UK Battles Ole Miss in First Round of National Team Indoors
Jan. 29, 2009
OXFORD, Miss. - The undefeated No. 37 Kentucky men's tennis team travels south to battle Southeastern Conference foe Ole Miss in a non-conference match-up on the Rebels' home court at 11:00 a.m. ET Saturday in the opening round of the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championship.
At the first-round site, the fourth-seeded Wildcats take on the top-seeded Rebels, ranked ninth in the nation. In the other match, third-seeded Wake Forest serves against Rice. The Demon Deacons are ranked 27th in the latest poll while the Owls stand 17th. The winners and losers of both matches will play Sunday.
The team that wins both of its matches will play in the Feb. 13-16 ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, hosted by the University of Illinois.
"Ole Miss is one of the nation's toughest venues to get a win so it is going to be a major challenge for us," said UK head coach Dennis Emery.
The Wildcats opened the season last weekend by sweeping their opponents while only yielding one point at home. UK defeated UNC-Wilmington 6-1 in an early-morning match-up. Then the Wildcats swept Wright State, 6-0, in the afternoon before beating Murray State in the nightcap, 6-0.
The last time the Wildcats met the Rebels was in the second round of the 2008 SEC Tournament on Apr. 18. Ole Miss came out on top 4-0 to advance and eventually win the conference tourney title.
The Rebels were picked as the overall SEC champion for the second year in a row by the coaches in the SEC preseason poll released last week. Last season, Ole Miss advanced to the NCAA Championship Quarterfinals before losing to the eventual National Champion, Georgia.
The 2009 Ole Miss roster features three ranked singles players and the top doubles team in the nation. Seniors Bram tenBerge and Jonas Berg represent the Rebels at the top spot in the ITA doubles rankings. On the singles side, Berg rates 28th, junior Kalle Norberg stands 52nd and tenBerge ranks 89th in the country.
Ole Miss opened the season at home Thursday afternoon with a 7-0 victory over Troy to start the season at 1-0.
"Ole Miss is the pre-season SEC favorite for a reason," Emery said. "They reached the NCAA Elite Eight last year and have dramatically improved. This is the first of eight regular season matches against top 10 teams for us so we are excited to line up and see how our guys compete."
Wake Forest and Rice both enter the weekend undefeated at 2-0 after wins last week. The Demon Deacons rallied for two victories at home while the Owls jumped in the rankings after road wins at Florida Atlantic and then-No.17 Miami (Fla.).
Please visit UKathletics.com for live stats of all the matches and a full recap of the day's action.