First Round Opponent: No. 30 Texas A&M (13-14)
Date: Saturday, May 12, 2012 Time: Noon (ET) Location: Los Angeles, Calif. Stadium: Marks Stadium (Southern Cal) Live Stats:www.streamingtennis.com/USC/index.html
Scouting South Carolina
The No. 41 Gamecocks doubled their overall and SEC win totals from last season as the nation's No. 3 recruiting class infused the lineup with a depth of talent. South Carolina enters the NCAA Tournament with a 15-11 overall record, including a 2-9 mark in league action. The slate includes seven wins over ranked teams with five of those coming on the road.
For a majority of the season, second-year head coach Josh Goffi has placed three freshmen and two sophomores in the lineup, and the young guns have come into form against the stiff competition in the SEC. South Carolina split its last 10 regular-season matches and won two of its final five league contests, including a win at Arkansas for its first road league win since March 2009.
Head coach Josh Goffi anticipates using the following lineup in NCAA Tournament action: Doubles
1. #23 Chip Cox/Nick Jones
2. Ivan Machado/Thiago Pinheiro
3. Kyle Koch/Carl Eguez
The Gamecocks hold a 3-1 edge over Texas A&M in the all-time series between the two schools, however, the future SEC rivals have not matched up on the tennis courts since 1991. The Aggies claimed the first win of the series in 1984 before South Carolina won the next three in 1986, 1989 and 1991, all of which were played as part of the H.E. Butt Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Matching Up with the Aggies
Unlike the Gamecocks, Texas A&M boasts three seniors among its singles lineup, led by No. 33 Alexis Klegou, who is 17-15 on the season, including a 9-9 mark at the top spot in the order. Three Aggies have reached the 20-win plateau on the season. Senior John Lewis' 24-10 record leads the team and includes a 14-7 mark in dual-match play. Freshman Jeremy Efferding is 22-16 in his first collegiate season, but has posted just a 10-11 mark in dual matches. Colin Hoover rounds out the trio with a 21-16 mark, highlighted by his 6-2 mark in the No. 3 spot in the order. In doubles, the duo of Ore and Jackson Withrow hold the No. 37 spot in the rankings behind a 14-9 record in the top spot in the Aggie lineup.
The Gamecocks will be the third SEC team Texas A&M plays this season. The Aggies dropped a 4-0 decision to Kentucky in the ITA Team Championships in mid-February then battled LSU before falling short 4-3 in Baton Rouge just 11 days later.
Gamecocks in the NCAA Tournament
South Carolina is 13-19 in NCAA Tournament matches, spanning 19 appearances in the event. The Gamecocks last made the field in 2009. South Carolina has played in the Round of 16 six times, most recently in 2005, and the program's best showing was a spot in the semifinals of the 1989 tournament. The Gamecocks earned spots in the NCAA Tournament for 13 straight seasons from 1994 through 2006.
Reading the Rankings
In the first computer-generated rankings of the season (Feb. 28), South Carolina was ranked No. 22 behind a 10-1 record heading into SEC action. It was the highest ranking for the program since the week of April 5, 2005. Since then, the Gamecocks have hovered around the No. 35-40 mark and enter the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 41.
Individually, a pair of Gamecocks are in the most recent national rankings. Senior Ivan Machado is No. 115 in the nation with a 15-16 overall record, and freshman Andrew Adams made his ranking debut in the No. 122 spot. In doubles, the Gamecocks' top tandem of Chip Cox and Nick Jones hold the No. 23 spot in the nation and earned a spot in the upcoming NCAA Doubles Championship. The duo is 7-8 overall, including a 6-3 mark in SEC matches and a 5-1 mark against top-50 foes.
All A's for Adams
Freshman Andrew Adams has put together one of the best freshman seasons in South Carolina history, and his effort has not gone unnoticed by opposing coaches. Adams earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors behind a 28-10 singles record that includes a 20-6 mark in dual matches. His 28 wins are the fourth-most all-time by a Gamecock freshman and his 38 matches played are seventh in the class standings as well.
The Laurel, Md., product's team-best win total has come as one of just seven true freshman in the SEC regularly playing among his team's top three singles spots. Adams is 11-2 in the No. 2 spot in the order and 9-3 playing No. 3. Just of five members of that group have six or more league wins, including Adams, and his 28 total wins are the most out of that group.
Senior Swan Song
Not to be lost among the youth movement on the Gamecock roster is senior Ivan Machado, who will close out his career ranked among the program's top 20 in several categories. A participant in the 2009 NCAA Doubles Championships, the Brazilian has been a fixture in the singles and doubles lineups all four years of his career.
Machado holds the school record for dual-match doubles matches played in a career at 96, and he is third overall in doubles matches played with 127. His 63 doubles victories stands 11th in school history, and his 44 dual-match wins on the doubles court are the eighth-most all-time.
Koch on the Move Kyle Koch has provided steady results in both singles and doubles this season, already proving to be one of the busiest freshmen in school history. His 71 combined singles and doubles matches are the third-most all-time by a Gamecock freshmen, and his 45 combined victories are seventh-most. Koch has been his most productive on the doubles court where his 25 victories rank 10th in school history, second among Gamecock freshmen. With 18 of those wins coming in dual-match play, Koch is fourth in the standings in that category.
Head Coach Josh Goffi
South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi wasted little time in rebuilding the Gamecock program. He signed the nation's No. 3 recruiting class in 2011, and developed that group into a team that produced the program's most dual-match wins since 2009.
Prior to his arrival at South Carolina in July 2010, Goffi logged four seasons as an assistant coach - the last two of which came at Duke University, where he solidified his reputation as an elite recruiter by helping to deliver the nation's top ranked recruiting class in 2010.