Rebels prepare for rematch vs. OSU in NCAA Regionals

Posted on May 2 2019 - 5:02am by Joshua Clayton

The Ole Miss men’s tennis team will travel to Los Angeles for a matchup against Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA Regionals.

The Rebels are a No. 3 seed in the regional including WAC Champions Grand Canyon, Oklahoma State and No. 11 UCLA.

This will be Ole Miss’s 26th straight postseason bid and fourth consecutive trip to the west coast for the tournament.

Fabian Fallert prepares to volley the ball in his match against Baylor last season. File photo by Billy Schuerman

“We are excited to play in the NCAA Tournament again, and I think the team is excited about it. We’re definitely ready to go,” head coach Toby Hansson said.

The Rebels are 16-13 on the season with four top-25 wins, one of which was against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Ole Miss topped the Cowboys 4-3 in early February to earn their third win of the season.

In that match, the duos of Tim Sandkaulen and Filip Kraljevic as well as Cotter Wilson and Fabian Fallert won their double matches to take the early lead in the match. Sandkaulen then came back to win his singles match in two sets. Karlo Kranic and Fallert also won their singles matches to edge the Cowboys.

The Rebels will fend off OSU’s push for revenge on Friday at 1 p.m. CDT.

“It’s a new match with Oklahoma State. We’re familiar with them, but it’s a neutral site and we’ll be outside so things will be different,” Hansson said. “It’s an important match, so we have to do the important things and get the big points, and that will take us a long way.”

Should the Rebels accomplish the season sweep of Oklahoma State, they’ll go on to face either the host, No. 11 UCLA, or Grand Canyon.

The UCLA Bruins are 17-5 overall this season with a spotless 8-0 conference record. The Bruins were on a dominant 10-game win streak before a 4-1 loss to California in the Pac-12 Championship tournament last week. UCLA also beat their first round opponent Grand Canyon 4-2 earlier this semester.

Grand Canyon is 19-6 with a 5-0 conference mark. The Lopes beat Chicago State 4-0 and New Mexico State 4-3 to capture the WAC Championship last weekend.

Sandkaulen will lead the Rebels in California this weekend. The German ace also received a bid to the individual championships for the second consecutive time. Sandkaulen was also named to the All-SEC Second Team. He’ll compete in the competition starting May 20 in Orlando, Florida, with an at-large bid.

“I’m so proud of Tim and what he continually brings to the court for us,” Hansson said. He has been the anchor of our lineup all season and deserves to be recognized.”

Last time out, the Rebels fell to Alabama 4-3 in the second round of the SEC Tournament in Gainesville. Fallert and Finn Reynolds won their doubles match and the duo of Junk and Wilson did the same to clinch the double point.

Fallert and Junk won their singles matches, but Sandkaulen, Reynolds and Wilson couldn’t pull out victories to get the win and advance to the next round.

The NCAA Championship will begin on Friday and conclude with the championship in Orlando later this month.