May 14, 2010

Courtesy of Mississippi Athletics

The Ole Miss women's tennis team downed UC Irvine 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championships here Friday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.  The 17th-ranked Rebels will face the winner of the Georgia Tech/Austin Peay match Saturday at 12 p.m. CT for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Rebels (16-5) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point with 8-4 wins on courts three and one in that order.  Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen, ranked No. 12 in the nation, earned their 25th win of the year.

Ole Miss carried the momentum over to singles where they won five of the first six sets to maintain control of the match.  Junior Connor Vogel quickly defeated UCI's Stephanie Hammel 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 singles to make it 2-0.  An All-SEC first team selection, Vogel has won 10 of her last 11 matches.

Laura van de Stroet followed by downing Kristina Smith 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5 and then Gabby Rangel clinched the victory with her 6-2, 6-3 win over Hannah Holladay at No. 6.

"We were a little rusty after a 2 ½ to 3 week layoff.  That's a long time not to play a match, and it showed a little," head coach Mark Beyers said.  "UC Irvine has a good team, so we knew we would get tested.  We'll need to play better tomorrow, and I know we will.  We are proud of the girls for advancing to the second round for the second year in a row, and hopefully tomorrow we can take that next step."

This marks the 10th time in 13 NCAA appearances for the Rebels to reach at least the second round. They have now won seven of their last eight matches.

UC Irvine was making its second ever NCAA appearance and ends the year at 13-11.