Sept. 21, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - South Carolina men's tennis closed play in the SEC Fall Classic with its freshman doubles team of Thomas Mayronne and Harrison O'Keefe claiming second place in their first collegiate competition. The duo earned three of their four wins in tiebreaks, but the nation's No. 42 tandem from Florida ended the run in the final. In singles action Sunday, Kyle Koch lost a tough three-setter in the quarterfinals.
"This tournament gave us exactly what we needed at this point in the year," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "We wanted quality matches against quality opponents, and that's what we got. This is the developmental phase of our season, so we needed to see where our games are being exposed and also where we have gotten better. Overall, results were fair. I was happy to see Kyle [Koch] and [Andrew] Schafer get some good wins in singles, but I'm most impressed with our freshman doubles team breaking through and making the finals of an SEC event. Very impressive. We'll get back to work now on those areas we need to improve before our next tournament."
Koch's quarterfinal match opened the day, and he rallied back from a 6-3 first-set loss to No. 70 Gordon Watson of Florida to win the second by the same score. The Gators' junior, who played a majority of last season in the second spot in the singles lineup, used the home court to his advantage in the third set, claiming it 6-3 to move into the semifinals. In fact, Gators ended up filling all four semifinal spots to set up an intrasquad battle for the title on Monday.
Mayronne and O'Keefe opened the tournament on Friday with a tiebreak win over the No. 37 team in the nation, a notable outcome in their first collegiate competition. Another tiebreak moved them into Saturday's quarterfinals, where a dominant effort moved them into Sunday's semis against Stefan Lindmark and Ricardo Jorge of Ole Miss. The match went down to the wire, and Mayronne and O'Keefe delivered under pressure once again with an 8-7 (6) victory to move into the final. In that match, the Gators' duo of Watson and Diego Hidalgo, ranked 42nd in the nation, got off to a quick start with a 3-0 edge and never let the Gamecock freshmen get back in the match, picking up an 8-2 victory.
The Gamecocks return to Columbia to further hone their games until heading to Cary, N.C., for the ITA Carolina Regional Oct. 16-20.
South Carolina ResultsSingles
(70) Gordon Watson (UF) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
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