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March 31, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – The USC men’s tennis team will welcome SEC East rivals Tennessee and Georgia to Columbia this weekend. The match against the Volunteers is set to begin at 2 p.m. Friday, April 1 and the border showdown with Georgia is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3. Fans will be able to access live stats on USC’s official website,

Carolina (14-6, 3-3 SEC) comes into Friday’s match having won five of the last six against Tennessee (10-3, 5-1 SEC) in Columbia. The Gamecocks have won two of their last three matches, including a 6-1 win at Alabama last Friday, March 25, and a 4-3 upset of then-No. 25 Wake Forest. The Volunteers come in having won six of their last seven, including a victory over Mississippi State on Senior Day in Knoxville. South Carolina has taken the last two decisions from the Vols, winning 4-2 in Columbia in 2003, and upsetting then-No. 21 Tennessee in Knoxville by a score of 4-3 last season.

The Bulldogs (13-3. 5-1 SEC) head to Columbia having taken eight of their last nine match-ups. The lone loss was a 4-3 decision to Mississippi State last Friday in Athens. USC won the last meeting between the two schools in Columbia, defeating the then No. 18 Bulldogs 5-2 in 2003. The Gamecocks are 6-1 this year in singles matches against Bulldog players, with all six victories coming in straight sets.

USC players will be going in search of several milestones this weekend. On the doubles front, Carolina sophomores Dmitry Babenko needs one doubles victory to mark his 10th doubles win of the season. Freshman Jaime Cuellar is also just a single win away from a doubles milestone, as he will reach the 20-win mark in doubles for the year. The freshman, who hails from El Salvador, has already posted 22 singles victories for the year and 16 this spring. Also for the Gamecocks, two doubles wins this weekend would put USC at 50 doubles wins on the year. Carolina players reached the 100-win mark in singles for the year last week against Wake Forest.

In singles, senior Ben Atkinson and junior Geraldo Knorr both need just one win for marks, as Atkinson goes after win No. 15 of the season and Knorr chases No. 10 this spring. Knorr would join sophomore Pedro Rodrigues, Babenko, Atkinson, and Cuellar as the USC players with 10 or more wins this season. A win for the junior from Brazil would also give Carolina seven players with double-digit win totals for the year.

Both matches will be held at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center, on Heyward St., adjacent to Sarge Frye Field. Fans planning to attend the Georgia match are encouraged to arrive early to find parking, as USC baseball is also hosting the Bulldogs, with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m.