May 15, 2004
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – South Carolina fell to the 17th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of their 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, 4-0, in a match that only lasted two hours and 15 minutes.
“Ohio State played pretty well today and they played as well as any team that we’ve seen all year,” said South Carolina Head Coach Kent DeMars. “That is reflected by their record – the four losses they have came against teams that were ranked in the top 12. Our doubles teams today had a few opportunities that we were not able to capitalize on. We had some injuries and that did not help. Ohio State is a very solid team and it takes a lot to get a win from them.”
Ohio State took the doubles point as 25th-ranked Joey Atas and Jeremy Wurtzman topped the Carolina tandem of Geraldo Knorr and Pedro Rodrigues, 8-4. Tom Eklund and Marcus Westman then fell to Scott Green and Ross Wilson, 8-5 as the Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead in the match.
In singles action, Devin Mullings made quick work of an injured Geraldo Knorr, winning 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 singles. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 3-0 as Dennis Mertens topped USC’s Pedro Rodrigues 6-1, 6-4, at No. 6 singles.
Ohio State clinched the shutout victory soon thereafter as the third-ranked singles player in the nation, Jeremy Wurtzman, topped the Gamecocks’ Marcus Westman 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.
“South Carolina played well today, but we were able to take advantage of a few early leads,” said Ohio State Head Coach Ty Tucker. “We got ahead early, especially in doubles, and never looked back. We’ve done a lot of running lately to prepare for this weather and I think they helped us compete well today. We played well today but now have to face North Carolina, who is the hardest working team in the nation. It won’t be easy.”
South Carolina ends their season at 15-14 while the 17th-ranked Buckeyes will face the host and 15th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill. The winner of that second round match will advance to the Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla., beginning May 22.