May 20, 2006
Texas (25-3) captured the Big 12 title this season and achieved highest ranking (No. 3) since 1993 ... Longhorns jumped out to 16-1 start this season ... UT is in round of 16 for first time since 2003 ... Last reached quarter finals in `97 ... Made its only semi final appearance in `93 ... Ole Miss reached last year's NCAA semi finals, its fourth final four appearance ... This is its 11th Sweet 16 appearance ... Has made one final appearance in `95 (lost to Stanford) ... Two of Rebels' six losses have been to No. 1 Georgia, including in the SEC final last month ... Bay Area connection: UT coach Michael Center was a volunteer assistant coach for Stanford's 1997-98 NCAA championship teams while working as a stockbroker in the area.
Texas Head Coach Michael Center
Opening Statement: "Well I knew they would be a great test for us, they were a final four team last year. We don't see them much during the year, we don't know them very well. I knew they had really good doubles, but we have really good doubles, so I thought that was going to be a key point today. When we got that point and we were controlling singles, we got five first sets, but most elite programs, and I put Mississippi in that category, are really hard to put away. They kept hanging in there, but in the end our guys played like they have all year - they played really tough and got the job done."
On the keys to today's win: "I think the key to our season has been that we're really competitive at every spot. I think you saw that again today, we were in every match. We were putting pressure on them the whole time. We were ahead, they were having to fight back. We don't give away points very easily and once again, I felt that was the secret to our success, the depth and the competitiveness in our team."
On tomorrow's quarterfinal match vs. No. 6 Ohio State: "Ohio State is 28-1 and have unbelievable doubles and seniors down at the bottom, they're really good. We don't know them that well either, we haven't seen a lot of them. When you get to the final eight, everyone is good. To win a match at this point, you're going to have to play great tennis. We're going to have to come out again tomorrow and play really well, but we like our chances against anyone. We like our team and we'll be excited to play again tomorrow."
Ole Miss Head Coach Billy Chadwick
Opening Statement: "Texas played real well. They came out and played extremely well at 2 and 3 doubles. And that really ultimately set the tone for the match. It was 4-1, but it was a very, very close 4-1. It was just a well fought match. We knew it was going to be tight. They did a better job at winning the big points."
On how his team played today: "I felt that if I look at it real close, the doubles point, really hinged on the number 3 doubles. I'm not sure we've been beaten the entire year at the 3 doubles. There may have been a couple of times we stopped the match when we were playing, and this was the first team we played that we felt they were better than we were at 3 doubles. And we are used to getting the number 3 and I think that was really truly the difference in the match. Because it was hard to tell. We were up 4-2 at number 1, we had come back to win the second set and had some momentum at number 4, so it was really hinging. We needed one more point and it could have been the doubles point but they played too well and the person at 6 played extremely well too."