Gamecocks Prepare to Head to Knoxville for NCAA First-Round Match With Wake Forest
South Carolina and Demon Deacons Play at 9 a.m. Saturday
The Gamecocks' No. 3 doubles duo of Suzanna Mansour and Dijana Stojic.
May 6, 2009
NCAA Regional Notes in PDF Format | NCAA Regional Central
The 22nd-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (14-10) earned their 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and will take on No. 40 Wake Forest (13-12) in the first round Saturday at 9 a.m. at Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
NCAA Regional Schedule
The University of Tennessee was one of 16 schools selected to host the first and second rounds of this year's NCAA Tournament.
Saturday, May 9
Match 1: South Carolina vs. Wake Forest - 9 a.m.
Match 2: Tennessee vs. East Tennessee State - Noon
Sunday, May 10
Match 3: Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner - 1 p.m.
About Wake Forest
Wake Forest enters the tournament with a 13-12 overall record. The Demon Deacons finished 3-8 in the ACC to place ninth. Wake was ranked as high as No. 21 this spring in early March, but several losses against tough ACC competition down the stretch hurt the Demon Deacon's ranking. After sitting 12-4 through 16 matches, Wake Forest suffered seven straight defeats in conference play. The Demon Deacons did, however, defeat Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament to advance to the quarterfinals before losing to sixth-ranked Miami (Fla.). Wake Forest's victories against teams currently ranked in the top 50 include Denver (38), Texas A&M (39) and William & Mary (49).
Wake Forest Series History
South Carolina and Wake Forest are an even 9-9 in the 18 all-time match-ups between the two.They have played three times in the NCAA Tournament and South Carolina has won two of those meetings. The last time the Demon Deacons and Gamecocks played came in the first round of NCAA play in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2006 and the Demon Deacons snagged a 4-1 victory.
Rankings in the Regional
Tennessee is the top-rated team in the regional at 10th, followed by South Carolina at 22nd, Wake Forest at 40th and East Tennessee State is unranked. Tennessee has one ranked singles player with Caitlin Whoriskey at 34th. South Carolina has two with Gira Schofield (43rd) and Ana Marija Zubori (48th), and Wake Forest's Sasha Kulikova is 65th. Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota are 10th in doubles for Tennessee, while South Carolina's Zubori and Natasa Vuckovic stand 27th. Wake Forest's duo of Sierra Poske and Kulikova are 80th.
Wake Forest's Lineup
The Demon Deacons submitted the following lineup for NCAA competition this year:
Singles (Position Record)
1. #65 Sasha Kulikova (11-12)
2. Sierra Poske (13-10)
3. Emilee Malvehy (11-10)
4. Christian Tara (11-8)
5. Katarina Reveche (5-7)
6. Ryann Cutillo (4-6)
Doubles (Position Record)
1. #80 Kulikova/Poske (13-10)
2. Malvehy/Aileen Davis (11-9)
3. Tara/Reveche (9-7)
NCAA Team History
The Gamecocks are making their 19th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the event's now 28-year history. South Carolina owns an all-time record of 16-18 in the tournament. South Carolina's best showing came in the first tourney in 1982 when it reached the quarterfinals after defeating Florida. South Carolina has made a total of five Sweet 16 appearances, with the last coming in 1999. The others were 1982, 1983, 1990 and 1995.
Gamecocks Earn NCAA Individual Bids
Senior Gira Schofield became the first player in school history to earn four consecutive bids to the NCAA Singles Championship this season. She will be joined in the singles tournament by junior Ana Marija Zubori, who is making her first appearance. Zubori will compete in the doubles championship as well with teammate Natasa Vuckovic. It marks the first time since 2002 South Carolina will have representatives in both individual tournaments. Schofield and Zubori received a bid for doubles last season, but the duo did not compete since Zubori was injured. The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships take place May 20-25 in College Station, Texas.
NCAA Individual History
South Carolina has placed either a singles competitor or doubles team in 22 of 28 NCAA Individual Championships. Laura Bernstein remains the only Gamecock to advance to the round of 16 in singles, doing so in 1983 in Albuquerque, N.M. In doubles, Helen Crook and Victoria Davies are the only USC duo to go as far as the semifinals, which happened in 1994 in Athens, Ga. In 2006, Gira Schofield became just the second USC freshman to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. If one were to count the individual and team tournaments, South Carolina has participated in at least one NCAA event every year since 1990, a streak of 20 appearances in a row.
NCAA Championship Format History
The NCAA first held a championship for women's tennis in 1982 in Salt Lake City. For the first six championships, the field consisted of just 16 teams and expanded to 20 starting in 1988. From 1988 to 1995, eight of the 20 teams selected played first-round matches and the other 12 received byes. From 1996 to 1998, the NCAA changed the format to include 58 teams, with 10 receiving automatic bids to the 16-team championship. The other six spots were determined through tournaments in six regions (East, Central, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, West) with eight schools in each. In 1999, the NCAA adopted what is still the current format of a 64-team bracket where each team must play every round. First- and second-round matches are played at 16 campus sites with four teams each, and the round of 16 and beyond is held at one institution. Starting in 2006, the NCAA combined the men's and women's round of 16 and beyond at the same location over the same time frame and included the individual championships there as well.