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March 19, 2004

The University of South Carolina women’s tennis team fell to No. 28 Alabama on Friday at the UA Recreational Center by a score of 4-3. The Crimson Tide improved to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC while the Gamecocks dropped to 9-5 overall and to 2-3 in the SEC. The loss marked the third time this season that USC dropped a 4-3 match to a team ranked in the top 30.

Alabama jumped out to a 1-0 lead by taking two of the three doubles matches. Robin Stephenson and Ashley Bentley took number one doubles against USC’s Laura Ganzer and Danielle Wiggins 8-2 but then Fallon Koon and Christyn Lucas would defeat the Tide’s Millie Begovic and Melissa Minor 8-5 at number two doubles. Down 7-4 at number three, Ayako Suzuki and Magda Wojdylo rallied to tie the match at seven all but would Alabama’s Natalie Koppelle and Mari Muller would pull it out 9-7 to clinch the doubles point for the Crimson Tide.

Carolina started out strong by winning five of the six first set matches in singles but would only manage to pick up three victories to come up short. Laura Ganzer evened the match up at one apiece when she defeated Koppelle at 6-1,6-2 at number three singles. Ashley Bentley defeated Christyn Lucas at number two singles 6-1,6-2 to give Bama a 2-1 edge. Fallon Koon would continue her strong performance as she defeated Minor 7-6(3),6-2. In the first set, Koon was down 5-2 but rallied to force the set tie-breaker. Magda Wojdylo gave Carolina a 3-2 lead after beating Millie Begovic 6-3,7-6. Justine Walsh took her the first set 6-3 but dropped the second set 7-5 to Mari Muller. In the third set, Walsh was up 4-2 but Muller rallied back to defeat Walsh 6-4 in the final frame to even the match at three. The match came down to the number one singles match that spotlighted by both individuals ranked in the top 100 in the country. Danielle Wiggins took the first set 6-4 from Stephenson. In the second set, Wiggins battled back from a 3-1 deficit to go up 4-3 but the set would eventually go to a tie break. Wiggins went up 4-1 but fell to Stephenson 7-5. Stephenson clinched the match for the Crimson Tide as she won 6-0 in the third set.

“It was a real disappointing loss for us,” said USC Head Coach Arlo Elkins. “We lose Miranda Gutierrez for a month and then we come up short against a very good Alabama women’s tennis team. It has been a tough couple of days for us but we have to take it one match at a time and move on.”

The Gamecocks return to action on Sunday when they face Auburn at 1pm.

Double Results: 1. Stephenson/Bentley (A) d. Wiggins/Ganzer (SC) 8-2
2. Koon/Lucas (SC) d. Begovic/Minor (A) 8-5
3. Koppelle/Muller (A) d. Suzuki/Wojdylo (SC) 9-7
Order of Finish: 1,2,3

Single Results:
1. No. 50 Robin Stephenson (A) d. No. 54 Danielle Wiggins (SC) 4-6,7-6(5),6-0
2. Ashley Bentley (A) d. Christyn Lucas (SC) 6-1,6-2
3. Laura Ganzer (SC) d. Natalie Koppelle (A) 6-1,6-2
4. Magda Wojdylo (SC) d. Millie Begovic (A) 6-3,7-6
5. Fallon Koon (SC) d. Melissa Minor (A) 7-6(3),6-2
6. Mari Muller (A) d. Justine Walsh (SC) 3-6,7-5,6-4
Order of Finish: 3,2,5,4,6,1