The 36th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (12-9, 4-7 SEC) enter the 2011 SEC Tournament holding the No. 9 seed and will face eighth-seeded Ole Miss (11-9, 4-7 SEC) on Thursday in the first round at noon in Knoxville, Tenn., at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
SEC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Gamecocks have advanced to at least the quarterfinals in 16 of the 19 SEC Tournaments in which they have participated. South Carolina has received a first-round bye four times (1996, 1999, 2002, 2007) and reached at least the semifinals on three of those occasions (1999, 2002, 2010). South Carolina's best showing was in 2002 when it hosted the tourney for the first and only time in school history and lost 4-0 to Florida in the championship. In the semis that year, the Gamecocks knocked off Georgia, the No. 1 team in the nation at the time of the match.
STRONG YEAR FOR MORGINA Anya Morgina got off to a strong start for her junior year by posting a 10-3 singles record in fall tournaments. After a slow 0-4 start to the spring at No. 1 singles, Morgina came on strong to finish the regular season with a 13-8 mark at the top. In SEC matches, she tied the school record for wins at No. 1 singles with an 8-3 record. Morgina posted more victories this season at No. 1 singles than any other player in the conference in regular-season SEC play. Morgina is currently ranked No. 38 in the nation for singles and is No. 49 in doubles with freshman Dominika Kanakova.
A CLUTCH PERFORMER
Junior Dijana Stojic always has a knack for being one of the last matches on court and coming through when the Gamecocks need her most. She has provided the clinching point in singles for five of South Carolina's victories this season. After providing the clincher in consecutive matches with Auburn and Alabama, Stojic received SEC Player of the Week recognition. She clinched Carolina's 4-3 win over VCU in its next match as well. Stojic is 20-9 this season and 14-6 playing on court two for singles.
The Gamecocks' two freshmen Dominika Kanakova and Katerina Popova have consistently produced all season long. They enter the SEC Tournament occupying the middle of South Carolina's lineup. Popova is ranked No. 120 in the latest rankings thanks to big wins at the end of the season over Tennessee and Georgia. The Russian is 18-9 this season and finished 6-4 in SEC matches. Kanakova is one of three Gamecocks to post at least 20 wins this season and has been ranked as high as No. 32 in doubles.