Jan. 12, 2018
Women's Tennis at the FGCU Spring Invite
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 15 South Carolina women's tennis will open its 2018 spring season competing at the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Spring Invite from Saturday to Monday.
The Gamecocks will face five opponents in the invitational tournament, including FGCU, No. 23 Ole Miss, Rice, Denver and Kansas. They open day one by facing players from Kansas and Denver in doubles, beginning at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively. The Gamecocks' first singles action is at 2 p.m. Saturday against players from Ole Miss.
Day two on Sunday begins with doubles against Rice at 9 a.m. and continues with a round of singles action against FGCU at 10 a.m. The tournament wraps up for the Gamecocks with singles against Kansas on Monday at a time to be announced.
For updates, continue to check back with GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
"We're very excited to get out and compete for the first time in the spring and see where we are after the break. We've been practicing hard all week. We're going to try some new doubles combinations. We've got a lot of tough matches out there and we're going to see some SEC competition as well, so we're just really excited to get out and compete and just get a feel for what we've got this season."
-- Head Coach Kevin Epley
- The Gamecocks are ranked at No. 15 in the nation by Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), it was announced on Jan. 3.
- South Carolina finished the 2016-17 season with a 20-9 overall record and a No. 15 ranking. Epley was named the Wilson/ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year for the team's performance in 2017.
- The Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season for the first time since 2009, marking their 23rd consecutive postseason appearance.
- South Carolina sent two singles players, Mia Horvit and Ingrid Gamarra Martins, to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Singles Championship for the first time since 1983 when Laura Bernstein and Ellen Oxreider both moved on. Horvit went on to reach the round of 16, making her the first singles All-American for South Carolina since Bernstein in 1983.
- Three new freshmen joined the team this fall, including Nikolina Jovic, Kennedy Wicker and Megan Davies.
- Ranked in singles: Hadley Berg (48), Megan Davies (105)
- Ranked in doubles: Berg and Rachel Rohrabacher (33), Davies and Silvia Chinellato (48)
- Berg led the Gamecocks with a 10-1 (.909) singles record in the fall, and the duo of Chinellato and Davies led the team with a 9-3 (.750) doubles record.
SCOUTING FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY
- The Eagles finished the 2016-17 season with a 15-5 overall record and were 6-0 in ASUN Conference play.
- Despite an undefeated run in regular season conference play, the Eagles suffered a 4-3 loss to UNF in the 2017 ASUN Championship.
- Ranked in doubles: Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang (12)
- The Owls finished the 2016-17 season at 18-6 overall and went 6-0 in conference play.
- Rice earned its fifth consecutive Conference-USA title after defeating UTSA, North Texas and Florida International in the 2017 Conference-USA Championship.
- Rice was eliminated by TCU, 4-0, in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
SCOUTING NO. 23 OLE MISS
- Ranked in singles: Arianne Hartono (50), Sabina Machalova (62), Natalie Suk (81), Tea Jandric (95)
- Ranked in doubles: Alexa Bortles and Hartono (13), Suk and Machalova (22), Anna Vrbenska and Tea Jandric (58)
- The Rebels were defeated by South Carolina, 4-2, in match play last season in Columbia.
- Ole Miss was eliminated in the second round of the 2017 NCAA team tournament, falling 4-1 to North Carolina.
- Hartono advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2017 NCAA Singles Championship, and earned the ITA Southern Regional singles title this fall.
- Ranked in singles: Julia O' Loughlin (65)
- Ranked in doubles: Bianca Mok and Camille Verden-Anderson (35)
- The Pioneers finished the 2016-17 season with a 19-7 overall record and were 8-0 in conference play, capturing their fourth straight Summit League title.
- Last season, Denver earned its second-ever team win in the NCAA Tournament and its first since 2008, upsetting No. 25 Southern Cal, 4-2, in the Round of 64. The Pioneers were eliminated in the Round of 32 by Texas Tech, 4-1.
- The doubles tandem of O'Loughlin and Maureen Slattery, who became Denver's first program All-Americans, advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Doubles Championship last season -- the deepest doubles team run in Summit League history.
- Anastasia Rychagova is the highest-ranked singles player in Division I, according to the Oracle/ITA national polls.
- Ranked in singles: Anastasia Rychagova (1), Janet Koch (90), Despoina Vogasari (94) and Nina Khmelnitckaia (112).
- Ranked in doubles: Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova (38)
- In the 2016-17 season, Kansas finished with a 13-11 overall record and was 4-5 in conference play. The team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Notre Dame, while the doubles tandem of Khmelnitckaia and Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum advanced to the Round of 16 with a victory over Mississippi State.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks will return to the Sunshine State for their first test in match play of the 2018 spring campaign. The team faces UCF at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 19 at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in Orlando and USF at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 21 at the USF Tennis Complex in Tampa.