Gamecocks Take a Break From SEC Play, Host VCU on Wednesday
March 15, 2011
South Carolina improved to 8-4 and 2-2 in the SEC last week thanks to a pair of home conference wins over Auburn and No. 33 Alabama. The Gamecocks lost the doubles point to the Tigers but recovered to win courts one, two, three and six in singles to earn their second win of the season when losing doubles. Dijana Stojic provided the clinching point in singles as the last match on court with a straight-set win at the No. 2 position.
Versus Alabama, South Carolina played its best tennis of the season so far. The Crimson Tide entered the match having lost the doubles point just once and had combined dual match records of 23-5 at the three positions. The Gamecocks pulled off wins on courts one and two to capture the point. Dominika Kanakova and Stojic beat the No. 7-ranked duo in the nation at one, while Miljana Jocic and Anya Morgina came back from a 7-5 deficit to win 7-3 in a tiebreaker. In singles, South Carolina won at the same positions as it did against Auburn to win 5-2. Stojic scored the fourth point in beating No. 69 Alexa Guarachi at two singles to clinch her fourth match of the year.
The Rams come to Columbia following a 5-2 loss to N.C. State on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. The loss snapped a nine-match winning streak for VCU that dated back to Jan. 30. Overall, VCU is 14-2 on the season with its only other loss coming at the hands of No. 11 Georgia in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Against N.C. State, VCU lost the doubles point, but the Rams did pull off a big win on court one with Kateryna Yergina and Alex Bara defeating No. 11-ranked Sanaa Bhambri and Sandhya Nagaraj. Bara also won her match in singles at the No. 3 position to stay unbeaten this spring at 12-0. Daria Yavkleva picked up VCU's other win in singles play in straight sets on court six.
The all-time series with VCU is split with each team winning twice. South Carolina won the last two match-ups in 2008 and 2009. The 2008 meeting came in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Athens, Ga., and saw the Gamecocks recover from a loss in doubles to win 4-3. Gira Schofield won the match for Carolina in three sets at No. 1 singles as the last person on court, fighting off multiple match points before winning in a third set super tiebreaker. In 2009, the two teams squared off in a consolation match at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Durham, N.C., and South Carolina pulled out another 4-3 triumph.
After Wednesday's match, South Carolina will face its final non-conference opponent of the season when it travels to Charleston, S.C., to face College of Charleston at 1 p.m. on Sunday.