Women's Tennis Set to Host LSU, Arkansas

 

April 5, 2012

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GAMECOCK WOMEN'S TENNIS
April 5, 2012
Gamecock Spotlight: Adriana Pereira
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The 32nd-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team will host two pivotal SEC match-ups with No. 39 LSU on Friday at 3 p.m. and No. 40 Arkansas on Sunday at noon.

South Carolina (12-6, 3-5 SEC) split its matches with Alabama and Auburn last weekend. The Gamecocks suffered a 7-0 defeat at the hands of the Crimson Tide before responding with a 4-3 victory at Auburn two days later. South Carolina played with a heavy heart Sunday at Auburn, one day removed from the passing of longtime head coach Arlo Elkins. An inspired Gamecock squad found a way to come back from multiple deficits in doubles to claim the point and sophomore Dominika Kanakova rose up from a set down and 4-2 down in the second to win 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 to clinch the victory for South Carolina, its first in Auburn since 2006.

In addition to Kanakova's clinching victory in both singles and doubles, Jaklin Alawi and Anya Morgina played major roles in the Gamecocks' 4-3 triumph. The two fell behind 2-0 in doubles at the No. 1 spot but recovered to get the match back on serve before eventually winning 9-7 and setting up Kanakova and Adriana Pereira's 9-8 (7-4) win on court two to secure the doubles point. Morgina raced through her singles match on court one, winning 6-1, 6-2. Alawi gave up just one more game than Morgina in her match, winning 6-2, 6-2 to give South Carolina its third point of the match.

Alawi continues to lead the Gamecocks in victories for both singles and doubles this season. She ran her record to 23-7 last weekend for singles play and 12-5 in duals playing on court two. In doubles, she is 19-9 playing with four different partners and also 12-5 dual match play. Alawi is ranked No. 68 in singles and 65th in doubles with Morgina and 68th in doubles with Dijana Stojic.

Morgina stands 17-8 in 2011-12 in singles matches and she improved to 11-5 at the No. 1 slot following her victory at Auburn. Morgina has been the Gamecocks' highest ranked player all season, currently standing No. 35. Her highest ranking came at the start of the spring with a No. 20 billing, the highest of her career.

LSU (11-8, 4-4 SEC) defeated Mississippi State 5-2 on Friday before falling 6-1 to Ole Miss Sunday. Yvette Vlaar was the only Lady Tiger to win both her singles matches on court six, as she won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 against the Rebels following a 6-1, 6-1 win versus the Bulldogs. She now has a 10-6 record this dual match season. Kaitlin Burns and Ariel Morton won both their doubles matches as well, and they have now won six of the last 10 matches they have played together.

On Friday against Ole Miss, Arkansas (10-9, 2-6 SEC) could only muster one singles win from Kate Lukomskaya, who defeated Vivian Vlaar 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The win was her 11th of the year and second in SEC play. Arkansas dropped the remaining five singles matches as well as the doubles point to fall to the Rebels 6-1. On Sunday against Mississippi State, which was also Senior Day for Stephanie Roy, Lukomskaya and Emily Carbone, the Razorbacks again fell behind after losing the doubles point, but then started singles with first set wins at all six courts. Straight set wins from Roy, Laurie Gingras and Catherine Parenteau helped the team take the lead at 3-1, but the Bulldogs went on to win the final three courts that had gone to deciding third sets. The Razorbacks lost the match by a final score of 4-3.

South Carolina owns a significant edge in the series with both teams, leading Arkansas 19-5 and LSU 18-4. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks, though, have split the last six matches between themselves. Last season, South Carolina suffered a 4-3 setback in Fayetteville, Ark. The Lady Tigers have also been a tough opponent for Carolina in recent years, taking two of the past three match-ups. In Baton Rouge, La., last season, LSU handed South Carolina a 4-0 loss. In 22 all-time matches, however, South Carolina has lost just one home match to LSU and won 10 straight in Columbia, S.C, against the Lady Tigers.