Jan. 25, 2018
2018 ITA Kick-Off Weekend
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- No. 25 South Carolina women's tennis (1-1) kicks off its home schedule by hosting the 2018 ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the first time in program history at the Carolina Tennis Center on Friday and Saturday.
The top-seeded Gamecocks will play four-seeded Oklahoma at 2 p.m. Friday, while two-seeded Southern California and three-seeded Clemson will face off at 10 a.m. The winner of each match will meet in the championship match at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the other teams will play in a consolation match at 10 a.m. The winner of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend will advance to the ITA Indoor Championships from Feb. 9-12 in Madison, Wis.
The Gamecocks are coming off a 4-0 dual match victory at the University of South Florida on Jan. 21 and a 4-3 loss at the University of Central Florida on Jan. 19. The Gamecocks are looking to advance to the ITA Indoor Championships for the first time since the ITA switched to its current format in 2009. The team also competed in the ITA National Indoors in 1996 and 2000. Last season, the then No. 16 Gamecocks were defeated by No. 21 Arizona State in the semifinal round of the Texas Tech Regional.
The Gamecocks have been in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend six times in program history, including appearances as the No. 2 seed in the 2017 Texas Tech Regional, the 2013 Michigan Regional, the 2012 Georgia Tech Regional, the 2011 Miami (Florida) Regional, the 2010 Arkansas Regional and the 2009 Duke Regional. The last time the Gamecocks won the semifinal match in the ITA Kick-Off was on Jan. 26, 2013 with a 4-3 win over Missouri at the Michigan Regional.
No. 43 Hadley Berg and No. 105 player Megan Davies hold the team's best individual singles records at 13-1 and 16-4, respectively. The No. 48-ranked doubles tandem of Davies and Silvia Chinellato is the team's most productive at 11-4 overall in fall and spring play this season.
"Having the opportunity to compete against great teams at home is always something we look forward to. We have been working hard in practice and are fired up about the opportunity to host such a high-quality event. We are hoping to improve in a few areas each week and these matches will be a great test for us this weekend." -- Head Coach Kevin Epley
- The Gamecocks are ranked at No. 25 in the nation by Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), it was announced Jan. 24.
- South Carolina finished the 2016-17 season with a 20-9 overall record and a No. 15 ranking by Oracle/ITA. 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 freshmen joined the team this fall, including Nikolina Jovic, Kennedy Wicker and Megan Davies.
- Ranked in singles: Hadley Berg (43), Megan Davies (105)
- Ranked in doubles: Berg and Rachel Rohrabacher (33), Davies and Silvia Chinellato (48)
- Berg is in sole possession of 10th on the career list for singles wins with 87, needing two more to tie Gira Schofield for ninth on the list. She is looking to become just the fourth player in school history with 100 wins.
- Berg is now eighth in school history for combined victories with 161. The senior needs nine more to tie Schofield.
- Berg's 13-1 singles record this season has her at 87-28 overall for her career, with a winning percentage of 75.7 that ranks seventh in school history.
- Epley is 15 wins away from reaching 100 at South Carolina and is 14 wins from 250 overall on his career.
- The Sooners (1-1) opened their season with a 4-0 loss at Auburn and a 4-1 win against Georgia State on Jan. 20. Last season, they finished 14-8 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 play.
- Ranked in singles: Lily Miyazaki (14)
- Last season, Miyazaki, who was named the 2017 ITA Central Region Player to Watch, was the first Oklahoma player to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships since 2004.
- Oklahoma's roster is composed of four freshmen, one sophomore and five seniors this season.
- The last time the Sooners competed in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend was in 2014, when they won the semifinal match, 4-0, against No. 35 Ole Miss at the Alabama Regional.
- Oklahoma is coached by Audra Cohen, who is in her second year with the program after spending the previous five seasons as the head coach at North Florida.
- The Tigers (2-0) opened the 2018 dual match season with a 7-0 win over Charleston Southern and a 4-0 win over Appalachian State on Jan. 20. Last season, they finished 13-12 and were 7-7 in the ACC. The team also received a bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament for the 16th consecutive year and the 18th time in 20 years under head coach Nancy Harris.
- Clemson has lost its last two meetings with the Gamecocks in dual match play, including a 4-3 loss in Columbia in 2016 and a 7-0 loss at Clemson last season.
- Ranked in singles: Marie Leduc (20)
- Last season, the Tigers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Team Tournament after a 4-2 win over Washington in the first round. Vanderbilt defeated the Tigers, 4-1, in the Round of 32.
- At last season's ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the Tigers were defeated by Kansas in the semifinal round of the Vanderbilt Regional. They also lost the consolation match to Virginia Tech.
- Clemson has hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend six times in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, advancing to the Indoor Championships all six times it hosted.
- The Clemson roster is composed of one freshman, three sophomores, three juniors and one senior.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
- The Trojans (2-1) opened the 2018 dual match season with a 6-1 win over San Diego and a 5-2 win over Loyola Marymount, but lost their most recent match to UC Santa Barbara. Last season, Southern California finished at 13-11 overall and went 6-4 in conference play.
- Southern California has hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend five times in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015, advancing to the Indoor Championships all fives times it hosted. It also advanced to the Indoor Championships in 2012 when it was the No. 2 seed in the Arizona State Regional.
- Ranked in singles: Gabby Smith (35), Madison Westby (85)
- Ranked in doubles: Angela Kulikov and Rianna Valdes (46)
- Southern California's roster is made up of one freshman, four sophomores, one junior and two seniors.
- Alison Swain was named the Trojans' head coach on June 7, 2017, after serving as the head coach at Williams College for 10 seasons. Swain led the Ephs to eight NCAA Division III team championships, including in the 2017 season.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
With a Palmetto Series point on the line, the Gamecocks will host in-state rival Clemson at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. South Carolina women's tennis owns a two-match winning streak over the Tigers, including a 7-0 win at Clemson in 2017.
For updates from ITA Kick-Off Weekend, continue to check back with GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).