OXFORD, Miss. -- The 10th-ranked Vols captured the doubles point but did not follow suit in singles in a 4-2 loss Sunday to No. 9 Mississippi at the Gillom Center.
Sophomore Mikelis Libietis provided the team's only win on the singles courts over No. 12 Nik Scholtz on court 1, but the rest of the lineup followed with straight-set losses on the next four courts. Senior John Collins, who started his match late at No. 6, led 6-3 when the match was clinched.
"As a team, we were uninspired, we were scared," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "It's my job to make sure they compete the way Tennessee expects them to."
In doubles, the Vols (14-5, 1-2 SEC) came out rolling at the top of the lineup. Libietis and Hunter Reese, in their first SEC weekend back together at No. 1, stormed past fifth-ranked Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen 8-3.
Ole Miss (10-2, 4-0) evened the doubles point when Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom defeated Collins and Edward Jones 8-5 at No. 3. On court 3, Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey served out an 8-6 win to give the Vols the early 1-0 lead.
Because of rain and high winds, the match was played inside Gillom Center, a multipurpose facility with only three courts. The top three singles players went on court first.
Libietis was the only Vol to win an opening set in the top half of the lineup 6-4, but he lost the second set 6-1. In the meantime, Reese lost to fifth-ranked Lutjen 6-2, 6-3 on court 2 and Brandon Fickey went down to Stefan Lindmark 6-4, 6-3 after being up a break in the opening set, and the Rebels led the match 2-1.
Libietis eventually tied the team score at 2-2 with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Scholtz.
Ole Miss got the final two points they needed at the Nos. 4 and 5 positions. William Kallberg beat Jarryd Chaplin 7-5, 6-3 to take the Vols to the brink, and Backstrom won the decider, beating Jones 6-1, 6-2.
Collins would have been in position to perhaps clinch the match if the Vols had put a point on the board between the 2 and 5 positions. Collins was up a set on Adrian Forberg 6-3.
Tennessee returns home next weekend after two months of road matches, taking on South Carolina and Florida.
#9 Ole Miss 4, #10 Tennessee 2
1. #13 Mikelis Libietis (UT) def. #12 Nik Scholtz (OM) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
2. #5 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. #33 Hunter Reese (UT) 6-2, 6-3
3. Stefan Lindmark (OM) def. #76 Brandon Fickey (UT) 6-4, 6-3
4. #55 William Kallberg (OM) def. Jarryd Chaplin (UT) 7-5, 6-3
5. Johan Backstrom (OM) def. Ed Jones (UT) 6-1, 6-2
6. Adrian Skogeng (OM) vs. John Collins (UT) 3-6, unfinished
1. Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) def. #5 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (OM) 8-3
2. Stefan Lindmark/Johan Backstrom (OM) def. John Collins/Ed Jones (UT) 8-5
3. Brandon Fickey/Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. William Kallberg/Adriaan du Toit (OM) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,2,1,4,5)