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April 4, 2004


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Riding high from their upset win over No. 3 Ole Miss, the South Carolina men’s tennis team continued rolling, taking down No. 31 Mississippi State 5-2 Sunday afternoon. The win marked the Gamecocks second consecutive conference win as the race for seeds in the Southeastern Conference Tournament heats up.

“That was a pretty good performance,” said Carolina Head Coach Kent DeMars. “Anytime you play a Southeastern Conference opponent, it is going to be a good match. That was evident today. I’m proud of our team today – four hours into the match we stepped up and really started to play.”

South Carolina got off to a quick start in doubles action, winning at No. 3 as Ben Atkinson and Carl Wermee cruised past Romain Ambert and Matt Armstrong, 8-0. Carolina clinched the doubles point when the tandem of Tom Eklund and Marcus Westman toppede Florent Girod and Romain Provenzano of Mississippi State at No. 2 doubles, 8-2 as Carolina took the 1-0 lead in the match. Geraldo Knorr and Pedro Rodrigues made it three-for-three as they edged out Luiz Carvalho and Jose-Carlos Pinto at No. 1 doubles, 9-8 (4).

The Bulldogs tied the match at one as Florent Girod streaked past Ben Atkinson at No. 5 singles, 6-3, 6-0. Mississippi State then took a 2-1 lead in the match with Arnaud Roussel topping Carolina’s Pedro Rodrigues, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 singles.

South Carolina tied the match at two as Marcus Westman notched his first conference victory in dual match action with a 6-3, 6-4 upset win over No. 22 Romain Ambert at No. 1 singles. This put a tie match to be decided between singles Nos. 2, 3 and 4 as all three of those matches went into the third set. In all three matches, Carolina won the first set with Mississippi State tying the match in the second set.

Sophomore Tom Eklund got the upperhand of State’s Jose-Carlos Pinto and never looked back in the third set, winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 at No. 2 singles to give the Garnet and Black the 3-2 match advantage. Geraldo Knorr then sealed the Carolina victory at No. 4 singles with a 7-6 (7), 1-6, 6-1 win over Max Fomine. Moments later, Carl Wermee’s opponent, Luiz Carvalho, retired at No. 3 singles giving Wermee the 6-3, 4-6, 5-1, ret. victory.

South Carolina returns to action Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. as they host Georgia Tech at the Sam Daniel Tennis Facility in their final regular season match at home. It will be “Senior Day” as USC will honor the team’s two seniors: Carl Wermee and Marcus Westman. Carolina then returns to conference action Saturday, April 10 with a 1 p.m. match at ninth-ranked Florida.