March 28, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The No. 65 South Carolina women's tennis team scored a 4-1 victory against No. 49 LSU on Friday night at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks improved to 11-8 overall and 2-6 in the SEC while snapping a six-match losing streak. LSU dropped to 9-9 on the season and 2-7 in league play.
The Gamecocks needed less than an hour to take the doubles point from the Tigers, winning handily on courts one and three. No. 54 Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova won first at court one with an 8-2 triumph over Skylar Holloway and Gabrielle Otero. Minutes later, Caroline Dailey and Brigit Folland clinched the point with an 8-4 decision against Noel Scott and Ella Taylor. Meghan Blevins and Katerina Popova nearly won their match before court three clinched, as they led Abigail Owens and Joana Vale Costa 7-2 at the No. 2 spot.
Blevins wasted no time pushing the Gamecocks' lead to 2-0, ousting Otero in straight sets 6-3, 6-0. With the win, the Charleston, S.C., native improve to a team-best 12-4 in dual matches and 4-3 in SEC play. Blevins is also a stellar 11-1 at No. 4 singles.
Blevins' match was the only one that went quick of the first four, though. No. 117 Lechemia took the first set from No. 88 Vale Costa 6-1 but found herself in a battle for the second on court one knotted up at 4-all after eight games. Popova held off Scott in the first 6-4 and had to fight for a 3-1 lead in the second. At No. 3 singles, No. 122 Folland lost the first to Owens 6-3, but she bounced back to win the second 6-2 and forced a decisive third set.
Lechemia ended up losing the second set 6-4, but Popova held steady for a 6-4, 6-2 triumph against Scott at two to put Carolina on top 3-0. The win moved Popova to 16-8 on the season and 11-4 in duals. As Popova finished off her opponent, Lechemia raced ahead of Vale Costa 3-0 in the third.
Folland ended up suffering a 6-3 loss in the third to Owens to give the Tigers their first and only point. It became a race between Lechemia and Dailey as to which player would secure the win for the Gamecocks. Lechemia took a 5-2 lead on Vale Costa, as did Dailey in the second set versus Taylor at five, and Dailey finished first with a 6-3, 6-2 win. Dailey upped her record to 17-8 overall, the most wins on the squad, while also improving to 9-4 in dual matches.
Ximena Siles Luna and Holloway managed to play just six games at No. 6 singles when Dailey gave the Gamecocks the win. The match was suspended at 3-all.
South Carolina returns home Sunday to face No. 45 Arkansas at 12:30 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center.
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