Gamecocks Score Late Wins to Hold Off Auburn
March 22, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - No. 34 South Carolina rallied to win the last three matches on court to stave off a charge from No. 35 Auburn in a 5-2 win at Yarbrough Tennis Center Friday afternoon. The Gamecocks' top doubles team of Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov defeated the nation's third-ranked tandem to clinch the first point of the match for South Carolina. After Auburn narrowed it to 2-2, Andrew Adams finished off his singles win, and Harry Menzies fought back from a set down to win the next two and deliver the match victory.
"Our team really came to play today," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "All three doubles teams were intense and locked in from the start. We competed as a team, and it showed when matches got tight in singles. Hopefully we can pick up some momentum from today's solid performance and carry it into Sunday's match."
The Gamecocks stormed out of the gate, winning all three doubles matches. After Kyle Koch and Menzies finished off their 8-4 win in the No. 2 match, the top of the lineup was in a battle of ranked teams. Cox and Mihov brought a No. 50 ranking into the match, but got in front of No. 3 Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies midway through the set and held on for the 8-5 victory that delivered the first point of the match for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina looked to carry that high into singles action, but the two teams split the first sets across the six courts. Koch was the first to sprint out to a lead, claiming his first set 6-2 over Lucas Lopasso, with Adams and Thiago Pinheiro winning the first sets against their nationally ranked foes. At the top of the order, Mihov fell behind No. 46 Mies, allowing the Tigers to tie the match at 1-1.
Koch continued to thrive in SEC play, improving to 4-0 on the season after posting a 6-2 second set over Lopasso in the No. 5 match to put South Carolina up 2-1. Dennis Lengsfeld knotted the match at 2-2 with a second-set tiebreak over Cox in the No. 4 match, finishing 6-4, 7-6.
The Gamecocks had been in several tight matches before, and the experience paid off. Adams and Pinheiro were both headed into second-set tiebreaks, and Menzies had leveled his No. 6 match at a set each to hold off the Tigers' surge. The emotion of that comeback sparked the Gamecocks. Adams finished off No. 86 Cochrane 6-3, 7-6 to put South Carolina up 3-2, but Pinheiro was headed to a third set with No. 85 Lukas Ollert.
Menzies carried the momentum into the third set, finishing off Van Dooren 6-3 to deliver his first SEC win of the season and the team victory for the Gamecocks. Pinheiro fed off the energy and closed out Ollert 6-1 in the third set to remain undefeated in three-set matches this season.
South Carolina closes out its four-match road stretch on Sun., March 24, at Alabama. The Gamecocks return to Carolina Tennis Center for a pair of home matches next weekend.
#34 South Carolina 5, #35 Auburn 2Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3)
1. (50) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. (3) Daniel Cochrane/Andreas Mies (AU) 8-5
2. Kyle Koch / Harry Menzies (SC) def. Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU) 8-4
3. Ben Barnette/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) led Lukas Ollert/Joseph Van Dooren (AU) 7-6 suspended
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 5, 4, 2, 6*, 3)