April 11, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. - The 28th-ranked men's tennis team was narrowly edged Sunday by No. 17 Mississippi 4-3 at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 11-11 overall and 4-6 against Southeastern Conference opponents, while the Rebels improve to 15-5 on the season and 6-4 versus league foes.
"It was a gut-wrenching loss, but I'm very proud of our team's effort today," head coach Billy Pate said. "It was a great match, and the only disappointing aspect was we didn't play a great doubles point. We did a really good job of hanging around and eventually swinging the momentum in our favor."
Alabama was unable to pull ahead early as Mississippi claimed the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. First off was the matchup at No. 2 where junior Tucker Vorster and freshman Jonas Lutjen earned an 8-5 victory over the Tide sophomore duo of Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson. Alabama then picked up a win by the same score on court three with junior Trey Walston and freshman Jarryd Botha topping the Rebel freshman pair of Harry Fowler and Adrian Forberg Skogeng leaving the doubles point to be decided at No. 1. Mississippi's sophomore tandem of Chris Thiemann and Marcel Thiemann came on strong in the end to top 64th-ranked senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis 8-4 giving the Rebels the early point.
Alabama evened the score at 1-1 with a win at No. 1 singles with 31st-ranked Myneni grabbing the point by retirement over No. 68 Marcel Thiemann. Myneni led 6-4, 3-1 when the Mississippi netter retired. Fellow Tide senior Houssam Yassine dominated Fowler at the No. 5 spot winning 6-0, 6-2 to put Alabama on top in the overall dual match.
The Rebels went on to win the next two points of the afternoon to pull ahead 3-2. No. 75 Vorster gave Mississippi its second point of the afternoon on court two with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Doverspike followed by Forberg Skogeng at No. 6 with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Tide freshman Ian Chadwell. A comeback win by Botha at No. 4 would make for another exciting finishes as the Alabama netter outlasted Lutjen 7-6(7), 7-6(3) setting up for the clincher to be decided on court three.
Chris Thiemann jumped out to an early lead on Thompson taking the first set 6-3, but Thompson battled back in the second earning a 7-5 decision to send the match into a third set. The Tide sophomore grabbed an early break to pull ahead 3-1, but Thiemann broke back in the next game to put the match back on serve. Thiemann would then break for the 6-5 lead, however Thompson would not go away winning the next game to send the set into a tiebreaker. Thiemann eventually topped Thompson 7-5 in the breaker giving the Rebels the 4-3 victory.
"(Michael) Thompson stayed mentally and physically strong throughout the match and really gave us a chance," Pate added. "We now need to refocus and be ready for the final few regular-season matches. We're playing our best tennis and have a chance to finish strong going into the postseason."
Next up, the Tide plays a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday, April 14 in Birmingham. Alabama will take on UAB at 1:00 p.m. (CST) and Samford at 6:00 p.m. (CST) at the Lakeshore Tennis Center.
1. C. Thiemann/M. Thiemann (UM) def. No. 64 Myneni/Davis (UA) 8-4
2. Vorster/Lutjen (UM) def. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) 8-5
3. Botha/Walston (UA) def. Fowler/Skogeng (UM) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2,3,1
1. No. 31 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 68 Marcel Thiemann (UM) 6-4, 3-1, ret.
2. No. 75 Tucker Vorster (UM) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-4, 6-2
3. Chris Thiemann (UM) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5)
4. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Jonas Lutjen (UM) 7-6(7), 7-6 (3)
5. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Harry Fowler (UM) 6-0, 6-2
6. Adrian Forberg Skogeng (UM) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1,5,2,6,4,3*