 2015 season. Athlon Sports is the latest magazine to release its preseason all-conference teams, June 10; the magazine named nine... read more
The start of summer heat and vacations is also the start of another tradition - preseason college football magazines.One of the first to produce a magazine every year is Phil Steele, whose 2015 version includes about as many Ole Miss... read more