This weekend saw a polar fortunes for the Men's and Women's Tennis teams, as the girls picked up two Top-15 wins at home, while the men got waxed on the road at Tennessee before losing another competitive match to rival Georgia. With three conference matches left both teams control their own destiny in the Western Division, but have to take care of business against three remaining divisional opponents. Recaps of the past weekend, analysis of this coming weekend, and a conference break-down are all after the jump
Led by SEC Player of the week Karen Nijssen, the girls got strong wins over Tennessee and Georgia, both who were Top 15 teams. The Eastern Division Dawgs had, before this weekend, a spotless record in the SEC this year and a winning streak over the Lady Rebels that dated back to 1998. The twin 5-2 wins were, individually and combined, a strong statement from the women of court. Against UT, they took the doubles point and won courts 2, 3, 4, and 5 in straight sets. Against Georgia, they women swept the doubles point in dominating fashion (8-3, 8-3, 8-2) and won courts 3, 5, and 6 in straight sets (coupled with a Njissen comeback win at #2 [2-6, 6-4, 6-3]).
The Men Got Waxed
The men got swept by Tennessee on Friday. The Vols have really been a cut above the rest of the SEC this season. Their only loss on the season is to #1 UVA in the ITA National Tournament hosted by UVA. It's the worst loss for the men in half a dozen years and one of only three times the Rebels have been swept since 2006. Against Georgia, the men won the doubles point in dramatic fashion with the Thiemann twins clinching in a tiebreaker. And Marcel Thiemann took #1 singles, where we have been struggling in conference play. But, we lost at 2 - 6 without Chris Thiemann in the line-up. Both he and Adrian seem to be a little banged up as Adrian took Friday off and Chris took Sunday off at singles.
The Rebels face Alabama and Auburn this weekend with the men at home and the women on the road. The men are in a tie with Auburn for the division lead at 4-4. The Tigers, though, have an overall losing record at 8-9. A loss to either of these teams would be a real disappointment for the men. A sweep this weekend would clinch the men's ninth straight Western Division championship. The Lady Tide and Lady Tigers should also be no match for the women. The Lady Rebels have a one game lead over Arkansas, but the Razorbacks have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Consequently, the Lady Rebels need to keep winning to ensure a division championship. The men are out of the hunt for the overall title, and the women have been all but eliminated. Prognosis: with Alabama, Auburn, and State left on both schedules, it looks like the Palmer Salloum Tennis Center will be the home of two championships this season.