Men's Tennis Returns Home For Weekend Action|
Feb. 20, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 31 South Carolina (5-4) returns to action this weekend hosting No. 56 USF (5-0) on Fri., Feb. 21, and No. 44 San Diego (2-2) on Sun., Feb. 23, at Carolina Tennis Center. Friday's action is set for 4 p.m. with Sunday's match beginning at 11 a.m. The Gamecocks are looking to reset after a short break, having not competed since Feb. 9, at NC State.
"It has been a great two weeks of practice," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "In the last two matches, we got better even though we lost, and things are starting to come around. The guys that had been injured all fall are starting to really look like they're back to being in shape. So, things are moving in the right direction, and we're happy. We have great competition coming in, so it's going to be another good test for us. We're just looking at it as another opportunity to get better."
The Gamecocks return to the courts looking toward freshman Andrew Schafer to maintain the consistency he has displayed early in the dual-match season. Garnering SEC Freshman of the Week honors and jumping to the No. 88 spot in the country, the Hilton Head Island, S.C., native is currently 8-1 in dual-match play, mostly in the No. 6 spot, falling only once in a tiebreak. Junior Chip Cox has won three of his last four matches, predominately in the No. 5 spot, with a 7-1 record in dual-match play. South Carolina's duo of senior Tsvetan Mihov and junior Thiago Pinheiro, have moved up to the top spot in the doubles lineup, as well as the No. 39 doubles ranking in the country.
Head coach Matt Hill leads the young Bulls in his second season as USF head coach. In his first season, USF posted a 12-10 record, finishing at No. 74 in the nation. The Bulls record is unblemished at 5-0, including two wins on the road against No. 54 Texas Tech and No. 60 Miami. Ranked No. 22 in the nation, Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz hold a perfect 4-0 doubles record. In singles play, No. 64 Roberto Cid, back-to-back American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, has had an impressive spring campaign thus far with a perfect 5-0 mark in dual-match play. No. 99 Sasha Gozan, who yields a 3-2 record, joins him in the singles rankings.
In his fifth year as head coach, Brett Masi returns five players from last season, during which the Toreros went 18-10 finished third in the West Coast Conference. The Toreros started off this season 2-2, their losses coming to then-No. 12 Pepperdine and No. 33 Alabama. Lone senior No. 78 Clarke Spinosa leads San Diego in singles with a record of 2-2. In doubles play, No. 48 Filip Vittek and Spinosa have a 2-2 record in the No. 1 spot. Meanwhile, Ciaran Fitzgerald and Andrew Raphaelson have achieved a flawless record, dominating in the No. 3 spot. The all-time series between South Carolina and San Diego is tied, 2-2.
The Gamecocks hit the road to open SEC play next week against No. 8 Texas A&M on Sun., Mar. 2.