May 11, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 14 South Carolina women's tennis takes on North Florida on Friday at noon at the Carolina Tennis Center in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The Gamecocks, who are hosting first- and second-round action for the second year in a row, will follow a 9 a.m. match between No. 22 Texas and No. 33 Wake Forest. The winners square off Saturday at 1 p.m. for the right to play in the NCAA Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Ga., beginning Friday, May 19.
PROJECTED GAMECOCK LINEUP
Overall, South Carolina has been selected for the NCAA Tournament 27 times in 36 years. With 27 bids, South Carolina has the 13th-most NCAA appearances in the country. South Carolina's 23 NCAA appearances in a row are tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the nation. South Carolina has reached the Round of 16 six times (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2000) and advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice (1982, 2009). The Gamecocks have also won at least one round in the tournament 19 times during their previous 22 appearances.
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks enter the tournament with an 18-8 record overall and an 8-5 record in conference play. It is the second year in a row that South Carolina has reached 18 wins in a season. Individually, two Gamecocks are ranked in the top-50. Freshman Mia Horvit comes in a No. 47, while sophomore Ingrid Gamarra Martins is ranked No. 49. In doubles play, two pairs of Gamecocks are ranked. The duo of Hadley Berg and Paige Cline come in at No. 25, and Berg and Caroline Dailey are No. 59. Four Gamecocks have posted at least 20 singles wins this season. Berg leads the team with 27 singles wins and senior Brigit Folland is close behind with 26, including nine consecutive victories to close out the season. Kevin Epley, in his fifth year with the Gamecocks, has led South Carolina to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first five seasons at the school, advancing to the Round of 32 in each of the last three seasons.
SCOUTING THE OSPREYS
North Florida enters the postseason with a 15-8 record after capturing its third consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference title. The women's tennis team earned its third straight ASUN automatic bid and sixth in seven years. Five players earned ASUN All-Conference honors for the Ospreys, including first-team selections Michelle Valdez and Rafaela Gomez.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS
No. 22 Texas comes to Columbia after going 13-8 this spring, including a 6-3 record in the Big 12 to finish fourth in the league. The Longhorns are making their 34th NCAA tournament appearance and boast an all-time 48-31 record in the tournament, capturing the NCAA team title in 1993 and 1995. Three are ranked in singles play for Texas with Bianca Turati (41), Neda Koprcina (72) and Petra Granic (83). In doubles play, Granic and Wagland come in at No. 54, and Granic and Turati make it in the rankings at No. 63.
SCOUTING THE DEMON DEACONS
Wake Forest, ranked 33rd, enters tournament play with an 18-10 record overall and are coming off an ACC quarterfinal appearance. Two women are ranked in singles play for Wake with senior Kimmy Guerin (60) and sophomore Emma Davis (89). In doubles play, the duo of Guerin and Anna Ulyaschchenko come in at No. 80. Wake Forest has reached the NCAA Tournament 17 times, going as far as the quarterfinals twice (2000, 2002).
This year marks the fifth time South Carolina women's tennis has hosted an NCAA Regional with the previous four occurring in 2016, 2002, 1999 and 1996. In all four years, the Gamecocks won their first-round matchup, while the 1999 squad also captured a win in the second round to advance to the Round of 16 in Gainesville, Fla., where they fell to Georgia. This season, the Gamecocks are 7-3 at home.
FOUR GAMECOCKS EARN NCAA INDIVIDUAL BIDS
Freshman Mia Horvit (47) and sophomore Ingrid Gamarra Martins (49) earned at-large bids to the NCAA Singles Championship, while the No. 25 tandem of junior Hadley Berg and sophomore Paige Cline received an at-large bid to the NCAA Doubles Championship. Ranked No. 47 in the latest Oracle/ITA Rankings, a career high, Horvit finished the season with a 22-11 record in singles play, including an 11-10 record in dual matches with five wins at the No. 1 spot. She was named to the All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Freshman Team this season. Coming in at No. 49, Martins battled injuries early in the season but finished with an 18-13 record on the year, going 6-9 in duals and 4-8 in the SEC. She was ranked as high as No. 12 this season, the highest ever in Gamecock women's tennis history, and maintained a top-50 ranking for the duration of the spring. South Carolina's top doubles tandem of Berg and Cline finished the season with its highest ranking of No. 25 in the nation. The two, who attended the same high school in northern California, are 10-9 on the year with a 6-7 record in dual matches and 3-4 in the SEC at the No. 1 spot. The NCAA's individual championships begin Wednesday, May 24, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., following the conclusion of the team championships at the same location.
Freshman Mia Horvit was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the All-SEC Second Team. She follows in the footsteps of sophomore Ingrid Gamarra Martins who was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team last year. Horvit is the first Gamecock rookie to be named to the All-SEC Second Team since Ana Marija Zubori received the honor in 2007. In the fall, she went 11-1, winning the ITA Carolina Regional consolation singles title and later taking the overall singles title at the Jack Kramer Invitational in Los Angeles. She has notched four ranked wins this season, including wins over No. 63 Kassidy Jump of Arizona State, No. 79 Rosie Johanson of Virginia, No. 45 Rachel Pierson of Texas A&M and No. 115 Ana Oparenovic of Arkansas.
THE EPLEY ERA
The Gamecocks' head man Kevin Epley took over at South Carolina in June 2012 and wasted no time furthering the winning tradition established by the late Arlo Elkins. Epley has taken the Gamecocks to the NCAA Tournament in each of his five seasons and has never missed NCAAs in his 13 years as a head coach. Epley has advanced his teams to at least the second round of the tournament nine times. His all-time record stands at 233-109 heading into this year's NCAA Tournament.
Tickets for each round of the tournament will be $5 general admission and $3 for students with a valid student ID. Children ages two and under will be admitted at no charge. Tickets will be available at the main entrance of the Carolina Tennis Center on the day of the event. Bags will be checked upon entrance into the tennis center and fans are encouraged to abide by the clear bag policy. For more information on South Carolina women's tennis, follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or visit GamecocksOnline.com for updates.
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