Jan. 24, 2012
"I think you have to be excited," head coach Arlo Elkins said. "We've been waiting for this facility for a long time. We're really looking forward to it. The weather's supposed to be great tomorrow and who would of thought in mid-January we'd have a day where we could play out? We hadn't planned on playing this match outside, but with the weather forecast and waiting so long for this facility and being so glad it's finished, we're going to give it a go out here tomorrow."
Furman enters the match with a 1-1 record after splitting a pair of matches to Georgia State and Florida International last weekend. The Paladins suffered a 4-3 setback to then-No. 58 GSU on Saturday, but recovered to win 4-3 over the then-No. 72 Panthers the next day.
The Gamecocks have won 28 straight against the Paladins dating back to 1978. The 2012 season marks the 14th consecutive season the two squads from the Palmetto State will meet during the regular season. South Carolina scored a 6-1 win from Furman last season, taking its only loss at the No. 1 singles spot.
South Carolina had a very successful fall as a team. Combined, the Gamecocks were 59-20 in singles matches and finished 23-13 in doubles. Anya Morgina, Jaklin Alawi and Dijana Stojic all earned national rankings in the first set of individual rankings for the spring as a result.
"I do think we had a very good fall, so I think that says a lot where the rankings ended up," Elkins said. "I think that bodes well for us, but you have to understand too that rankings are just that, they're just rankings. You have to perform and you have to do what you need to do on the court to maintain those rankings."
Morgina topped the list at No. 20 after posting a 7-3 record during the fall. Her signature wins came against Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State, Brynn Boren of Tennessee, Ekaterina Morozova from Kansas and Michigan's Sam Critser. Morgina held a fall ranking of 30th, while Niedermayerova was 35th, Boren was 31st, Morozova was 76th, and Critser was 48th. The No. 20 ranking is the highest of Morgina's career and the best by a Gamecock since Ana Marija Zubori started the 2009 campaign ranked 14th.
Alawi checked in at No. 33 after leading the Gamecocks in victories during the fall with an 11-2 record. Her key win during the fall came against Boren from Tennessee and she defeated Amy Barton of Michigan State, who was ranked No. 112 in the fall. Alawi, who was unranked during the fall, also beat Caroline Price from North Carolina. Price did not hold a ranking during the fall but turned in solid results and is ranked No. 55 in the latest rankings.
Stojic is ranked No. 80, the best start to a spring for her career. Her big wins occurred during the qualifying rounds of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships in October when she first defeated Annie Goransson from California and Shannon Mathews of Notre Dame. Goransson was ranked No. 57 in the fall and Mathews was 38th. Stojic also scored a win over Lauren Mira from Vanderbilt, ranked 110th in the fall and now listed at No. 69.
Following the Furman contest, South Carolina will head to Atlanta for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend hosted by Georgia Tech. The Gamecocks are set to play No. 43 William & Mary on Friday at 10 a.m. and will then face either No. 13 Georgia Tech or No. 54 Georgia State on Saturday.
ABOUT CAROLINA TENNIS CENTER
Carolina Tennis Center, completed in January 2012, serves as the new home for both the men's and women's tennis teams. It features 12 courts with lights and scoreboards on each one. Each side of six courts also has a master scoreboard so fans always know what is happening on each court. The center accommodates seating for over 700 fans and there is also 900 square feet of dedicated restroom space.
Fans attending the match should park in the Heyward Street parking garage on levels three, four and five. Parking in the garage is free and Carolina Tennis Center is just a short walk along a paved path from the garage. Admission to tennis matches is also free.
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