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Nov. 6, 2005

South Carolina women’s tennis made a strong appearance this weekend at the SEC Fall Coaches Classic as Gamecock freshmen Gira Schofield and Natasa Vuckovic faced off in the A draw championship on Sunday in Peachtree City, Ga. The match marked the first time USC Head Coach Arlo Elkins had an athlete win the top flight at the annual tennis classic.

Schofield, who also won the A1 title last weekend at the Southern Intercollegiate Tournament, claimed her second consecutive title in the championship match, defeating teammate Vuckovic, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0. Vuckovic’s runner-up finish was also her second consecutive second-place finish this season.

“We are really proud of our freshmen and the way they played this weekend,” Elkins said. “It was really big to have had both of them compete in the championship. This was a very important tournament for us.”

Schofield and Vuckovic both won their quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Saturday to advance to the A Draw Championship on Sunday. Schofield advanced on the day defeating fourth-seeded Nika Koukhartchouk of Mississippi, 6-0, 6-1, in the quarterfinal. In the semi-final, Schofield dropped the first set to Whitney Benik of Florida, 6-3, before rallying back taking the final two stanzas, 6-3, 7-5.

Vuckovic knocked off three-seed Nina Suvak of Florida in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 before taking a three set win over the top-seeded Taka Bertrand of Vanderbilt. Vuckovic dropped the first set, 6-4, before taking a, 6-2, 6-0, victory in the final two sets.

In other action on Sunday, USC’s Grace Blakely was defeated by Alabama’s Day in the flight C finals, 7-5, 1-6, 6-7 (6), finishing runner up, while Gamecock Justine Walsh finished second to Arkansas’ Dordelaeau in the Flight C consolation round, 7-5, 6-1.

“We were really impressed with everyone’s performances this weekend,” Elkins said. “This is really going to help us in future tournaments and we look to continue the success we had this weekend in the spring.”

The SEC Fall Coaches Classic wrapped up the fall season for the Gamecocks. They will break until they kick off their spring schedule in January.