Women's Tennis Prepares for Furman Fall Classic|
Sept. 20, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina women's tennis team is set to compete in the 26th annual Furman Fall Classic this weekend at the Mickel Tennis Center on the campus of Furman in Greenville, S.C. The tournament will feature eight teams in a flighted competition.
Seven teams competing in the tournament were ranked in the top 40 in the final 2012 ITA rankings: North Carolina (8th), Alabama (11th), Tennessee (24th), Clemson (25th), Vanderbilt (28th), South Carolina (31st), and Florida State (40th). The eight-team field also includes 12 singles players and six doubles teams ranked in the preseason ITA rankings.
Doubles play will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by singles action at 1 p.m. Play will continue on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.
Five players from the Gamecocks' roster will compete in the event including Jaklin Alawi, Josefin Andersson, Dominika Kanakova, Alex Martin and Ximena Siles Luna. Kanakova and Andersson will only play doubles.
South Carolina is coming off its first weekend of fall play at the UVa Fall Classic in Charlottesville, Va. The Gamecocks posted a 13-7 combined record in singles and were 4-3 in doubles play. Alawi reached the finals of the top flight in singles, while Siles Luna recorded a perfect 4-0 record playing in a round-robin flight. It was the first time new head coach Kevin Epley received a glimpse of what his team can do in real match play.
"I looked at the tournament as a snapshot in time of where we are as a team," Epley said. "I was happy with some things, but I see a lot of things we have to work on, and I'm trying to figure out the best means and quickest way to get that done. They fought really hard, and that was one of the goals going into the tournament, to show that we competed. A lot of them made some adjustments during the tournament that I wanted them to make and it's tough sometimes to ask a player to do something they're not used to and out of their comfort zone in a competitive scenario. A lot of them did just that."
Epley has emphasized since the beginning of practice the importance of staying positive on the court. While there were signs of a teaming keeping its spirits up in Charlottesville, he is looking for more improvement with the team's outlook, especially with a tough weekend of competition ahead.
"I think we need to work a little as a team in terms of being a little bit more positive and a little less hard on ourselves," Epley said. "Sometimes, I felt like we were a little too negative. We need to tap into our competitive spirit and our fight and let that come out."
Following the Furman Fall Classic, Alawi and Kanakova will head west to the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships starting Sept. 29. Alawi will compete in doubles with Kanakova in the pre-qualifying draw before playing in the qualifying draw for singles.