Gamecocks Fight Back to Edge Auburn 4-3
March 11, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The 44th-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team (7-4, 1-2 SEC) recovered from losing the doubles point Friday to upend Auburn (2-10, 0-3 SEC) by a 4-3 score at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The win snapped a three-match losing streak by the Gamecocks, who will host No. 33 Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I hope it gives us the confidence we've been looking for," head coach Arlo Elkins said. "Any time you lose the doubles point and can come back, I think that shows good fight and it shows good focus in what we're trying to accomplish out here in singles. We've done that a couple times this year. We did it against Illinois up at Illinois and now we do it here against Auburn. It's very good to see and hopefully that will give us the confidence we need going in to Sunday's match with Alabama."
South Carolina jumped on the Tigers at the No. 1 position in doubles with Dominika Kanakova and Dijana Stojic taking down Paulina Schippers and Olivia Bennett 8-2. Bennett and Schippers won the first game of the match, but it was Kanakova and Stojic who claimed eight of the next nine games.
Auburn managed to take the remaining two matches on court. First, Plamena Kurteva and Jacqueline Kasler defeated Miljana Jocic and Anya Morgina 8-4 at the No. 2 position. The final contest on court three saw Caroline Thornton and Taylor Schreimann earn an 8-5 triumph over Madeleine Saari-Byström and Katerina Popova to give the Tigers the early 1-0 advantage.
The Gamecocks bounced back in singles, picking up wins from the entire top half of the lineup along with No. 6 singles. Morgina began the rally on court one, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Schippers. The victory upped Morgina's record on the year to 15-9 and 5-6 at No. 1 singles. She is tied for the team lead in wins with Kanakova.
Adriana Pereira made a huge impact for South Carolina in her return to the lineup at No. 6 singles. The sophomore showed off the skill that helped her go 9-2 in the SEC last year with a 6-2, 6-0 win against Schreimann to put Carolina on top 2-1.
Kasler captured a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win over Kanakova on court five to break the Gamecock freshman's six-match unbeaten streak, and Kurteva beat Saari-Byström 6-1, 6-4 at four to put Auburn back on top 3-2. Kanakova trailed 5-3 in her first set before winning three straight games. In the tiebreaker, Kasler raced out to a 5-1 lead, but Kanakova cut the deficit to 5-4 before losing the next two rallies.
Popova knotted the score at 3-all after winning 6-4, 6-2 over Thornton at No. 3 singles, silencing a large contingent on hand to support the Charleston, S.C., native Thornton. Within a couple minutes of her win, Stojic sealed the win for Carolina with an uncharacteristic ace up 40-30 and 6-5 in the second set to defeat Bennett 6-1, 7-5.
"The serve's not her strong point, but I've seen her more than once when it gets down to a crucial point, she seems to come up with a big serve, and she did it again today," Elkins said.
Alabama (7-3, 0-1 SEC) is facing No. 1-ranked Florida in a night match in Gainesville, Fla., tonight. At the time of this release, the Crimson Tide lost the doubles point to the Gators.
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3