May 16, 2018
2018 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — No. 10 South Carolina women's tennis (21-6, 11-2 SEC) will meet SEC foe Georgia for the second time this season in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 at 12 p.m. Thursday.
The Gamecocks are competing in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season and the eighth time in program history (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009, 2017, 2018), after sweeping both Quinnipiac and No. 23 Virginia this past weekend at NCAA Regionals, which they hosted for the third straight year. It was the first time South Carolina swept both NCAA Regional matches in program history.
"We thought we had a decently tough draw. Virginia is a very good team, so we knew we were going to be tested," Head Coach Kevin Epley said. "The main focus for us has been all year is what we're bring to the courts. We're committed to our games and playing the way we like to play. I was particularly impressed with doubles. Doubles has been a bit stronger this year in general."
South Carolina enters the NCAA Tournament Championships after a historic regular season, in which it finished tied for second in the SEC, tied for the best league finish in program history with the 1996 squad. This season, the Gamecocks owned a 13-match winning streak, the second longest in program history, and earned the program's highest ranking at No. 5 in the nation on April 3. The Gamecocks are hoping to advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in program history. Previously, they advanced to the quarterfinals in 1982 and 2009 under head coach Jeff Kefalos and Arlo Elkins, respectively.
South Carolina defeated Georgia, 4-1, on March 18. In that match, the Gamecocks lost the doubles point, but earned four singles victories from Hadley Berg, Mia Horvit, Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Rachel Rohrabacher to complete the comeback and earn their ninth straight win. The win marked the team's first against Georgia since April 23, 2010, and snapped an eight-match losing streak against the Bulldogs. Gamarra Martins' victory over No. 2 Katarina Jokic was the highest-ranked singles win in South Carolina program history.
"We played a good game match against them in the season, but we also know they're a great team and it's NCAA Tournament time, so anything can happen really," Berg said. "We're expecting them to come out pretty tough, but that just means we're going to get ourselves ready a little more to come out even tougher."
Prior to that match, the last time South Carolina had defeated Georgia in a regular season road match was April 17, 1996. In the all-time series, the Gamecocks trail the Bulldogs at 16-46.
"I think the message is we weren't really happy with how we played doubles the last time we played Georgia. We're really happy again with how we played UVA. The message is we're going to go out there and take it to them in doubles a little bit. We really came out strong in singles the last time we played them. We didn't ease our way into the match. We really tried to make a statement early in the match. I think we're going to have to do the same thing again." -- Head Coach Kevin Epley
- The Gamecocks have advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the second straight season. The last time the Gamecocks made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 was in 1982 and 1983, the first two years of the tournament.
- The Gamecocks have tallied 27 overall NCAA appearances in program history, which ranks as the 13th most in the nation. South Carolina's 29 all-time wins in the NCAA Tournament rank 20th in the country.
- The team's No. 10 seed marks the highest in school history since the championship switched to the current 64-team format beginning with the 1999 season. South Carolina was the No. 14 seed in 1999, No. 12 in 2002, No. 13 in 2016 and No. 14 last season.
- The Gamecocks are ranked at No. 10 in the nation, the ITA announced on May 3. They have been ranked in the Top 10 for eight straight weeks.
- South Carolina hosted the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year and sixth time overall. The first time the Gamecocks hosted the tournament was in 1996 followed by 1999 and 2002, before starting their current streak in 2016.
- South Carolina's streak of 24 consecutive NCAA appearances is tied for the ninth longest active streak in the country with Vanderbilt.
- Ranked in singles: Hadley Berg (34), Ingrid Gamarra Martins (59), Megan Davies (113)
- Ranked in doubles: Hadley Berg / Paige Cline (63), Hadley Berg / Rachel Rohrabacher (75), Ingrid Gamarra Martins / Silvia Chinellato (79), Megan Davies / Silvia Chinellato (87).
- Megan Davies' 56 combined wins in singles (29) and doubles (27) this season are the most in a single season in school history by a Gamecock freshman.
- With a 40-6 record and .869 winning percentage, Rachel Rohrabacher is the first player to finish the season with a combined winning percentage of 80 or higher since the 1982-83 season.
- The Gamecocks have amassed 13 sweeps this season, including wins over South Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, Charleston Southern, North Florida, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Quinnipiac and Virginia.
- Hadley Berg's 24-7 singles record this season has her at 98-34 overall, two wins shy of 100 on her career, with a winning percentage of .742 that ranks seventh in school history.
- South Carolina is 10-4 against ranked opponents this season, including wins against No. 7 Ole Miss, No. 11 Texas, No. 35 Texas A&M, No. 36 LSU, No. 30 Tennessee, No. 8 Georgia, No. 15 Auburn, No. 48 Arkansas, No. 23 Kentucky and No. 23 Virginia.
- The Gamecocks swept NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history this past weekend, defeating Quinnipiac and No. 23 Virginia, 4-0, at the Carolina Tennis Center.
- The Gamecocks hosted ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the first time this season, defeating both Oklahoma and Clemson to advance to the ITA Indoor National Championships.
- The team's trip to the ITA Indoor National Championships marked the first in the event's current format, which began in 2009.
- South Carolina's win over No. 11 Texas at the ITA Indoor National Championships marked the first win at the event in program history.
- The Gamecocks received multiple first-team All-SEC selections for the first time in program history in Hadley Berg and Ingrid Gamarra Martins.
- South Carolina went undefeated in SEC road play this season for the first time in program history, including wins at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama.
- Ingrid Gamarra Martins' victory in straight sets over Georgia's No. 2 Katarina Jokic on March 18 was the highest-ranked singles win in program history.
- South Carolina's No. 5 ranking on April 3 by Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) was the highest team ranking in program history.
- The Gamecocks' No. 10 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament is the highest in the event's current 64-team format.
SCOUTING NO. 7 GEORGIA
- The Bulldogs are 17-6 overall and finished third in the SEC with a 10-3 league record. They are 9-1 at home, 4-3 on the road and 4-2 at neutral sites this season.
- Similar to South Carolina, Georgia hosted NCAA Regionals and swept both its first and second round opponents. The Bulldogs earned a 4-0 victory over Georgia State on May 11 and a 4-0 victory over Wake Forest on May 12 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the eight straight season and remain 34-0 in NCAA Regionals hosted in Athens, Georgia.
- Ranked in singles: Katarina Jokic (12), Kennedy Shaffer (75), Marta Gonzalez (90), Morgan Coppoc (103)
- Ranked in doubles: Eleni Christofi/Morgan Coppoc (10), Katarina Jokic/Mariana Gould (26)
- In doubles, No. 10 Christofi and Coppoc are 12-2 in dual match play this season, including an 11-2 record at No. 1. The tandem holds a five-match winning streak and is 11-4 against nationally-ranked opponents.
- The doubles tandem of Jokic and Gould is 16-3 this season with a 13-3 record at No. 2 and 3-0 record at No. 3. The pair is 7-3 against nationally-ranked doubles teams.
- Jokic is 11-4 on the dual match season, and has played solely at No. 1 singles.
- The Bulldogs hold positive winning percentages at all six spots in the singles lineup. They have been most productive at No. 5 singles with a .938 percentage.
- Gould has lost just one dual singles match and is 8-0 at No. 5 singles.
- Georgia's most recent loss came against No. 6 Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals on April 20.
- Georgia is 5-6 against nationally-ranked opponents, including a loss to No. 10 South Carolina. The Bulldogs' highest-ranked win of the season was against No. 8 Texas Tech at the ITA Indoor National Championships.
- Last season, Georgia finished the year at 19-6 overall with an 11-2 record in the SEC. The team finished the season ranked No. 6 by the ITA and advanced to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Team Championships, where it was defeated by Pepperdine.
- Georgia's roster is composed of four freshmen, two sophomores and three seniors.
- Head Coach Jeff Wallace, who is in his 33rd season with the Bulldogs, is the nation's winningest active women's tennis coach. Under Wallace's leadership, Georgia has advanced to 32 consecutive NCAA Tournaments with two NCAA titles and 11 NCAA "Final Fours." Wallace is one of three coaches in women's tennis history who has amassed 600 career wins.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
If the Gamecocks defeat the Bulldogs, they will advance to the Elite Eight and face the winner of the Sweet 16 matchup between No. 15 Stanford and No. 2 UNC at 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships take place after the team tournament from May 23-28 at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C. No. 34 Hadley Berg received an at-large bid to the Singles Championship, while No. 59 Ingrid Gamarra Martins was named the fourth alternate.
For updates, continue to check back with GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).