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Feb. 3, 2006

The South Carolina men’s tennis team looks to run its record to 4-0 when it hosts Appalachian State and Elon in a doubleheader on Saturday. The Gamecocks will take on ASU at 10 a.m., followed by Elon at 2:30 p.m. Weather permitting, both matches will be held at the Sam Daniels Tennis Facility, adjacent to Sarge Frye Field on Heyward Street. In case of rain, the matches will be moved indoors to the USC Fieldhouse, located at the corner of Whaley and Heyward.

Scouting the Gamecocks
The South Carolina men’s tennis team moved up one spot to No. 11 in the latest Fila Collegiate Tennis Poll, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced on Tuesday. The Gamecocks (2-0, 0-0 SEC) were 12th in the preseason poll, and the No. 11 ranking marks the highest in-season ranking for a Carolina team since it was ranked sixth in the second week of the 1991 season.

For the Mountaineers
Appalachian State enters Saturday’s match at 1-0 after defeating Liberty, 7-0, Jan. 28. The Mountaineers defeated the Flames in two of the three doubles matches for the doubles point, and swept singles play with six wins. Junior Dimitar Dimitrov (Sofia, Bulgaria), senior Andrew Taylor (Parkland, Fla.), and sophomores Zack Williams (Hickory, N.C.) and Robert Hogewood (Greensboro, N.C.) each won both their matches against the Flames.

And the Phoenix
Elon dropped its season opener, 7-0, to the No. 30 North Carolina Tar Heels on Jan. 21. Damon Gooch (Gauteng, South Africa) and Austen Fenn (Baton Rouge, La.) pushed the nation’s top-ranked doubles team of Raian Luchici and Brad Pomeroy before dropping the 8-6 decision.

Carolina vs. Opponents
The Gamecocks hold an 11-1 series lead on Appalachian State, the last meeting producing a 6-0 USC win in 1985. The Gamecocks and Mountaineers played each other annually beginning in 1974 before ending the series in 1985. Carolina defeated Elon, 6-1, last season to extend its record to 2-0 against the Phoenix.

Home Sweet Home
After sweeping Wofford and Troy, Carolina holds a 382-104 all-time record in Columbia, where it has had just a single losing season in 33 years (3-5 in 1988). The Gamecocks defeated Appalachian State at home nine times in nine tries before ending the series in 1985.

SOCON Dominance
South Carolina is 112-4 lifetime against the Southern Conference, which includes Appalachian State and Elon as members. The Mountaineers, Georgia Southern and Davidson are the only teams to post a victory against the Gamecocks, with Davidson’s 6-3 victory in 1984 being the last occurance.

Looking Ahead
USC hosts its final doubleheader of the 2006 season next Saturday, when it welcomes Charlotte and Davidson to the Sam Daniels Tennis Center. Carolina holds a combined 41-2 series advantage on the 49’ers and the Wildcats. The Gamecocks then take on No. 30 UNC at home on Feb. 13, before heading to Seattle for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 17-20.