April 21, 2005
Athens, Ga. – The 18th-ranked USC Gamecocks will face the No. 26 Tennessee Volunteers in Friday’s SEC quarterfinals. Carolina (18-8, 6-5 SEC) captured a school-record fourth seed and first round bye for this week’s tournament after winning a school-best six SEC regular season matches. They will face the No. 5 seed Vols (12-7, 6-5 SEC) for the second time this season after they defeated Alabama, 4-2, in Thursday’s opening round.
Carolina is looking for a season sweep of UT after upsetting the then-No. 17 Volunteers on April 1 in Columbia. The match was played indoors at the USC Indoor Facility due to a rainstorm in the area. The Gamecocks handed Tennessee their first doubles point loss of the season, when Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr knocked off then-No. 7 Oockie Oosthuizen and Ben Rogers at No. 1 doubles to clinch the point. After that, USC cruised to a 6-1 win, taking five of the six singles matches, including four straight to open singles play.
In last season’s SEC Tournament, Carolina avenged a regular season loss with a win in the first round for the second time in three years, defeating 7th-seeded Vanderbilt 4-3 in a thrilling match that saw the Gamecocks come back from 3-0 down to win singles matches at Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6. Three of the four remaining members of that squad won singles matches, with Tom Eklund earning a three-set upset at No. 2, Ben Atkinson winning in three-sets at No. 5, and then-freshman Pedro Rodrigues clinching the match in a second-set tiebreaker over Nathan Sachs of Vanderbilt at No. 6.
In the other first round match of the top half of the bracket, eighth-seeded LSU easily downed ninth-seeded Auburn, 4-1, to advance into the quarterfinals where they will take on No. 1 seed and third ranked Ole Miss at 9 a.m. on Friday. The winners of Ole Miss-LSU and USC-Tennessee will meet in Saturday’s first semifinal at 11 a.m.
Carolina’s match with Tennessee will begin at 12 p.m. on Friday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia. Live stats will be available at www.uscsports.com.