May 8, 2009
ATLANTA – Freshman Gabriela Rangel’s three-set victory clinched No. 21 Ole Miss’ 4-1 victory over #38 Denver in the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship here Friday.
The Rebels (15-9 overall) advance to the finals of the Atlanta Regional to face either Georgia Tech, in an SEC-ACC battle, or Jackson State, in an all-Mississippi contest. The winner of Saturday’s second round advances to the round of 16 in College Station, Texas.
Denver (16-6), which earned an at-large bid out of the Sun Belt Conference, earned one win in singles and had leads in two other singles matches when Ole Miss closed things out.
Ole Miss, which earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in women’s tennis since 2001, picked up an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. Karen Nijssen and All-SEC performer Kristi Boxx, the nation’s No. 16-ranked doubles team, earned an 8-4 win and Abigail Guthrie and Rangel cruised to an 8-2 victory.
“The doubles were really good,” Ole Miss head coach Mark Beyers said. “I thought we got off to a great start. We were up 4-0 in two matches and 4-1 in the other. We never gave them a chance to get into the doubles. That was obviously a huge momentum boost for us going into singles.”
The Rebels held a 3-1 lead when Rangel beat Denver’s Kyla Iwinski 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. Iwinski, a senior, was playing near her hometown of Marietta (Ga.).
“Gabby (Rangel), after a solid first set and not so strong second set, came back and won easily in the third set,” Beyers said. “She’s done that a couple of times. But everybody battled.”
Nijssen, ranked 71st nationally, made quick work of Denver’s Annette Aksdal, 6-1, 6-2, giving Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.
Denver scored its only point when Ute Schnoy topped Laura van de Stroet, 6-4, 6-0.
Guthrie won her match, 6-2, 6-1, over Denver’s Julia Bauregger.
“We are really excited to be in the second round and play the winner of Georgia Tech and Jackson State,” Beyers said. “We look forward to that opportunity tomorrow.”
Saturday’s second-round match begins at 1 p.m. at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
1. #36 Kristi Boxx (UM) vs. #76 Mallory Voelker (DU) 6-7 (7-9), 1-2, unfinished
2. #71 Karen Nijssen (UM) def. Annette Aksdal (DU) 6-1, 6-2
3. Ute Schnoy (DU) def. Laura van de Stroet (UM) 6-4, 6-0
4. Abigail Guthrie (UM) def. Julia Bauregger (DU) 6-2, 6-1
5. Gabriela Rangel (UM) def. Kyla Iwinski (DU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
6. Mimi Renaudin (UM) vs. Bhavani Tirumurti (DU) 6-7 (6-8), unfinished
1. #16 Karen Nijssen/Kristi Boxx (UM) def. Mallory Voelker/Kyla Iwinski (DU) 8-4 2. Abigail Guthrie/Gabriela Rangel (UM) def. Julia Bauregger/Ute Schnoy (DU) 8-2 3. Laura van de Stroet/Mimi Renaudin (UM) def. Annette Aksdal/Bhavani Tirumurti (DU) 7-3