Gamecocks Travel to In-State Rival Clemson
March 4, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 40 South Carolina concludes its three-game road trip as it travels to No. 23 Clemson for a mid-week matchup on Wed., Mar. 4, at 2:30 p.m. at Hoke Sloan Tennis Center. The Gamecocks are working through a challenging early-season schedule and are primed to break through against a top-25 team in the archrival Tigers.
"We're playing really well, and this weekend the guys looked like they believed that they could win against a tough Texas A&M team," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "That's part of building a program - building a belief that you can upset the usual pecking order. We just didn't deliver it this weekend. The rivalry match is a great way to bounce back from something like that. We're playing great, and the guys are excited to play Clemson knowing that we're playing well. Clemson is ranked ahead of us, so it's a great opportunity for us. The last few years the matches have been close, and we're going to have to really bring it to win. They're a good team, a well-coached team. But, we're knocking on the door of winning a tough match this season, and we're going to battle to do that this week."
South Carolina is 7-5 on the season with the bright spots coming in the lower half of the singles lineup. Freshman Andrew Schafer continues to shine in the No. 6 spot in the order, putting together an 11-1 dual-match record to lead the team with 18 overall wins this season. He earned his second SEC Freshman of the Week award after scoring the lone singles point at Texas A&M last week. Senior Chip Cox is just behind Schafer with a 9-2 slate this spring, including five wins in his last six matches. A pair of Gamecocks at the top of the singles lineup are nationally ranked with No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov playing in the No. 1 spot with a 13-10 overall record this season. Junior Andrew Adams made his season debut in the national rankings last week, coming in at No. 112 and recently moving into the second spot in the South Carolina lineup.
Head coach Chuck McCuen is in his sixth year as head coach and his 12th season on the Clemson tennis staff. The Tigers are now 12-2 overall, including an upset over then-No. 10 Ole Miss and are flawless at home with nine wins. The doubles duo of Hunter Harrington and Dominique Maden are perfect in the No. 1 spot, posting nine wins. In singles play Harrington is 5-3 at the top of the Tigers' lineup, including an upset over then-No. 43 Rafael Aita. Maden plays in the No. 2 spot with a 7-2 record in dual-match play. Luke Johnson boasts a 10-1 record in dual matches and is perfect when playing in the Nos. 3 and 4 positions. The Tigers still lead the overall series between the to rivals, but the Gamecocks have had the better of play in the last six years, winning five of the last six outings.
South Carolina closes out its road stretch at No. 26 Florida on Sun., Mar. 9, at 1 p.m., before returning home for a Friday night match against No. 16 Georgia, on Mar. 14, at 5 p.m.