May 13, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -The No. 42 South Carolina men's tennis team closed out its 2006 season on Saturday with a 4-1 loss to No. 24 Clemson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, played at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Gamecocks finished the year with a 14-15 overall record and made the school's 13th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a streak that ranks sixth nationally. Clemson moves on to face No. 11-seed North Carolina in Sunday's second round.
South Carolina turned in an excellent performance in doubles action, but Clemson battled back to win four straight singles matches for the victory.
Carolina's Tom Ekund and Pedro Rodrigues claimed an 8-2 victory over Jarmaine Jenkins and Clement Reix at No. 1 doubles, opening the door for Jaime Cuellar and Yevgeny Supeko at No. 2 doubles. The duo avenged a regular season loss to the Tigers and sealed the doubles point for the Gamecocks with an 8-2 win against Sander Koning and Ryan Young.
The Tigers regrouped and came out ready to play in singles. Clemson took a 2-1 lead, courtesy of wins by Koning at No. 2 and Young at No. 4. Koning defeated Cuellar, 6-1, 6-2, and Supeko fell to Young, 6-1, 6-1.
Matches on Courts 1 and 3 went to three sets, but they were left undecided as Clemson added two straight-set wins to score the points to end the match. Twente topped Adler, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 singles while Clint Boling secured the victory with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Babenko at No. 5 singles.
In a season where the Gamecocks battled injury, 14 of South Carolina's 15 losses came to teams ranked in the top 50 and 11 were to top-25 foes.
Seniors Eklund and Adler played in their final matches for Carolina today. Eklund, who won USC's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and the athletic department's Inspiration Award for his determination to play through near constant back pain, wraps up his career tied for 12th in career doubles wins with 64.
Clemson 4, South Carolina 1
Doubles No. 1 Tom Eklund/Pedro Rodriges (SC) def. Clement Reix/Jarmaine Jenkins, 8-2 No. 2 Jaime Cuellar/Yevgeny Supeko (SC) def. Sander Koning/Ryan Young, 8-2 No. 3 Paul Koenke/Brett Twente (CU) vs. Dmitry Babenko/Adam Adler (SC), 7-4 susp.
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