There is May tennis to be played at the Palmer-Salloum Tennis Center once again. For the first time since 2015, one of the premier tennis facilities in the country is hosting postseason tennis. This time, it’s the women’s team that welcomes Missouri State, Wichita State, and Syracuse. Ole Miss will take on the Bears from Springfield, Mo. after the Shockers face the Orange at noon Friday.
The No. 5 ranked Rebels earned their highest rank in program history earlier this season, and will host their first regional since the 2012 campaign. A pair of victories this weekend would send the Rebels to the Sweet Sixteen in Winston-Salem, and be the first home regional win since 1999. They’re also looking for the first Sweet Sixteen since 2010.
ATTENTION STUDENTS The first 25 students at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center this weekend get FREE admission! Come support your Rebs tomorrow at 3️⃣ PM pic.twitter.com/LWzhRpojgG— Ole Miss Women's Tennis (@OleMissWTennis) May 10, 2018
SEC Player of the Year Arriane Hartono leads the Rebels at the No. 1 singles with a 20-2 record on the season including a nine match winning streak. Hartono teams up with Alexa Bortles (yes, that Bortles) to form the an All-SEC doubles pair as well. In all, five Rebels made the first or second All-SEC teams
Both Hartono individually and as a pair with Bortles earned a spot in the NCAA Individual tournament that is played after the team season concludes. Hartono will be looking to join Devin Britton as individual winners from Ole Miss, and with her credentials that wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The senior is a two-time All-American, the first ever SEC Player of the Year for Ole Miss, a three-time All-SEC player, and will likely go down as the best player in the schools history. For a program with 21 NCAA bids including 10 straight, that’s saying something.
Doubles takes about 45 minutes and afterwards you’ll hardly be able to breathe. Then comes some peace whenever the six singles matches step on court before slowing building to crescendo. There isn’t much more intense than a 4-3 tennis match, so give it a go if you’re in the area
The times for the matches are strategically done, with Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., giving you a chance to enjoy a couple hours in the sun on Magnolia Drive to enjoy some tennis before a big baseball series.
Them other Racketsharks are in the postseason as well.
Men’s tennis has parity in that the top teams cycle but outside the top 20 or so, the next teams just simply can’t compete. So of the 16 regionals, it’s more than likely 14 hosts will win and move on. And a 3 seed winning a regional is just unheard of, which is where our beloved tennis boys sit right now.
Nevertheless, for the 25th consecutive year, the Ole Miss men’s tennis team will take the courts in the NCAA Tournament, taking on the Duke Blue Devils Saturday at 12 p.m. CT in the first round in Palo Alto, California on Stanford’s campus. The winner will take on the victor from the later match, No. 4 Stanford taking on New Mexico State.
This is the third year in a row the Rebels have traveled West to California for postseason play. And if they want to add to their 51-26 overall record in the tourney, they will need to get white hot in NorCal.
If they were to do that, they will look to add to a sparkling program history of 16 Sweet Sixteen trips, nine Elite Eights, four Final Fours, and a national runner-up finish in 1995.
Go get em, fam.