OXFORD, Miss. – Returning essentially the entire starting lineup from a year ago, the Ole Miss women’s tennis team is excited to begin the 2014 season. Coming off the program’s fifth straight NCAA appearance, the Rebels will begin play this weekend at the Michigan Invitational.
The Rebels return seven players from last year’s team which include senior Caroline Rohde-Moe, juniors Julia Jones, Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven, sophomores Mai El Kamash, Marija Milutinovic and Allie Robbins, and add freshman Zalina Khairudinova. Rohde-Moe, a two-time All-SEC selection, is ranked No. 87 nationally while El Kamash is currently No. 57. Rhode-Moe and Milutinovic also couple to form the No. 19 nationally ranked doubles pair.
“We’re really looking forward to the season,” said head coach Mark Beyers. “We started practicing last Thursday and we’ve had some fantastic practices. We hope to see that translate to playing matches really well. We have had a lot of different people step up at different times, so I am curious to see how that is going to work out this spring. It shows we have a lot of depth and experience, and that creates a lot of excitement for us as coaches to see how that works out.”
The No. 35 nationally ranked Rebels join a strong field in the Michigan Invitational. Competing teams will include host, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Georgia Tech and No. 59 South Florida. Each team will play three doubles rounds and three singles rounds, including eight flights in singles along with four flights in doubles. Points will be allocated to each winning player or team according to the flight position. Each flight decreases by one in point value, beginning with the No. 1 position who will earn eight points for a win and ending with the No. 8 position who will earn one point.
Rohde-Moe won the singles at this event last year going undefeated at the No. 1 spot to earn 24 points.
“We were a little too inconsistent last year to reach all of our goals, but we hope that experience we gained will be applied this year,” said Beyers, entering his 13th year. “Having that match experience that we gained last year is so valuable. We hope that will help us in a lot of close and tough matches. We have basically our entire starting lineup back from last year, plus the addition of Zalina, and hopefully that will be a recipe for success.”
The Rebels will begin play on Saturday, January 18 at 1 p.m. with doubles against Michigan, followed by singles against No. 20 Georgia Tech. Subsequently, Ole Miss will face South Florida in singles on Sunday at10 a.m., followed by doubles against Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. The Rebel will conclude play on Monday with doubles at 1 p.m. against South Florida, and singles against Michigan at 2 p.m. There will be no team scoring for this event.
The Michigan Invitational will feature live video and live scoring which can be accessed at OleMissSports.com.
— Ole Miss Sports Information
Ole Miss Women’s Tennis Set To Open 2014 Season
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