OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 10 nationally ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team opens play in the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championships Friday, Feb. 12 against seventh ranked Georgia. The two teams will square off at 5:30 CT at the Boars Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
The Rebels clinched their 17th consecutive trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Finals during the ITA Kick-Off weekend hosted in Oxford Jan. 30-31. The Rebels advanced by defeating Arkansas 4-3 and Indiana 4-0 in the first and second rounds.
“We’re really excited about being at (the team indoor) for the 17th consecutive year,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “It shows the consistency of the program. This year it was especially meaningful (to advance), playing without our No.1 player (Kalle Norberg) and with three freshmen in the lineup.”
The Rebels are the only SEC team to have qualified for the National Team Indoor Finals 17 straight years and have the second longest consecutive appearance streak in the nation behind perennial national power UCLA.
Ole Miss’ most recent victory came on Monday against Troy, allowing the rebels to remain undefeated at 4-0.
Georgia comes into the tournament 4-0 with wins over Northwestern and North Carolina in the first and second rounds of the team indoor. They are led by senior All-Americans Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt and junior All-American Javier Garrapiz. Freshman Bo Seal was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the Bulldogs after the win over North Carolina.
“Georgia has three very good players at the top of their lineup. They also have a really good freshman (Seal) at No. 5, Chadwick said. “If we’re going to win, we need to do a good job in the doubles, take one of those top three and then find a way to get two out of three at the bottom.
“The pressure is definitely on Georgia, because they’re favored to win. At the same time, we have not lost, and these guys think they can win.”
Without Norberg in the lineup, the Rebels have relied on junior Tucker Vorster to provided leadership to a young squad.
“The guys are really playing good tennis now, and we are excited about what lies ahead,” Vorster said. “This is a big weekend for us. If we can come away with some solid wins, this will give us confidence for the SEC schedule. Georgia is one of our biggest rivals, and playing them at a big event like this is going to be great.”
The Rebels have advanced to the semifinals at the National Team Indoor five times, most recently in 2008.
Fans can follow all the action this weekend through live scoring by going to www.OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar box.