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Ole Miss Women’s Tennis Falls Short To Kentucky In SEC Tournament
With 11 teams in the Top 25, the Southeastern Conference Championship is loaded, and Thursday night Ole Miss and Kentucky battled for more than three and a half hours indoors at the Currey Tennis Center, before the Wildcats edged the Rebels 4-3.
With Vanderbilt only having five indoor courts, the match came down to court six with freshman Alexa Bortles battling Kentucky senior Morgan Chumney to decide the winner. The first set was tied 4-4, but Chumney won the final two games and then broke early in the second for a 2-0 lead. She held on two win the second set for 6-4, 6-2, to send Kentucky on to the quarterfinals.
The Rebels jumped on the Wildcats in doubles to take the early 1-0 lead. Anna Vrbenska and Tea Jandric won 6-2 at No. 3 and then 47th-ranked Arianne Hartono and Alexa Bortles dominated the No. 2 ranked team of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi 6-1 at No. 1 singles to clinch the point.
Kentucky came out firing in singles, winning all five first sets to seize momentum from the Rebels. The Wildcats tied the match when Justina Mikulskyte defeated Jandric 6-3, 6-4 at No. 5 singles and then went up 2-1 with a win on court two.
Kentucky’s Emily Fanning won a huge second set tiebreaker on court four to close out Vrbenska 6-4, 7-6(7) and increase their lead to 3-1.
The Rebels battled back on courts one and three to get to third sets and ended up winning both matches to square the overall match at 3-3. Hartono rallied to beat No. 20 ranked Sutjiadi 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and then senior Zalina Khairudinova finished off a comeback against Adachi at No. 3 singles, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
At the net…
• The Rebels are now 14-13 on the year
• Arianne Hartono earned her 9th ranked win of the year and avenged a loss to Adila Sutjiadi from earlier in the season
• Hartono and Alexa Bortles earned their fourth ranked win of the season and second straight top 15 win
• Zalina Khairudinova improved to 16-13 overall in singles and avenged an earlier loss to Mami Adachi in the regular season
1. #47 Bortles/Hartono (OM) def. #2 Adachi/Sutjiadi (UK) 6-1
2. Suk/Khairudinova (OM) vs. Chumney/Parazinskaite (UK) 5-3, sus.
3. Vrbenska/Jandric (OM) def. Mikulskyte/Fanning (UK) 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1
1. #33 Arianne Hartono (OM) def. #20 Adila Sutjiadi (UK)
2. Akvile Parazinskaite (UK) def. #78 Natalie Suk (OM) 6-3, 7-5
3. Zalina Khairudinova (OM) def. Mami Adachi (UK) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. Emily Fanning (UK) def. Anna Vrbenska (OM) 6-4, 7-6(7)
5. Justina Mikulskyte (UK) def. Tea Jandric (OM) 6-3, 6-4
6. Morgan Chumney (UK) def. Alexa Bortles (OM) 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 4, 1, 3, 6
The Rebels will now wait for the NCAA Championship selections to be announced on May 2 at 4:30 p.m. CT.
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.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports
Ole Miss Set for SEC Women’s Golf Championship in Birmingham
The Ole Miss women’s golf team will tee it up with an old conference rival to begin the 2017 SEC Women’s Golf Championship at Greystone Golf and Country Club.
The SEC will utilize a new two-team pairing structure this season, a change from the traditional foursome format. The Rebels will be the first group to the tee box to open the three-day SEC tournament, playing alongside the LSU Tigers.
“We’re playing twosomes this year, so it’ll be a better place of play. We’re excited about that,” said head coach Kory Henkes. “We’re going to go down there and do what we came to do and play some good golf. It’s always a fun week, and it’s a good course. The girls who have played there really like it, so they’re excited to get back out there.”
The SEC Experience
Senior Madisen Bentley is one of three Rebels bringing SEC experience to Birmingham, and she’ll be in the first twosome of the tournament, teeing off at the first hole at 8 a.m. CT Friday morning. The University Place, Washington native will look to make up for a difficult first trip to Greystone.
“It’s Madisen’s last year, and she didn’t have her best performance last year at SECs, so I know she wants a little revenge on the course,” Henkes said. “I think it sets up well for her, she just struggled last year. She’s hitting it a lot better now, and I think it’ll be a good week for her.”
Next up is another senior, Maria Toennessen, who brings more SEC experience than the rest of her teammates combined. The Grimstad, Norway native will be making her fourth SEC Championship appearance. She finished tied for 37th in this event as a junior, including an even-par 72 on the final day.
The only other Rebel with an SEC tournament appearance is sophomore Martina Flori. The Montecatini Terme, Italy native is No. 1 in the Ole Miss lineup, and for good reason. She’s currently playing the best golf of her collegiate career.
In March, she had what was, at the time, her best career result, an eighth-place finish at the 3M Augusta Invitational. Then in April, she shattered that, tying for second at El Tigre Invitational, where she shot a career-best 5-under (67) in Round 3. She’s been hot all season, and Henkes believes that stemmed from her breakout performance at SECs last year: 73-75-74–222 to tie for 20th.
“Martina played great last year. I think that was kind of Marti’s breakout tournament,” Henkes said. “It really got her going for this year.”
Finally, the Rebels have two golfers making their first ever appearances at the SEC Championships.
Freshman Pi-Lillebi Hermansson holds the No. 2 slot, and like the golfer at No. 1, Hermansson is also coming off her best collegiate finish. The Djursholm, Sweden native tied for 12th two weeks ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, giving her momentum going into what will likely be the first of many SEC tournament appearances.
Junior Katy Harris will take a different kind of momentum to Birmingham. After winning the final tournament of the fall, the St. Simons Island, Georgia native hasn’t had the spring season she hoped for, but she knows what it takes to compete against the best. In her tournament win at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, she went head-to-head against one of the top players in collegiate golf and came out with her third victory.
“Katy’s a competitor,” Henkes said. “You put her in there against some of the best, she wants to win. I think you’ll see the competitiveness come out of her once we get there and see all the teams.”
When Harris transferred from Mercer after her sophomore season, a chance to play in the Southeastern Conference was at the top of her wish list, and there won’t be any better competition than in Birmingham this weekend.
The SEC boasts eight teams in the top 40, and all 14 of its members are ranked in the top 70 nationally, including No. 1 Alabama at the top.
“They’re excited about it,” Henkes said. “With golf, you’re not playing just SEC teams each week, you’re playing all kinds of teams. Some of these teams we haven’t seen all season. So I know they always get excited about getting to play in the SEC Championship. It’s tough from top to bottom, really tight competition. So it’ll be fun to test their abilities against the best of the best.”
Last season, the Rebels performed impressively against the best. Ole Miss entered the SEC Championships ranked last in the league and finished seventh. Of course, in golf, it isn’t player vs. player—it’s player vs. course, and the Rebels are eager to see what they can do on this surface.
“It’s a course they like and are excited about,” Henkes said. “Having that good mental picture about the course is always a good thing going into it, especially when it’s a course you like and can play well on. It gives them a good attitude going into the tournament.”
With the course mapped out, the Rebels have been sharpening their short game. One of the best ball-striking teams in the nation, the Rebels worked this week on their weaknesses: wedges.
“Practice been good. We’ve made it really hard on them,” Henkes said. “The one thing that has been holding us back is our wedge game. I think we’re a top-10 team in the country in ball striking, and then if you look at our short game and wedge numbers, they’re just not up to par. The girls have really enjoyed the practices, even though they’ve been tough and challenging. They’re like, ‘This is good, this is what we need.’ So we’ll see if it pans out this week.”
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports
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