Ole Miss women’s tennis cruises in first dual match Wednesday afternoon

Posted on Jan 23 2014 - 7:41am by Nick Eley

Iris Verboven returns the ball during the match against Jackson State Wednesday. Photo: Thomas Graning, The Daily Mississippian.

The 35th-ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis team put forth a dominating effort against the Jackson State Tigers Wednesday afternoon in the Gillom Sports Center, winning all three doubles and all six singles matches to earn the 7-0 sweep.

The outcomes of most of the matches were rarely in question, as only two Jackson State players managed to win at least three games in any single set, and no player or doubles team was able to win more than four games in a match for the Tigers.

It was Ole Miss’ first dual match of the season, and Rebel head coach Mark Beyers was pleased with his team’s effort and performance.

“It’s always kind of good to get those butterflies out in the beginning of the year, but I think we had good preparation this weekend in Michigan,” Beyers said. “I think everybody is better now than they were last week, and that’s what we need in order to be successful this weekend.”

In doubles play, the duos of juniors Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven as well as freshman Zalina Khaiudinova and junior Julia Jones won 6-0 to claim the doubles point for the Rebels. Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe and Marija Milutinovic won 6-2.

Khairudinova was particularly impressive as the No. 2 singles player, where she won 6-0, 6-1 over Jackson State senior Harshini Reddy in just under an hour of match time.

“I was really excited to play, as I didn’t play for a long time because I wasn’t eligible,” said Khairudinova. “I was really surprised how girls were playing (in college tennis as opposed to pro tennis). They’re playing really well.”

At No. 3 singles, 90th-ranked Jones won 6-0, 6-1 over Julie Angermann. Rohde-Moe, who is ranked No. 87 nationally, clinched the win for Ole Miss, winning 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Milutinovic then made quick work of Kesica Jayapalan with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles. Stephens won at No. 4 singles 6-3, 6-0 against Akshatha Ananth and Verboven won 6-3, 6-1 over Angela Condorelli at No. 6 singles to end the match.

Sophomore Mai El Kamash, who is also the 57th ranked singles player nationally, did not see action on Wednesday due to what Beyers called “slight elbow tendonitis.”  She is expected to be available when the Rebels suit up again.

Ole Miss will be in action again this weekend as they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the ITA Kickoff. On Saturday, the Rebels will face No. 34 Oklahoma Sooners with matches scheduled to start at 2 p.m. On Sunday, they will face either Alabama or William & Mary.

For continuing coverage of Ole Miss women’s tennis, follow @thedm_sports on Twitter.

— Nick Eley