Pinheiro Named SEC Player of the Week
April 16, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina sophomore Thiago Pinheiro earned SEC Player of the Week honors, the league announced today, after helping the No. 22 Gamecocks to a pair of top-15 wins last week. Pinheiro's undefeated weekend, including the match-clinching win against No. 13 Vanderbilt, garnered him the first weekly award of his career.
"Thiago puts all he has into the team, and it's great seeing him recognized by the SEC for his outstanding play this week," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "In my opinion, he could have received this award many times throughout the season for his exceptional play and leadership. I'm very happy for him."
Pinheiro's two doubles and two singles wins against Vanderbilt and No. 8 Kentucky were critical to the Gamecocks' biggest team victories since 2005. The sophomore played phenomenal tennis against No. 13 Vanderbilt, teaming with Andrew Adams for a dominant 8-0 win in a doubles match that took under 30 minutes. Pinheiro went on to clinch the program's first win over a top-15 team since 2009 with an efficient 6-3, 6-1 victory in the No. 3 singles position.
Against No. 8 Kentucky, the doubles point came down the No. 3 match, which went to a tiebreak. Pinheiro was strong at the net to establish a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, and the Gamecock duo went on to win it 7-4 to put the team up 1-0. The early lead was essential as the Wildcats claimed the first three singles matches to finish. Pinheiro's 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles sent the momentum back to South Carolina, and Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies went on to close out the victory. The Gamecocks' win over the Wildcats was the program's highest-ranked win since 2005 and tied the school record as the seventh SEC win of the eason.
South Carolina begins play in the SEC Tournament on Thu., April 19. The Gamecocks will face 11th-seeded LSU at 10 a.m. (ET) at Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss.