May 15, 2010

Courtesy of The University of Mississippi

ATLANTA, Ga. - The Ole Miss women's team shut out Georgia Tech 4-0 here Saturday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center to earn its first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 1999.

The Rebels, ranked No. 17 nationally, earned their seventh Sweet 16 appearance overall and improved to 17-5. They will face Florida in the third round Thursday, May 20 at 8 a.m. CT. Georgia Tech (19-10) ends a string of five consecutive years in the round of 16.

"It's great to be in the Sweet 16. This was one of our goals before the season as a team, and now we can check that off," head coach Mark Beyers said. "We are looking forward to facing Florida again. They beat us pretty good the first time, and hopefully we can give them a better match this time."

This marked the second year in a row for Ole Miss to face Georgia Tech in the NCAA second round. In the previous meeting, the Yellow Jackets won the doubles point, and that propelled them to a 4-0 win.

This time, the Rebels were able to win a tight doubles point and carry that momentum into singles. Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen, ranked No. 12 in the nation, defeated 23rd-ranked Irina Falconi and Sasha Krupina 8-5 at No. 1. Abby Guthrie and Laura van de Stroet staved off match points at No. 3 doubles to win the tiebreaker 9-8(5) and clinch the point.

The Rebels won the first set on four courts. Junior Connor Vogel made it 2-0 with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win over GT's Sasha Krupina at No. 3 singles. Vogel improved to 10-2 at No. 3 singles and 32-7 overall. Sophomore Gabby Rangel increased the lead to 3-0 defeating Yellow Jacket Hillary Davis 6-0, 6-4 at No. 6. On Friday she clinched the win over UC Irvine.

With the Rebels needing just one more point to grab a berth in the final 16, Nijssen finished off a straight set win over Yellow Jacket Viet Ha Ngo at No. 2 singles. Nijssen won 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the win.

"These were two great teams. You saw that in doubles. I think that proved to be the difference in the match. It was such a big momentum shift in that moment and time," Beyers said. "I think everyone of the fans really enjoyed the match. It was just hard-nosed tennis, and we got a little luckier in the doubles matches. Winning the point probably gave our girls a little more motivation going forward in singles, and we were able to come away with the win."

The Rebels' outstanding season continues in Athens, Ga., where the finals will be played at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Live scoring and video will be available by going to www.OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the Rebel Hub.