Women's Tennis Set to Face Arizona in NCAA First Round
May 13, 2011
Up NextThe 35th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (13-10) enter the 2011 NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Gainesville, Fla., regional and will face the No. 34 Arizona Wildcats (15-6) in the first round Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m. at Florida's Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The No. 1-ranked Gators (25-1), seeded second overall for the NCAA Tournament behind Stanford (23-0), will face South Carolina State (16-2) in the first round at noon May 14. The winners will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15, for the right to advance to the NCAA Championships in Stanford, Calif., over May 20-24.
Series HistoriesSouth Carolina and Arizona have met only one time prior in the two schools' histories. The Gamecocks lost a 5-2 decision to the Wildcats on March 26, 1988, in Tempe, Ariz., while playing in the Sun Devil Classic hosted by Arizona State. Gamecock head coach Arlo Elkins was in his fifth season at South Carolina at the time and earned his first NCAA bid that year. South Carolina has a 2-0 record against South Carolina State and defeated the Bulldogs 6-1 to open the 2011 season. Florida owns a 37-2 edge over South Carolina and defeated the Gamecocks 7-0 during the regular season in Gainesville and posted a 4-0 decision over Carolina in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.
Common OpponentsSouth Carolina and Arizona have one common opponent this season in Ole Miss. The Rebels defeated the Wildcats 5-2 in Las Vegas on March 17. Being in the SEC, the Gamecocks and Gators have many common opponents. South Carolina went 4-7 in regular-season conference play, while Florida posted an 11-0 mark. Counting the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks were 5-8 versus SEC teams and Florida was 14-0. South Carolina and South Carolina State did not have any common opponents in 2011.
NCAA Tournament LineupThe Gamecocks will use the following lineup at the NCAA Tournament this year:
Strong Year for MorginaAnya 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 season with a 13-10 mark at the top. In SEC matches, she tied the school record for wins at No. 1 singles with an 8-3 record. Danielle Wiggins set the standard originally in 2004 by going 8-2. 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. 44 in the nation for singles and is 40th in doubles with Dominika Kanakova. Morgina also earned her first bid to the NCAA Singles Championship.
A Clutch PerformerJunior 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 six of South Carolina's 13 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. Most recently, Stojic providing the winning point in the Gamecocks' 4-3 win over Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Down a set and 6-5 in the second with two match points against her, Stojic managed to win 11 straight points to force a third set versus Connor Vogel. Stojic defeated Vogel 6-0 in the third to lift Carolina to victory and avenge an earlier loss to the Rebels during the regular season. Stojic is 21-9 this season and 15-6 playing on court two for singles.
Freshmen ContributorsThe Gamecocks' two freshmen Dominika Kanakova and Katerina Popova have consistently produced all season long. They enter the NCAA Tournament occupying the middle of South Carolina's lineup. Popova has been ranked as high as No. 108 this season thanks to big wins at the end of the season over Tennessee and Georgia. The Russian is 18-11 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. She is currently listed at No. 40 with Anya Morgina and No. 84 with Dijana Stojic. Kanakova has the second best dual match record on the team at 14-6 and is 21-9 overall in singles.
All-SEC GamecocksJuniors Anya Morgina and Dijana Stojic picked up All-SEC honors this season. Morgina became just the fourth Gamecock in school history to achieve All-SEC First Team honors, while Stojic joined the All-SEC Second Team for the second year in a row. Morgina went 13-10 overall at No. 1 singles and was 8-3 at the position during the SEC's regular season. Morgina has been ranked as high as 29th in the nation and currently stands 44th. Stojic leads the team in dual match wins with a 15-6 record and has clinched six of Carolina's 13 victories. She is ranked 96th in singles and has been ranked as high as 58th during the 2010-11 season.
NCAA Team HistoryThe Gamecocks are making their 21st NCAA Women's Tennis Championship appearance in the event's now 30th year of existence. South Carolina owns an all-time record of 20-20 in the tournament. South Carolina's best showing came in the first championship in 1982 when it reached the quarterfinals after defeating Florida and in 2009 when it also made the quarters after downing Washington. South Carolina has made a total of six Sweet 16 appearances (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009). South Carolina is also one of only 18 teams in the country to make at least 20 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The other 17 include: California (30), Stanford (30), UCLA (30), Florida (29), Southern California (29), Texas (29), Pepperdine (28), Arizona State (26), Miami (Fla.) (26), Georgia (25), Duke (23), Indiana (22), Northwestern (22), Arizona (21), San Diego State (21), Tennessee (21), Kentucky (20).
NCAA Individual HistoryWith the selection of Anya Morgina to the NCAA Singles Championship, South Carolina has had a singles competitor or doubles team in 23 of 30 NCAA Singles and Doubles 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 South Carolina duo to go as far as the semifinals, which happened in 1994 in Athens, Ga. 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 22 appearances in a row.
NCAA Championship Format HistoryThe 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.
Success Among the BestSince first competing in the SEC in 1992, the Gamecocks have enjoyed consistent success in a league that is arguably the toughest in the nation. Since the league expanded to 12 teams, the Gamecocks are one of six SEC schools to win 100 league matches, and their .541 (119-101) winning percentage ranks fifth in the conference. South Carolina has posted a winning league record in 12 of 20 seasons. Below is a list of teams' SEC regular-season records since 1991-92.