FIVE-TIME SEC WEST CHAMPS

Sophomore Erling Tveit came up huge for the No. 13 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team Saturday, rallying to win a third-set tiebreaker against Mississippi State's Pierre Mouillon at No. 1 singles to clinch the match and the SEC Western Division Championship for the Rebels on Senior Day at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Rebels have now won 17 straight against MSU.

***Story courtesy of Ole Miss sports information

Moments after the win, the Rebels (18-4, 8-3) learned that Arkansas had defeated LSU 4-3 in Fayetteville, giving Ole Miss its fifth consecutive outright SEC West title. Ole Miss finished tied for second overall in the SEC standings, marking the 13th consecutive year for the Rebels to finish in the top third of the league.

It was as close a match as you can get, with Ole Miss up 3-2 and needing one more win for the victory. However, State (4-13, 1-10) led 5-2 in the third set on court one and was up 5-3 in the third on court three.

At 3-2 in the third set at No. 1, Mouillon broke Tveit and held to go up 5-2. Tveit held for 5-3 and then broke back. He held serve again to make it 5-5. In the tiebreaker, Tveit led 4-2, but Mouillon battled back and had a match point at 6-5. Tveit came up with a big serve and then won the next three points, including a double fault by Mouillon on match point to clinch the victory.

It looked like it might be an easy day for Tveit after he won the first set 6-2, but Mouillon won a second-set tiebreaker 7-5 to force the deciding set.

"I should have had him in the second set," Tveit said. "He came back and I started getting a little tired. He came up with some big forehands in the tiebreak. Down 5-2 in the third set, I was just trying to focus on one point at a time. I was down a match point on my serve in the tiebreak, but I kept telling myself `one point at a time.'"

Seconds after Tveit clinched, State's Jose' Carlos Pinto finished off his win over senior Juan Pablo Di Cesare at No. 3 for the final 4-3 score.

"We knew it would be a tough match," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "They've (MSU) played so many close matches. They played extremely well at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and beat us in straight sets at No. 5. We were fortunate to have two people playing for one point. We got a little unlucky at No. 3 and lucky at No.1.

"The difference today, was we were playing at home, and the crowd did a great job of getting Erling through the match. It's great to win the SEC West for the fifth consecutive year. This league is so tough."

Ole Miss jumped on the Bulldogs in doubles winning 8-1 at No. 3 and then clinching it with an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles. The Rebels improved to 77-3 when they win the doubles point dating back to the 2002 season.

Bram ten Berge gave the Rebels a quick 2-0 lead with his impressive 6-2, 6-0 win over Florent Girod at No. 4 singles. Robbye Poole added to the lead (3-0) downing State's Eric Lim 6-2, 6-4 on court six.

MSU answered with wins on courts two and five to make it 3-2. Ivan Bjelica defeated Eric Claesson 6-4, 6-1 and then Philippe Frayssinoux topped Jakob Klaeson 6-4, 6-3 to set up the final outcome.

Ole Miss will be the No. 3 seed in the upcoming SEC Championships, which begin April 20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The complete bracket for the SEC Championships will be released at the conclusion of play this weekend.

DOUBLES
#1 Tveit/Claesson (OM) def. Bjelica/Mouillon (MSU) 8-4

#2 Di Cesare/ten Berge (OM) def. Girod/Pinto (MSU) 8-3

#3 Klaeson/Poole (OM) def. Farlow/Irey (MSU) 8-1 SINGLES

#1 Erling Tveit (OM) def. Pierre Mouillon (MSU) 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(9)

#2 Ivan Bjelica (MSU) def. Eric Claesson (OM) 6-4, 6-1

#3 Jose' Carlos Pinto (MSU) def. Juan Pablo Di Cesare (OM) 7-6, 4-6, 6-4

#4 Bram ten Berge (OM) def. Florent Girod (MSU) 6-2, 6-0

#5 Philippe Frayssinoux (MSU) def. Jakob Klaeson (OM) 6-4, 6-3

#6 Robbye Poole (OM) def. Eric Lim (MSU) 6-2, 6-4

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