OXFORD, Miss. - - The University of Memphis men's tennis team has not won a match in Oxford since 1982. The Tigers snapped that streak in a big way on Saturday, upending No. 7 Ole Miss (16-9), 4-2 to advance to the NCAA Round of 16.
"Just a huge win for our program," Head Coach Paul Goebel said. "The guys just came out here and battled. Ole Miss had a great crowd, we had a great crowd come down here for the match and our guys just came out with great energy in doubles. We've been working so hard on doubles and the energy we got there just carried over."
Memphis won the doubles point for a ninth straight match with 8-5 wins at No. 1 and 2 doubles. The team of Lukas Vrnak and Johnny Grimal were first on the boards for Memphis with their win at No. 2, and were followed one service game later by the number one duo of Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare's 8-5 win over the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the country (Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen). The Tigers' new number three duo was also sniffing out match point, leading 7-5 and 30-30 in the game when the match was decided.
In the singles competition, Ole Miss answered back to make it 1-1 with a 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles from Nik Scholtz, the number 14 ranked player in the country. Scholtz was facing Connor Glennon, who stepped back into the Tiger lineup after suffering a wrist injury two weeks ago.
"Connor even being out here made this possible," junior David O'Hare said. "It allowed us all to move down to where we were."
O'Hare then answered the Rebels' win at No. 1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 6 singles to put the Tigers up in the match 2-1. Again, the Rebels answered a Tiger point with a win from one of their nationally-ranked singles players as number 20 Jonas Lutjen downed Joe Salisburyat No. 2, 6-2, 6-4 to even the match at 2-2.
But that was the last point for the home team, with Johnny Grimal picking up a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 4 for a 3-1 Tiger lead before sophomore David O'Leary downed Johan Backstrom at No. 4, 6-4, 6-3 to secure the victory.
With the victory, the Tigers advance to the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. The Tigers will face Pepperdine, Thursday, at 9 a.m. at the University of Illinois.
No. 32 Memphis 4, No. 7 Ole Miss 2
No. 1 -- #14 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. Connor Glennon (UM), 7-5, 6-1
No. 2 -- #20 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Joe Salisbury (UM), 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 - Lukas Vrnak (UM) vs. #95 William Kallberg (OM), 4-6, 6-3, 2-4, uf
No. 4 - Johnny Grimal (UM) def. Stefan Lindmark (OM), 7-5, 6-2
No. 5 - David O'Leary (UM) def. Johan Backstrom (OM), 6-4, 6-3
No. 6 - David O'Hare (UM) def. Adrian Skogeng (OM), 6-3, 6-2
No. 1 -- #64 Joe Salisbury/David O'Hare (UM) def. #3 Scholtz/Lutjen (OM), 8-5
No. 2 - Vrnak/Grimal (UM) def. #49 Lindmark/Backstrom (OM), 8-5
No. 3 - O'Leary/Cedric De Zutter (UM) vs. Kallberg/Skogeng (OM), 7-5, uf