Mississippi 4, Jacksonville State 0

May 14, 2005

OXFORD, Miss. The Ole Miss mens tennis team, seeded No. 3 overall in the NCAA Championships, downed Jacksonville State 4-0 Saturday afternoon here at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center to advance to the second round where they will face Auburn Sunday at 1 p.m. for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in College Station , Texas.

The day began with rain and eventually forced the first match between Auburn and Middle Tennessee indoors to the Gillom Sports Center. The skies ultimately cleared in time for Ole Miss and Jacksonville State to begin their match outside at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Ole Miss (22-3) jumped out to a 1-0 lead by winning 8-2 at No. 2 doubles and 8-3 at No. 3 doubles. They never looked back.

In between the doubles and singles, the Rebels recognized Wilson Montjoy, who lettered for the Rebel netters in 1929-31 and captained the 31 team. Current team captain Catalin Gard presented Montjoy a 2005 SEC Championship cap with the inscription Captain 31 on the side.

Following the presentation, Gard and his teammates took to the courts for singles and made quick work of the Gamecocks (14-10). Gard cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win at No.1 singles against JSUs Vedran Sirola. The win gave Gard, the nations No. 4 ranked player, his 80th career dual match victory.

It was a great day, Gard said. We are so happy we could play outside. The atmosphere was tremendous, and we want to thank everyone for coming out.

Freshman Erling Tveit, playing in his first NCAA Championships, made it 3-0 when he downed Rodney Rapson 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles. Within seconds, sophomore Eric Claesson finishe d off Arturo Nieto 6-1, 6-2 to clinch the win.

It was advantageous for us to play outside today, if we are going to play outside Sunday, head coach Billy Chadwick said. Its always tough playing a team again. Its going to be like another SEC match for us. We are going to have to be at our best, if we are going to win. They guys are determined, so well see what tomorrow brings.

When Ole Miss and Jacksonville State finished their match, Auburn (13-9) and Middle Tennessee (18-7) were still playing nearly five hours after they began. Auburn won a tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles to take a 1-0 lead. They won at No. 1 singles in straight sets to make it 2-0, but MTSU answered with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 to square the match.

Auburn went up 3-2 with a straight-set win at No. 6 singles, but Middle Tennessees Anant Sitaram came back to beat Robert Lathouwers, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles to even the score, with court five left.

It appeared the match would come down to a decisive third set on court five. Auburns Tom George gained the first set against Greg Pollack 6-4, but he trailed 3-5 in the second set before reeling off four straight games to clinch the 4-3 victory.

This marks the second time in three postseasons for Ole Miss and Auburn to meet in the second round. The Rebels defeated the Tigers 4-0 in the 2003 regional final and ultimately advanced to the Elite Eight in Athens, Ga.

2005 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS FIRST ROUND OXFORD, Miss.
#3 Ole Miss 4, Jacksonville State 0

DOUBLES
#1 Gard/Claesson (OM) vs. Sirola/Rapson (JSU) 5-7
#2 Tveit/Aarum (OM) def. Nieto/Ricci (JSU) 8-2
#3 ten Berge/Klaeson (OM) def. Rybertt/Amores (JSU) 8-3

SINGLES
#1 Catalin Gard (OM) def. Vedran Sirola (JSU) 6-0, 6-2
#2 Eric Claesson (OM) def. Arturo Nieto (JSU) 6-1, 6-2
#3 Erling Tveit (OM) def. Rodney Rapson (JSU) 6-2, 6-2
#4 Juan Pablo Di Cesare (OM) vs. Kieran Ricci (JSU) 6-1, 2-1
#5 Fredrik Aarum (OM) vs. Christian Rybertt (JSU) 6-1, 3-2
#6 Karim Alayli (OM) vs. Andres Amores (JSU) 6-4, 1-0



-- Courtesy Mississippi