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April 10, 2004


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – South Carolina fell to the eighth-ranked Florida Gators 5-2 Saturday afternoon at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville. South Carolina now prepares for the final weekend of regular season and conference play as the Gamecocks will travel west next weekend. Carolina squares off at No. 24 Arkansas Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m. (CT) and will face the 13th-ranked Tigers of LSU in Baton Rouge on Sunday, April 18 at 1 p.m. (CT).

“Florida played really well today,” said Carolina Head Coach Kent DeMars. “I think Florida has a greater home advantage than any other SEC school. When you play here, especially in late April, the heat gets to you and you can’t really do much to prepare for that. Still, I have to give them credit, they are a great team. The next time we play them could be a different story. I’d like to play them at a neutral site.”

Carolina got off to a rough start as Florida quickly took the doubles point. Tom Eklund and Marcus Westman fell at No. 2 doubles, 8-3, to Janne Holmia and Vladimir Obradovic. Florida then clinched the doubles point as 29th-ranked Chris Brandi and Hamid Mirzadeh topped Carolina’s Geraldo Knorr and Pedro Rodrigues, 8-6. At No. 3 doubles, Florida’s Martin Stiegwardt and Stefan Tell topped the Gamecock tandem of Ben Atkinson and Carl Wermee, 8-5.

In singles action, at No. 2 singles, 71st-ranked Janne Holmia stopped Tom Eklund’s four match winning streak with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Marcus Westman fell at No. 1 singles to the Gators’ Hamid Mirzadeh, ranked seventh, 6-1, 6-4, to give Florida the 3-0 lead in the match. Florida then clinched the match victory at No. 5 singles as Jordan Dolberg beat Carolina’s Ben Atkinson, 6-3, 6-2.

Carolina refused to lay down, however, as Geraldo Knorr (Florianoplis, Brazil) put the Gamecocks on the board as he notched a tough 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory over Florida’s Chris Brandi. Fellow Brazilian Pedro Rodrigues gave Carolina another point at No. 6 singles with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Florida’s Ryan Sherry.

Unfortunately, the Gators took the final bite as Carl Wermee fell to Florida’s 59th-ranked Vladimir Obraovic, 7-6 (6), 7-5, to notch the final 5-2 score.

South Carolina now heads into the final weekend of conference and regular season play as they travel to No. 24 Arkansas and No. 13 LSU.

“I think we’re playing well right now,” continued DeMars. “It was good to see us win at No. 6 singles. We’ve had some holes and I think we’re back on track. Marcus Westman beat a top 25 ranked singles player against Mississippi State and Pedro Rodrigues notched a win today at No. 6. Road matches aren’t easy, but we can definitely take away many positive things from this match.”