One More For Perfection

Ole Miss already has a share of the SEC men's tennis title, but if it wants the outright crown, there's one more important order of business.

The Rebels, ranked third nationally this week and sporting a perfect SEC mark to date, play at arch-rival Mississippi State Saturday at noon.

The Bulldogs are 6-13 overall and 2-8 in SEC play. The Rebels are 20-2 and 10-0.

But you know what coaches always say when a game or match pits two big rivals against each other.

"You can throw out the records," said Chadwick, whose team has beaten Mississippi State 22 matches in a row.

Chadwick said his team is healthy and continues to perform at a high level, as it has all season.

"We're competing our best right now," he said. "Anytime you go on the road, I'm not sure you actually play your best. We've been finding a way to win, and that's what we're going to have to do when we go over to Starkville."

The Rebels captured a share of the SEC championship as well as their eighth straight SEC West title last weekend with wins over LSU and Arkansas on the road. Ole Miss had previously won the overall SEC men's tennis title in 1996, 1997, 2004, and 2005.

This year's team can also finish undefeated in league play for the second time in the history of the program, joining the 1996 squad with a perfect conference record.

"The key to the season has been that everyone is on the same page," he said. "Everyone is working really hard for every single point. We're getting great leadership from the seniors. We're getting a lot of enthusiasm and grit from the underclassmen. So it's a great combination."

With four freshmen of his eight players on the roster, Chadwick said his team has played perhaps above expectations.

"It is something that most did not anticipate for sure," he said. "The SEC is not on a down year. We've had as many as five teams in the top 10 in the country. This week we've got four."

But the only team that matters right now is the one they're playing next. That's Mississippi State.

"It's Super Bulldog Weekend," Chadwick said. "The tennis courts are right by the baseball stadium, and they have a baseball game going on in the afternoon. The football game is later in the day. We've got to be really ready to be able to block all that out and focus and play. It will be a circus over there."

The Rebels hope to keep their high-flying act rolling one more time this regular season.

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