Nov. 18, 2005
Columbia, S.C. –
The South Carolina men’s tennis team announced its 2006 dual match schedule on Friday afternoon. The spring lineup includes 12 teams who made the NCAA Tournament in 2005, five teams who made the Sweet Sixteen, and two national semi-finalists (Florida and Ole Miss). The Gamecocks will open 2006 with a doubleheader against Troy and Wofford on January 28 in Columbia.
Carolina, who went 20-10 and made the Sweet Sixteen in 2005, makes four changes from their 2005 schedule, with Appalachian State, North Carolina State, UNC-Asheville and Charleston Southern joining the slate, while the Gamecocks will not renew match-ups with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and East Carolina. The Mountaineers, NC State and the Buccanneers are not fresh faces for USC and the addition of UNCA marks the fifth consecutive season Carolina has added a new opponent to its non-conference schedule.
USC set a school record in 2005 with seven wins over Top 25 teams, including four upsets over teams in the Top 15. The Gamecocks, who wrapped up the season 16th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s rankings and tied for ninth in the NCAA’s final poll, had their most impressive streak of the season during the first week and a half of April in 2005. Carolina picked up consecutive victories over No. 17 Tennessee (6-1), No. 8 Georgia (4-3) and No. 24 Clemson (6-1), and followed that with a 5-2 win over No. 15 Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. on April 10. That stretch was good enough to secure the No. 4 seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament for USC, the highest ever for a Gamecock squad in SEC postseason play.
The Gamecocks will play 16 home matches in 2006, and take to the road for their other nine matches. USC opens the season with 10 straight matches in Columbia, beginning when they play host to Troy and Wofford at the USC Indoor Facility. After a trip to Winston-Salem, N.C. to take on Wake Forest on February 28, Carolina opens the SEC season with home matches against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, March 3 and 5.
Following the Ole Miss match, USC hits the road for five straight matches, including trips to Georgia, Tennessee, UNLV, and LSU. Three more home matches follow for the Gamecocks when they host Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky (Senior Day) March 31-April 7. South Carolina will wrap up its regular season with three more road matches, as they head to Vanderbilt (April 9) and Florida (April 15) on either side of their annual in-state rivalry match with the Clemson Tigers on April 12 in Clemson, S.C.
Postseason play kicks off April 20 with the SEC Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The NCAA Tournament follows, opening at 16 regional sites throughout the country May 13-15. The 2006 NCAA Championships (Sweet 16-Finals) will be held at Stanford University in Paolo Alto, Calif., from May 20-29, with the men’s and women’s events being conducted at the same site for the first time in NCAA history.