AUBURN, Ala. – The Ole Miss program continues to reign as the king of SEC men’s tennis after Sunday’s 4-2 victory against Tennessee in the championship match of the league’s tournament.
The second-ranked Rebels (24-2) successfully defended the SEC title they won a year ago and earned an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Details about the tourney field will be announced Tuesday.
On a roster with four freshmen, three played a key role on Sunday. Devin Britton won the clinching match at No. 2 singles after he and Tucker Vorster, a sophomore, won No. 2 doubles.
“This year was really special because this is a young team,” Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick said. “It is a team that really has great chemistry and has come together and they play hard top-to-bottom.”
All three singles winners for Ole Miss were freshmen – Britton, Otto Sauer at No. 5 and Marcel Theimann at No. 6.
Ole Miss had to fight to win the doubles point, as the top-ranked duo of Bram ten Berge and Jonas Berg lost 8-5 to Tennessee’s fifth-ranked John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren at No. 1 doubles. Sauer and junior Kalle Norberg beat Tennessee’s Matt Brewer and Bryan Swartz 8-3 to grab the point.
Ole Miss built a 3-0 lead, then sixth-ranked Tennessee won at No. 1 and No. 4 singles to make things more interesting.
Britton, from Jackson, put the match away, beating 33rd-ranked Boris Conkic 7-5, 6-4.
“It was nerve-racking, but definitely a lot of fun to come out on top,” Britton said. “It is a big win for the team as well, a tight match. I just happened to finish last, but a lot of the other guys did great as well, it was a good team effort.”
Norberg, the only player in the league to finish the season unbeaten, was named the tournament MVP.
“It is great, I don’t know what to say,” Norberg said of the honors. “Everybody on the team was amazing this year. To go undefeated in the SEC and win the tournament is a great accomplishment, not just for me but the whole team.”
The SEC has emerged as perhaps the toughest college tennis league in the country, with seven teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Top 25.
From school reports