OXFORD, Miss. – No. 23 Vanderbilt recorded wins over two top-15 teams this weekend after upsetting the fourth-ranked Ole Miss Rebels, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
The Commodores (13-4, 4-1) entered the match having already taken down No. 13 Mississippi State in Starkville on Friday and can now add the Rebels (11-4, 4-2) to the list.
Ole Miss began the match by recording wins at the top two positions in doubles to take an early 1-0 lead. At No. 1, the sixth-ranked duo in the country of Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen defeated Ryan Lipman and Marc van der Merwe, 8-5. The 40th-ranked doubles team of Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom of Ole Miss then defeated Gonzales Austin and Suresh Eswaran, 8-6, at the No. 2 spot.
In singles play, the Rebels built on that lead with wins at the top two positions in the lineup. In a battle of top 20 players at the No. 1 spot, Ole Miss’ Scholtz took down Lipman in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. The loss for Lipman snapped his 12-match winning streak and was his first loss in SEC play. At No. 2, 13th-ranked (Jonas) Lutjen defeated Austin in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.
The Commodores would then win matches at positions Nos. 3-6, which would eventually decide the outcome.
Jeff Offerdahl recorded the first win of the day for Vanderbilt in the No. 3 position over Stefan Lindmark, 6-3, 6-4.
Kris Yee would then go on to win his 15th-straight match by defeating Backstrom, 7-5, 6-3. Yee leads the team with a dual record of 16-1 and remains a perfect 5-0 in SEC play.
With Vanderbilt trailing 3-2, the match came down to the play at the No. 4 and 6 positions. At No. 4, van der Merwe would need three sets to take down No. 69 William Kallberg. The Stellenbosch, Sout Africa, native won the first set, 7-6, but dropped the second set, 6-4. Only a freshman, van der Merwe gutted out a third set win, 6-2, over the sophomore Kallberg.
The match would be decided in the third set of No. 6 singles. Rhys Johnson won the first set easily, 6-1, but dropped the second, 6-4, to Adrian Skogeng. In the third and final set, Johnson put the pressure on early by building a lead en route to a 6-2 win.
The Commodores’ 4-1 and start in SEC play is the best under head coach Ian Duvenhage.
Vanderbilt returns home for a match against Georgia next Friday, March 22, at 2 p.m. before a road match at Tennessee Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m.
1. No. 14 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. No. 19 Ryan Lipman (VU) 6-2, 6-4
2. No. 13 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. No. 54 Gonzales Austin (VU) 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
3. Jeff Offerdahl (VU) def. No. 99 Stefan Lindmark (OM) 6-3, 6-4
4. Marc van der Merwe (VU) def. No. 69 William Kallberg (OM) 7-6, 4-6, 6-2
5. Kris Yee (VU) def. Johan Backstrom (OM) 7-5, 6-3
6. Rhys Johnson (VU) def. Adrian Skogeng (OM) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
1. No. 6 Scholtz/Lutjen (OM) def. Lipman/van der Merwe (VU) 8-5
2. No. 40 Lindmark/Backstrom (OM) def. Austin/Eswaran (VU) 8-6
3. Kallberg/Wilder (OM) vs. Offerdahl/Johnson (VU) 8-8, unfinished
Order of Finish