On To Tulsa!

Billy Chadwick said he didn't give much of a "halftime" talk to his team in the locker room after losing the doubles point to Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Oxford.

"Basically if we don't get every first set," said the savvy veteran head man of Ole Miss men's tennis prior to singles play, "then we may not go to Tulsa."

His national fifth seed Rebels listened. In the six singles matches that followed, the Rebels indeed won every first set. And in what seemed to be record time, they packed their bags for the site of the NCAA Tennis National Championship – Tulsa, Okla.

"I guess you could say we came out with some revenge," said junior Jonas Berg, who breezed through his singles match at No. 4 against Bryant Salcedo by a 6-0, 6-2 margin. "I felt good out there. The whole team seemed to. We have the potential (of doing what they did against Vanderbilt in the singles). We just have to go out and do it."

So they did.

In the doubles, Ole Miss won at No. 3 (Jakob Klaeson, Tucker Vorster), and lost at No. 1 (Erling Tveit, Jonas Berg).

At No. 2 doubles, the UM duo of Matthias Wellermann and Bram ten Berge lost a heartbreak tiebreak.

Then came the locker room talk, and Chadwick admitted he really didn't have to say much to his veteran team.

"We were very disappointed in the outcome of the doubles," he said. "But our guys knew they had to come out and win four singles matches. When we won all six first sets, it was going to be tough for Vanderbilt to come back and beat us."

It was virtually impossible with a Rebel team playing as well as this one is.

Berg won his match first at No. 4, followed by ten Berge at No. 6 (6-1, 6-2) Robbye Poole at No. 3 (6-1, 6-2) and Kalle Norberg at No. 5 (6-1, 6-2).

Norberg clinched the Oxford Regional last year for the Rebels against South Alabama. Ole Miss went on to the Sweet Sixteen and was eliminated by Illinois in their first match played in Athens, Ga.

Norberg says the Rebs are more prepared this time around as they meet North Carolina on Friday in Tulsa.

"I remember that," said the sophomore from Sweden of both clinching in Oxford and losing in Athens. "The whole team has a different feeling this year heading to the Sweet Sixteen. We're really confident."

That they are. Just ask Vanderbilt.

OM Spirit Top Stories