Catching up with some UMAA sports teams

Notes and quotes from some Rebel and Lady Rebel sports this fall.

Men's basketball is heading to Middle Tennessee State this weekend for an intrasquad game with the Blue Raiders. Andy Kennedy said it will be a road trip rehearsal. The NCAA allows for this type of preseason activity, and the Rebels are taking advantage of it.

A trip like this should be invaluable for a team filled with so many youngsters while giving the returning vets a chance to get into some game-type action against somebody other than their teammates. The Rebels will showcase their team for the public in Oxford on Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. when they host Delta State in an exhibition game.


Baseball's fall ball is winding down. It's weekend six of seven for the Rebels, and Mike Bianco and staff have gotten a much longer look at the team than in past falls. Normally fall ball has lasted four weeks under Bianco. Mike explains the change.

"We like the fall," said Bianco, mentioning that for the most part the weather is usually good throughout the session. "It takes some of the pressure off (going seven weeks instead of four) where we don't push ourselves too thin as far as pitchers and innings and trying to see everybody in a shorter time frame. No doubt it gives us a better chance to evaluate throughout the winter after seeing them more in the fall."

Bianco says that with the new season start date being later this year, the fall dates also changed.

"There are 45 days you can practice in the fall," he said. "It's kinda like spring football practice. Basically what it's done for us is give us two days off a week instead of one day off like in the past. That's better for the student-athlete, which is basically what it's done for. We now go a longer period of time and have a few more practices. But it's been physically less demanding on them by having two days off each week. We started on a Friday (Sept. 21) so we could get more weekends in."

The Rebels wrap up fall ball next weekend and invite fans to come watch them finish things up. They'll go Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. After the football Rebels play Northwestern State on Saturday, the Diamond Rebs will play at 4:30 p.m. that day.

Ole Miss opens its season Feb. 22-24 with a three-game weekend series, hosting the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big Ten.


Volleyball continues to win. That program has turned around in the last two seasons like few others I've seen at Ole Miss. When head coach Joe Getzin was hired in 2002, he was asked to build a program that had mostly experienced losing since its inception in 1976. It was a tough challenge.

Four losing seasons later, Getzin was faced with what was likely a make or break season in his fifth. The Rebels went 19-13 overall and 10-10 in the league and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time. At 19-5 overall and 8-4 in the SEC with eight games left, all conference games, they are poised to make the NCAA field again. They have a tough assignment this weekend at South Carolina and at top-10 Florida.

It's been a story worth noting again this season, and we'll follow the Rebel Spikers down the home stretch as they make another run.


Ernest Ross' Rebel golfers made news this week getting their first national ranking since he returned as head coach four years ago after a 17-year absence when he was a club pro in Florida and in Jackson.

Ross' Rebel golf program was one of the SEC's best in the 1980s. The Rebels won the SEC in 1984, finished 20th in the NCAA that year, and followed that up with a fourth-place national showing in 1985.

Last year the Rebels got back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years after a fourth-place finish at the 2007 SEC tourney. This fall they won three straight tournaments to finish strong and head to winter workouts riding high and brimming with confidence. Their spring season begins Feb. 9-10 at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.

With the potential of this year's team making a strong run and with the commitments the program has for the November signing class, men's golf can be evaluated this way – they're back.


Men's tennis is enjoying a strong fall. One of the bright spots has been the play of Matthias Wellermann, who captured the ITA Southeast Regional Championship Monday to earn the region's automatic berth into the upcoming ITA National Indoor Nov. 1-4 in Columbus, Ohio.

The senior from Germany has had back problems in the past, and Billy Chadwick said it's good to see him 100 percent.

"Matthias is poised to be special for us this year," Chadwick said. "That's exciting for us."

More Chadwick.

"Erling's foot is fine," he said of the recent injury to the Rebels' No. 1 player, Erling Tveit. "Bram (ten Berge) is healthy. Robbye Poole has had an excellent fall."

The Rebels go eight deep. Six are seniors.

Chadwick likes his potential doubles lineup for the spring.

"Erling and Jonas (Berg) are playing great together. Matthias and Bram make an excellent doubles team. I'm very pleased with Robbye and Jakob (Klaeson)."

Chris Rea and Kalle Norberg are returning players also in the mix. It's a deep and veteran club.

"We're really good at the top (1, 2, 3)," Chadwick said. "But 4-6 may be our strength. The depth we have will again help us in those difficult matches of the SEC in the spring."


Soccer tied another game Thursday night, a 2-2 final with Vanderbilt. It was UM's fifth tie of the season, matching the school record for ties set just last season.

Steve Holeman's Rebel soccer team is talented again. It's a program that's experienced success with three SEC West titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances during the past decade.

But what appears to have happened in soccer is that some of the lower teams in the league have caught up. No longer is any game counted a win. Every time the Rebels play it's a competitive situation, and either team can come away victorious – or tied.

Ole Miss, 6-6-5 overall and 3-3-3 in league play, has two games left before the SEC tourney. The Rebels play at Kentucky Sunday and host Mississippi State next Friday night.

They need to win both to make sure they continue playing into the postseason toward the goals they set in the preseason.

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