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    SEC Men's Tennis Notebook

    Despite not making the NCAA Championship as a team, Alabama’s Jarryd Botha and Ricky Doverspike were one of 32 teams selected to the NCAA Doubles Championships. This is the 16th time a Crimson Tide duo has been selected for postseason play. Botha and Doverspike played at the No. 1 doubles position throughout the dual match season for Alabama, where they collected 11 wins. Five of their victories have come against nationally-ranked opponents, including two in the top 10. Last time out, Botha and Doverspike knocked off Tennessee’s Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, ranked 10th at the time, in a tiebreaker at the SEC Championship to clinch the doubles point for the Tide. The team will head into the national tournament winners of six of their last seven matches.
    The Razorback men’s tennis team’s 2012 season was ended after not receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. Arkansas finished the year with a 14-13 overall record and were 1-10 in the SEC. One of the main highlights of its season was reaching a national ranking of No. 32, which was its highest ranking since 2008. Its win over Vanderbilt was also its first conference victory since the 2010 spring season. The players now begin their offseason workouts in preparation of the 2012-13 season.
    The 2012 season for the Auburn Tigers (18-10) came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday as the 17th-ranked Tigers fell to 16th-ranked Illinois, 4-3, in a match that lasted nearly five hours in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Urbana, Ill. Auburn rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the match to take a 3-2 lead, only to drop close decision on court one and an epic three-set affair at the No. 3 spot. Auburn advanced to the second round of the tournament for the sixth straight year by defeating No. 48 Drake, 4-2, in the first round on Friday. Auburn’s 18-10 record marks the best by a Tiger squad since 2002. Senior Alex Stamchev concluded his singles career in style, winning both of his matches over the weekend, including a win Saturday over Illinois’ 31st-ranked Roy Kalmanovich. It was the highest-ranked opponent Stamchev defeated in his record-setting Auburn career. Stamchev also went 1-1 in doubles with junior Andreas Mies. Lukas Ollert picked up two singles wins as well, along with a doubles victory Friday. Stamchev and Mies will compete in the NCAA singles and doubles championships next week in Athens, Ga. The ninth-ranked team of Mies and Stamchev will play in the doubles event, and Mies will compete in the singles draw.
    The Florida men’s tennis team will be making its third-straight appearance in the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championship. Head Coach Andy Jackson has led the Gators to the Round of 16 or further in 10 of his 11 years at the helm, advancing to the semifinals in 2005. Since 1991, Florida has posted a 38-19 record in NCAA play. UF has advanced to the quarterfinals five times during that span and made two semifinal appearances. Last year, UF was knocked out by fellow-SEC foe Kentucky in the Round of 16 in Palo Alto, 4-2. In 2010, Florida also fell victim to an SEC opponent, losing 4-2 against Georgia in Athens. UF earned the No. 12 national seed and the Gators hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship in Gainesville. In the first round, Florida defeated Navy, 4-0, advancing to play No. 24 Harvard in the second round. UF advanced to the finals site in Athens after defeating the Crimson, 4-0. Senior Nassim Slilam and sophomore Florent Diep each won two singles matches, while junior Bob van Overbeek and sophomore Spencer Newman each claimed one singles victory for the Gators over the weekend. UF claimed the doubles point in both matches, as Newman and van Overbeek teamed in doubles to pick up a pair of wins. Slilam and Tripper Carleton won against Navy on Saturday, while Diep paired with Michael Alford for a win against Harvard on Sunday.
    The University of Georgia men's tennis team improved to 25-2 on the season and punched its ticket to the NCAA round of 16 with first and second round victories over SC State and Florida State this past weekend. Georgia has now won 25 or more matches a total of 20 times since becoming a varsity sport in 1955 with this being the first since 2009. The Bulldogs are one of four SEC teams headed to the championships in Athens, joining Kentucky, Florida and Ole Miss. Georgia has hosted the event a total of 30 times.
    Kentucky controlled both its first and second round matches in the NCAA Tournament defeating Radford and Indiana to advance to its third consecutive Sweet 16. This is only the second time in school history that UK has advanced to three consecutive Sweet 16s and the first since 1987-89. UK's win over Indiana was its 13th victory in its last 14 matches. UK ends the season 16-1 at home and 62-10 at Boone since the start of the 2009 season. The victory moves Kentucky's record to 23-5 this season against ranked foes. Eric Quigley was impressive in singles and doubles action over the weekend, winning both his doubles matches with Panav Jha and both of his singles matches in straight sets. Junior Anthony Rossi went 1-0 on the week in singles along with sophomores Tom Jomby, Alejandro Gomez and Grant Roberts. Rossi’s win against Radford was the match clincher, while Roberts’ win against IU was the clinching point. Kentucky won the doubles point in both matches, moving to 21-0 this season when it wins the doubles point.
    After fighting stormy weather all day, the 23rd-ranked LSU men's tennis team's season came to a close after falling victim to the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils, 4-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.  Veteran player and senior Neal Skupski provided the biggest highlight of the day, picking up the lone 6-1, 6-4 victory for the Tigers over Duke's 38th-ranked Chris Mengel.  The Tigers concluded their 2012 campaign with the record of 15-11.  Skupski and Olivier Borsos have been selected, along with 62 other players in the nation, to participate in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
    Ole Miss

    Ole Miss defeated Binghamton and Michigan to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the 17th time overall and first time since 2009. The Rebels improved to 46-20 in NCAA competition. Sophomore Johan Backstrom won a third set against UM's Barrett Franks to clinch the 4-2 victory against the Wolverines.  He went 3-1 on the weekend to help the Rebels advance.  Junior Jonas Lutjen went 3-0 on the weekend to lead the cause. The Rebels improved to 177-15 when they claim the doubles point since 2002.  The Rebels improved to 135-18 at home since 2000 and finished the 2012 season 9-3 at home.  The Rebels will face UCLA Friday at 11 a.m. CT in the Final 16.  This will be the third NCAA Championships meeting against the Bruins in four years and the second year in a row.  The two teams met in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2009 and in the second round last year.   In addition to helping lead the Rebels to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann graduated from the University this past weekend with degrees in Managerial Finance.
    Mississippi State
    Mississippi State’s ninth-ranked men’s tennis squad ended their incredible SEC Western Division championship season with a heart-breaking 4-3 loss against the No. 25 Baylor Bears in the Second Round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships in Starkville, Miss. Three Bulldogs however will continue their season as they travel to Athens, Ga. and participate in the NCAA Individual field including No. 13 Artem Ilyushin, 50th-ranked Louis Cant and No. 56 George Coupland. Also, the 25th-ranked pair of Coupland and Ilyushin earned a bid to the doubles field.
    South Carolina
    No. 41 South Carolina closed head coach Josh Goffi's second season at the helm with a 15-12 overall record following a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to future SEC rival Texas A&M. The Gamecocks made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009 with just one player on the roster having competed in the event prior to the season. The season ended on a high note, however, as freshman Andrew Adams was named ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year and Matt Lucas earned region Assistant Coach of the Year honors just two days after the final match of the season. Adams' 28 singles victories are the fourth-most all-time by a South Carolina freshman, and his 20-6 dual-match singles record included an 11-2 mark in the No. 2 spot in the order and a 9-3 record at No. 3. Adams earned his first career national ranking last week, debuting at No. 122. The Gamecocks will turn the page of the season, losing just two seniors from their 10-player roster. Ivan Machado was a regular contributor in both singles and doubles throughout his four-year career and will go down as one of the top doubles players in school history. He holds the school record for dual-match doubles matches played in a career at 97 and is third overall in doubles matches played with 128. His 63 doubles victories stand 11th in school history, and his 44 dual-match winson the doubles court are the eighth-most all-time.
    The Tennessee Volunteers' season ended with a 4-0 loss at North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Vols, ranked 17th, finished with a 15-14 record and will return all six singles starters next season, including a trio of freshmen who played in the top three in the lineup. The year is not yet over for two of those freshmen: Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese. Libietis, ranked 28th nationally, will play in the NCAA Singles Championships. He and Reese will also team up for the doubles tournament. Libietis, Reese and junior Edward Jones each have a team-leading 20 singles wins this season. Jones was the team's only returning starter from the 2011 team.
    The No. 40 Vanderbilt men's tennis team saw its campaign come to a close with a hard fought 4-3 loss to No. 29 Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The three-and-a-half hour battle saw all but one match played out, starting with the Commodores winning the doubles point. Alex DiValerio and Gonzales Austin opened the match with an 8-3 win over the No. 55 pair in the country, before taking the doubles point as Charlie Jones and Blake Bazarnik won 8-6 at the number one slot. Singles was just as hard fought as doubles. Jones increased the Vandy lead to 2-0 with a decision 6-1, 6-3 win at number one singles. That was followed by three-straight Irish wins in a matter of minutes over DiValerio at six, Dorn and five and Offerdahl at three. Vanderbilt evened the match at 3-3 when Bazarnik won, 7-5, 7-5, at four singles, before the Irish took a win at number two, where Austin fell 5-7, 6-4, 1-6 after suffering an injury during the match. The Commodores concluded the season at 8-16. Senior Charlie Jones will conclude his Vanderbilt career at the NCAA Singles Tournament, May 23-28, in Athens, Ga. He'll enter the tournament ranked 44th in the nation.