The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Rebels power past Vandy 4-1 in SECs

3150 days ago
Ole Miss Athletics
Photo: Ole Miss Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The No. 13 Ole Miss men's tennis team won the doubles point and then earned singles wins at two, three and four to power past No. 22 Vanderbilt, 4-1 Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. With the win, the Rebels advance to the semifinals to face No. 3 ranked and the top seed, Georgia, Saturday at 3 p.m.

This marks the 16th time for the Rebels to advance to the SEC Championship semifinals.

The Rebels (17-7) took an exciting doubles point to take the early 1-0 lead. Stefan Lindmark and Gustav Hansson teamed up to defeat Baker Newman and Pen Binet 6-3 at No. 2. With court No. 1 locked in a tiebreaker, William Kallberg and Ricardo Jorge finished off a comeback against Jeffery Offerdahl and Danny Valent 7-5, at No. 3.

"We did an incredible job fighting back in the doubles," head coach Toby Hansson said. "We were down a break at two and three and two breaks at one. We showed a lot of character and hung in there like we've done so many times this year. It was nice to see us get that point after the slow start."

Vanderbilt (19-7) tied the match when 8th-ranked Gonzales Austin defeated 19th-ranked Nik Scholtz 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 singles.

That would be it for the Commodores, as Lindmark and Hansson both delivered straight set wins at two and three to make it 3-1. Lindmark downed Rhys Johnson 6-3, 6-1 on court two to win his seventh in a row and improve to 13-3 at No. 2 singles. Hansson followed with a 6-3, 6-4 win against 84th-ranked Daniel Valent on court three.

With the Rebels and Commodores having split sets on courts five and six, Kallberg made sure neither would be necessary. The senior rallied from down 5-2 in the first set to take it 7-5 and then won the second set tiebreaker, 7-6(6) to clinch the victory.

"It felt great to come through for the team," Kallberg said. "It's been a long season for me personally, so it was nice to get this win. It's a big one for the team. It's always tough playing a team that has already played a match [in the tournament]. We fought hard, even though we were down in the beginning, and we were able to win the doubles point. That was huge."

"Same scenario as in doubles, we started off a little slow," Coach Hansson echoed Kallberg. "We were down on four courts early. For William to come back from 5-2 down in the first set was massive. Vinod coming back and winning his first set was huge.

"I have to give Vanderbilt a lot of credit though. They had a tough match Friday, but they continued to battle. They made the match really interesting. It's a credit to our guys for hanging in there and turning it around to get the win. I am extremely happy for Willie and the way he competed out there today. It was great to see him get the win and to clinch for the team."

It was exactly a week ago Saturday, that the Rebels faced No. 3 Georgia on their home courts and lost 4-0. The Rebels are hoping to give the Bulldogs more of a match on a neutral site, versus the nearly 2,000 fans they encountered last week.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to play them again," Coach Hansson said. "The last time we played them we were right there, especially in the doubles. We just need to put ourselves in position again and then we have to live with the results, whatever happens."