OXFORD, Miss.—For only the third time when they’ve hosted the NCAA first and second rounds, the sixth-seeded Ole Miss men’s tennis team failed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, dropping a 4-2 match to Memphis here Saturday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in the second round of the NCAA Championships.
The Rebels got off to a slow start after dropping the doubles point. Memphis won at No. 1 doubles 8-5 and at court 2 8-5 to take the 1-0 lead.
Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 14 in the nation, defeated Connor Glennon 7-5, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to tie the match, but Memphis quickly answered on court 6 when David O’Hare defeated Adrian Forberg Skogeng 6-3, 6-2.
Senior Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 20 in the nation, won his final home match as a Rebel, defeating Joe Salisbury 6-2, 6-4 to even the match again at 2.
Freshman Stefan Lindmark led Johnny Grimal 4-2 in the first and then lost five of six games to drop the first set 7-5. Grimal used the momentum from winning the first set to take the second 6-2 and give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
With sophomore William Kallberg closing in on a 5-2 lead in the final set at No. 3 singles against Lukas Vrnak, Memphis’ David O’Leary ended the matter when he finished off junior Johan Backstrom 6-4, 6-3 on court five.
“Give Memphis a lot of credit,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “They played really well in the doubles and at a couple of singles positions. It was a combination of us not playing as well as we’re capable, and Memphis playing well. Nik and Jonas know for us to win the doubles point, they have to win. It puts a lot of pressure on them. They are one of the best teams in the country, but they’re not going to win every match. Today was a tough battle. I am proud of the guys, we just came up a little short.”
The Rebels end their season at 16-9, while Memphis (16-7) advances to the Sweet Sixteen to face Pepperdine.
The season is not quite over for Scholtz and Lutjen who are in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship, which begins May 22 in Champaign, Ill.
1. Joe Salisbury/David O'Hare (MEMPHIS) def. #3 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (OM) 8-5
2. Lukas Vrnak/Johnny Grimal (MEMPHIS) def. #49 Stefan Lindmark/Johan Backstrom (OM) 8-5
3. William Kallberg/Adrian Skogeng (OM) vs. David O'Leary/Cedric De Zutter (MEMPHIS) 5-7, unfinished
Order of Finish: 2, 1
1. #14 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. Connor Glennon (MEMPHIS) 7-5, 6-1
2. #20 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Joe Salisbury (MEMPHIS) 6-2, 6-4
3. #95 William Kallberg (OM) vs. Lukas Vrnak (MEMPHIS) 6-4, 3-6, 4-2 unfinished
4. Johnny Grimal (MEMPHIS) def. Stefan Lindmark (OM) 7-5, 6-2
5. David O'Leary (MEMPHIS) def. Johan Backstrom (OM) 6-4, 6-3
6. David O'Hare (MEMPHIS) def. Adrian Skogeng (OM) 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 4, 5