CLEMSON, S.C. - The No. 20 nationally ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team won the doubles point against 14th-ranked Clemson and had several opportunities in singles, but the Tigers rallied for a 4-3 win at the Clemson Indoor Center Sunday in the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
"It was tough," head coach Mark Beyers said. "We had our opportunities. We served for the first set at two and three. Those were two huge moments in the match. We have to close those out. We got a little unlucky and a little nervous. That was the difference. We are proud of the girls. They fought hard, and we showed that we belong with teams like Clemson. Overall it was a very good weekend."
In doubles, the nation's seventh-ranked duo of Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen were upset by Keri Wong and Ina Hadziselimovic. However, Gabriela Rangel and Connor Vogel won their match at No. 2 doubles 8-5. The doubles point came down to No. 3, with Abby Guthrie and Laura van de Stroet edging Josipa Bek and Estefania Balda, 9-7 to clinch the doubles point.
Clemson then responded in singles play, as Ina Hadziselimovic defeated Abby Guthrie, winning 7-5, 6-0 at No. 3. Keri Wong then gave Clemson the 2-1 lead as she defeated Karen Nijssen, 7-6(5), 6-2 on court two. Nijssen served for the first at 5-4.
At No. 4 singles, Connor Vogel won her first set against 61st-ranked Nelly Ciolkowski, but the Tiger rallied to come away with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory to give Clemson a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers were on the verge of winning, but Kristi Boxx of Grenada, Miss., fought off match point in the second set against No. 9 ranked Josipa Bek on her way to a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 come-from-behind win. That got the Rebels to within one.
Laura van de Stroet then took down Clemson's Laurianne Henry in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to even the match at three apiece.
The final decision came down to Estefania Balda and Gabriela Rangel at No. 6 singles for the right to advance to the Final 16 of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Balda took the first set, 6-1, then held serve to take a 5-4 lead. She then broke serve, clinching the match for the Tigers, 4-3.
The Rebels return to action Feb. 6 at home against Murray State.
#14 Clemson 4
#20 Ole Miss 3
1. Hadziselimovic/Wong (CU) def. Boxx/Nijssen (OM) 8-5
2. Rangel/Vogel (OM) def. Ciolkowski/Henry (CU) 8-5
3. Guthrie/van de Stroet def. Bek/Balda (CU) 9-7
Order of Finish: 2,1,3
1. Kristi Boxx (OM) def. Josipa Bek(CU), 3-6, 7-6(5),6-4
2. Keri Wong (CU) def. Karen Nijssen (OM) 7-6(5), 6-2
3. Ina Hadziselimovic (CU) def. Abby Guthrie (OM) 7-5, 6-0
4. Nelly Ciolkowski (CU) def. Connor Vogel (OM) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
5. Laura van de Stroet (MISS) def. Laurianne Henry (CU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Estefania Balda (CU) def. Gabriela Rangel (OM) 6-1, 6-4
Order of Finish: 3,2,4,1,5,6