Gamecocks Set to Face Ohio State in Sweet 16|
May 18, 2017
ATHENS, Ga. — No. 14 South Carolina women’s tennis takes on No. 3-seeded Ohio State on Friday at noon at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16. The Gamecocks, who defeated North Florida and No. 22 Texas in the first and second rounds, will play at noon on Friday, May 19 in Athens, Georgia. The winner will take on the winner of the match between No. 11 Auburn and No. 6 Texas Tech at noon.
PROJECTED GAMECOCK LINEUP
South Carolina and Ohio State have played four times in program history with the series tied at 2-2. The Gamecocks won, 4-1, in the teams’ last matchup in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
The Buckeyes are 30-2 this year, losing only to No. 1 Florida and No. 2 North Carolina. They’ve won their last 16 matches, including the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Five are ranked for Ohio St. in singles play, Francesca Di Lorenzo (1), Anna Sanford (67), Miho Kowase (91), Gabriella De Santis (95) and Sandy Niehaus (112). In doubles play, Di Lorenzo and Kowase come in at No. 18 and De Santis and Niehaus at No. 47. The Buckeyes fell to Oklahoma State, 4-2, in the quarterfinals in last year’s NCAA Tournament after defeating Youngstown State (4-0), UCLA (4-1) and Georgia Tech (4-2).
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
South Carolina advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 and are making their seventh appearance in program history (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009, 2017). The Gamecocks have competed in the NCAA Tournament for 23 straight years, the 11th longest active streak in the nation. Overall, South Carolina has reached the NCAA Tournament 27 times in the event’s 36-year history.
20+ WINS FOR BERG
Gamecock junior Hadley Berg added a 2-0 record in singles play, moving to an impressive 21-2 record, in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament and improved to 5-0 in her career in NCAA Tournament play. She is the first Gamecock since Ana Marija Zubori in 2009 to reach 20 dual match victories. Berg started the spring with an 18-0 record, marking the best start in singles play in Gamecock women’s tennis history.
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.
Epley Earns Honors
South Carolina women’s tennis coach Kevin Epley has been named the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Carolina Region Coach of the Year, the ITA announced Monday. 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. He led the Gamecocks to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2009 and their seventh appearance overall (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009, 2017). South Carolina has posted a 20-8 overall record this season, their first 20-win season since the 1995 team went 22-7. He has advanced his teams to at least the second round of the tournament nine times and boasts an all-time record of 235-109.