South Carolina Opens SEC Play at Arkansas, LSU
March 3, 2011
South Carolina (6-2) suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at instate rival and 11th-ranked Clemson on Sunday. The Gamecocks failed to capture the doubles point after splitting the second and third positions and building a 6-3 lead on court one. South Carolina lost the top spot 9-7 and then split the six singles matches with the Tigers.
Arkansas (10-3) is coming off back-to-back victories against Colorado and Rice last weekend. The Razorbacks defeated the Buffs 7-0 while snagging a 5-2 win from No. 48 Rice. Arkansas made headlines earlier this spring it toppled then-No. 4 Notre Dame in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in South Bend, Ind., to reach the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Razorbacks posted a 1-2 record at the event, losing first to No. 2 Stanford and then bouncing back with a 4-0 triumph against No. 20 Washington. Arkansas lost to No. 6 California on the final day.
LSU (2-5) earned a 7-0 win in its last match against Xavier (New Orleans). LSU's other win this year came versus Tulane by a 4-3 count. The Tigers suffered a pair of 4-3 defeats earlier in the year at No. 32 Texas A&M and Rice. They also have loses against No. 54 Texas Tech, No. 37 SMU and Oklahoma State. The Tigers face No. 1 Florida on Friday before hosting the Gamecocks on Sunday.
The Gamecocks will use the same lineup as they did for their last two matches. Anya Morgina, ranked No. 65, will play the top singles position with a 3-5 record, Dijana Stojic is at two with a 5-3 mark and Madeleine Saari-Byström rounds out the top half at three where she is 6-2. At No. 4 singles, Katerina Popova is 4-2 on the year, Dominika Kanakova is 5-1 at five and Josefin Andersson holds a 2-2 record at six. For doubles, 54th-ranked Kanakova and Stojic occupy No. 1 doubles at 5-2, Andersson and Saari-Byström are 4-2 playing two, and Popova and Morgina are 5-2 at No. 3 doubles.
Arkansas has used a variety of lineups this season and will use the same one as it did against Rice for its last match. Anouk Tigu, ranked 23rd nationally, holds down the No. 1 position with a 7-2 record this year. Kate Lukomskaya is listed at No. 2 with a 2-7 record and Stephanie Roy will play at No. 3 singles for just the second time this year. She won her first try against Rice and is 10-3 overall in duals. Claudine Paulson, Emily Carbone and Jade Frampton round out the four, five and six positions where they are 1-1, 2-0 and 6-0. Tigu and Paulson play the top slot in doubles with a 7-3 record and are currently ranked 34th. At two are Roy and Lukomskaya, who are 5-3 there, while Valentina Starkova and Frampton have a 6-6 mark at No. 3 doubles.
LSU uses Whitney Wolf at No. 1 singles, where she is 3-3 on the year. Kaitlin Burns is 0-2 so far at two singles, Ebie Wilson will play No. 3 singles for the first time after going 5-1 at four and five, and Keri Frankenberger will play at four singles after going a combined 1-6 at the top three positions. Yvette Vlaar has a 1-2 mark playing five singles and Alexus Coates finishes out the lineup playing in just her second dual match of the year. Burns and Wolf occupy No. 1 doubles, followed by Vlaar and Frankenerger at two, and Wilson and Ariel Morton on court three.
South Carolina has enjoyed success against both Arkansas and LSU in the past. The Gamecocks are 19-4 versus Arkansas in the all-time series and have not lost to the Razorbacks in Fayetteville since 1999. Last season, South Carolina won a 6-1 decision. South Carolina is 18-3 in its 21 prior meetings with LSU, however, Baton Rouge has been a difficult site for the Gamecocks in their last three visits. Carolina has lost two of its last three trips to Louisiana to face the Tigers, losing 4-3 in 2005 and 5-2 in 2009. The Gamecocks escaped with a 4-3 victory in 2007.
The Gamecocks will continue SEC play next week when they host Auburn on Friday at 2 p.m. and then No. 34 Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m.