Oxford, MS (WBNG Binghamton) Five-time reigning America East champion Binghamton men’s tennis (15-12) had some bright spots but came up short against No. 13 and host Ole Miss 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon.
The match began outdoors with doubles at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center and finished indoors for singles at the Gillom Sports Center after rain fell. The Rebels captured the doubles point with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 and then ended the match with singles wins at Nos. 1, 3 and 2.
Playing their final match together, the tandem of Ruben Devos and Bastian Bornkessel were in a tight match with their 13th-ranked counterparts, trailing just 8-7 when the match was halted after Ole Miss won at second and third doubles.
In singles, Devos grabbed the first set from his 14th-ranked opponent before falling 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. That win clinched the victory for the hosts, who advance to face Michigan in Sunday’s second round.
Senior No. 1 Alexandre Haggai, the 2012 America East Player of the Year, finished his career with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to the 14th-ranked singles player in the country. Freshman Ismael Dinia, the America East Rookie of the Year, also was defeated by a ranked player, 6-1, 7-5 at No. 3 singles.
Freshman No. 4 Robin Lesage was a close match and trailed 6-4, 3-2 when Ole Miss clinched the win. Sophomore No. 5 Ruben Haggai also trailed 3-2 in his second set when his match was stopped.
Freshman No. 6 Florian van Kann, who had won eight of nine duals entering the tournament, was denied the chance to play because the move indoors limited the number of available courts.
The Rebels (14-8), ranked 13th in the latest ITA Rankings, advanced to the SEC semifinals with wins over Arkansas and Florida in the conference tournament. Ole Miss has advanced to the NCAAs in 18 of the last 19 years.
The Bearcats won eight of their last nine matches to end the 2011-12 campaign. Binghamton won its fifth straight America East crown, which ties for the third-longest active streak in the conference in any sport. Head coach Adam Cohen, named America East Coach of the Year for the third straight year and fourth overall, will graduate his top two singles players (A. Haggai and Devos) and two other veteran players.
No. 13 Ole Miss 4, Binghamton 0 (NCAA First Round)
1. #13 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (Ole Miss) led. Ruben Devos/Bastian Bornkessel (BU), 8-7
2. #17 Marcel Thiemann/Chris Thiemann (Ole Miss) def. Alexandre Haggai/Ismael Dinia (BU), 8-4
3. William Kallberg/Johan Backstrom (Ole Miss) def. Robin Lesage/Ruben Haggai (BU), 8-3
Order of finish: 3,2
1. #14 Nik Scholtz (Ole Miss) def. Alexandre Haggai (BU), 6-4, 6-3
2. #20 Marcel Thiemann (Ole Miss) def. Ruben Devos (BU), 6-7, 6-2, 6-2
3. #45 Jonas Lutjen (Ole Miss) def. Ismael Dinia (BU), 6-1, 7-5
4. #83 William Kallberg (Ole Miss) led. Robin Lesage (BU), 6-4, 3-2
5. Johan Backstrom (Ole Miss) led Ruben Haggai (BU), 6-1, 3-2
6. Florian van Kann (BU) vs. Adrian Skogeng (Ole Miss) did not start
Order of finish: 1,3,2